ABSTRACT: The starting point for this paper is current observation of adolescents who seem unable to break the latency structure, making it difficult for the adolescence process to become established. These youngsters present with a specific set of characteristics which the author proposes to call 'pseudo-pseudomaturity': they seem for the most part well adapted, with an absence of unconscious conflicts. However, they differ from Meltzer's description of pseudomaturity in that the omnipotent attitude of dependence-denying is not seen. On the contrary, they seem eager to take the opportunity to have the infantile true self accepted and contained before they can safely enter the process of adolescence, with all its turbulence. Some aspects of our culture are discussed in relation to the psychic configuration described. Using fragments from the analysis of a 19 year-old patient, the paper looks at technical issues raised by these cases. There is an emphasis on the analyst's own mental processes and the importance of being able to contain the emotional turbulence that cannot be sensed by the patient. The author sets out the different modalities suggested/tested/proposed in the analytic relationship in support of the transferential work. Some questions regarding how and when to make interpretations are also discussed. In these types of cases, the psychoanalytic process carries a two-fold responsibility - to the patient and to society as a whole, in view of the creative potential that adolescents represent, essential for social change and growth.
The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 06/2012; 93(3):649-66. · 0.86 Impact Factor