On Adolescence  book cover
1st Edition

On Adolescence

ISBN 9781782205265
Published September 5, 2018 by Routledge
300 Pages

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Book Description

Adolescence and adolescent states of mind have seldom captured so much attention publicly, nor have they stirred so much anxiety and disturbance privately. This long acknowledged, problematic, transitional world between childhood and adulthood is especially fraught, these days, with the assaults and pressures of contemporary culture and modern technology.

The heart of the book lies in the exploration of the inner lives of these young people, whether or not they find their way to clinical services. It sets out to illuminate the sorts of things that go wrong, and how we can help to address them – the crises of identity, gender, loss, self-harm, bullying, depression, anger, suicidal impulses, anxiety, and so much more. On Adolescence: Inside Stories is intended for all those concerned with adolescence, and adolescent states of mind at whatever age or stage.

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface




I Context and Background

II Aspects of the adolescent experience

III Clinical pictures

IV Fictional Worlds




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Margot Waddell is a Fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis where she is currently the Chair of Publications. She has a background in Classics and literature and took a PhD at Cambridge on George Eliot’s novels. She is a Child Analyst and worked for many years as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, London. She co-edits the Tavistock Clinic Book series. Her book Inside Lives: Psychoanalysis and the Growth of the Personality was published by Karnac in 2002.


‘Margot Waddell came to psychoanalysis and child psychotherapy equipped with a deep knowledge of English literature, and the richness of sensibility this conjunction engendered has made her a widely admired clinician and writer. This moving and impressive book draws on her particular love for the challenges of understanding adolescents, and links her clinical experience to an investigation of the psycho-social space for adolescents in the contemporary world. It is thus written for all interested in the adolescent years and is just what is needed to expand and refine our thinking in the context of the high levels of concern about adolescent distress and disturbance. A book for our times indeed.’-Margaret Rustin, Honorary Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Tavistock Portman Trust

‘Margot Waddell draws on psychoanalytic theory, long clinical experience and the deep resources of fiction and poetry to guide us through one of the most exciting and troubling periods of life.  This is such a rich, beautifully written study, packed with interesting cases and masses of human wisdom. Of clear value to all parents of adolescents, and teenagers themselves, it is a book we can all relish’-Melissa Benn, novelist and author of What Should We Tell Our Daughters?    

‘This book is breath-taking in its profound understanding of adolescence, coming from a lifetime's experience of working with this age group and a deep knowledge of literature.'-Robin Anderson, psychoanalyst, former Chair, Adolescent Department, Tavistock Clinic

‘… at once challenging and inspiring [this] is a volume that will expand our thinking about the complexities of adolescent psychic life, offering an understanding to sustain and enrich us both in the consulting room and far beyond.’-from the Foreword by Edna O’Shaughnessy