Psychoanalytic understanding of normal adolescent development can contribute to our understanding of the
psychoanalytic processes unfolding in adult treatment. Empathic understanding of transferences (and countertransferences)
and other phenomena hitherto diagnosed as typically “borderline” is thereby facilitated. A brief review of reports
specific to the developmental phase of adolescence precedes a clinical case example. The analytic process which
recognizes developmental tasks is juxtaposed with descriptions of phenomena otherwise regarded as typical of
adolescence. These “adolescent” developmental tasks or challenges can be seen as part and parcel of the therapeutic
process in general if it is conceptualized and understood as a developmental process. Attention to those developmental
steps which are typical of adolescence can inform analysts about some specific developmental challenges encountered
also in the treatment of adults.
Keywords: Psychotherapy, adult treatment, transference and countertransference phenomena, adolescent developmental tasks.
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