In Analytic Engagements with Adolescents, Mary T. Brady takes on the intensity and ‘heat’ of adolescent psychoanalytic treatment.She is a guide in the distinctive challenges of work with adolescents. The intensity of this work manifests in various ways; the heightened importance of body issues and related transference and countertransference, the subversiveness of risk-taking behavior and the rejection and rebellion against authority, and the effects of parental response and family dynamics.
Adolescence is a period when ‘things happen’: first wet dreams, first menstruation, first romance. Nascent sexuality comes directly into the field as the adolescent is confronted with new bodily experiences. Subversiveness is integral to the adolescent’s development; parents (and analysts) are overthrown as the adolescent questions the status quo and experiments with new capacities and desires. Drawn into the adolescent’s turbulence, Bion’s concept of ‘thinking under fire’ is shown to be vital to the analyst’s engagement. Bion’s group theory here informs Brady’s immediate experience of the interaction of individual and family dynamics.
The voices of Brady’s adolescent patients and her dynamic involvement with them will help the clinician to be open to the ‘hot’ moments of their analytic work. Drawing on Bion’s thinking and her own extensive experience with adolescents, Brady offers an essential guide to the difficulties and challenges encountered when working with this patient group. She provides practical suggestions for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists working in this area.