1st Edition

Analytic Engagements with Adolescents Sex, Gender, and Subversion

By Mary Brady Copyright 2018
    158 Pages
    by Routledge

    158 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    Foreword; Introduction; 1 Braving the erotic field in the treatment of adolescents 2 "Sometimes we are prejudiced against ourselves": internalized and external homophobia in the treatment of an adolescent boy 3‘Sleeping Beauties’: succession problems of adolescence 4 Afflictions related to "ideals" of masculinity: gremlins within 5 Subversiveness in adolescence 6 "Thinking under fire": Bionian concepts in the treatment of adolescents and children 7 Parent work in adolescent analysis: an application of Bion’s group theory


    Mary T. Brady is a psychoanalyst in private practice in San Francisco. She is on the Faculty of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and author of The Body in Adolescence: Psychic Isolation and Physical Symptoms (Routledge: 2016).

    "Mary T. Brady knows very well adolescents and the intensity of the conflicts they face; she captures the essence of the complex and stimulating work of containment and psychoanalytic technique with adolescents. She restores the body issues to a central position and offers rich and radical reflections on working with parents and family dynamics. The complexity of transference and countertransference when working with impulsivity and intensity is explored here and gives rise to fascinating elaborations on psychoanalysis with adolescence. This is a brilliant book, exciting and very accessible: a good combination of education, emotional support, and psychoanalytic thinking."
    Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, MD, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University; Director of the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Center’s Parent-Infant Program; member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.

    "Mary Brady has done it again.This is a remarkable book about adolescents and Brady's own deep engagements with them and their turbulent or sleepy states. She writes profoundly about the erotic field which emerges and the challenge for psychoanalysts to talk about feelings the adolescent may barely have begun to name. She stresses the importance of monitoring when what she calls `erotic sufficiency' in the analysis can be over-stimulating- but she is equally strong on the dangers of erotic insufficiency in the relationship. We all have much to learn from her about how to help patients achieve both intimacy and aliveness."
    Anne Alvarez, PhD, MACP, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist.

    "We should celebrate the publication of this new book by Mary Brady, which takes us directly to the core of psychoanalytic work with adolescents. She invites us into her consulting room, where we witness her meeting with young patients to engage in a work that is hard but immensely gratifying. This is an indispensable book because of its clinical honesty. Dr. Brady has found a way of getting close to her patients without intruding, of containing the anxiety generated in the analytic interaction, of interpreting in a way that is both straightforward and subtle, and, above all, of observing and listening. She does not fail to ponder the current conditions of the context in which adolescents live, a world full of danger and violence where social institutions cannot effectively support the process that teenagers must necessarily undergo."
    Virginia Ungar, M.D., IPA President.

    "As the title suggests, it specifically confronts analysis with adolescents, a population for whom sexuality is often closer to consciousness. Brady (San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis) is not afraid in her own practice to confront sexuality directly with adolescents and provides several well-documented case studies illustrating these confrontations. She also brings in the perspectives of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion in treating the adolescent and involving parents in analysis. The result is a composition that gently pushes on the boundaries between analyst and patient, serving as a guide for psychoanalysis with pubescent young adults while presenting an intimate view of her own experience as an analyst."
    -J. Ostenson, The University of Tennessee at Martin, CHOICE