By Moses Laufer;M.Egle Laufer
During this booklet, Moses and Egle Laufer contend that significantly disturbed youth should be assessed and handled psychoanaytically, and that their sickness differs from related affliction in older sufferers, and that the psychopathology has its conflicts over the sexually mature physique.
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In this chapter, we concentrate on the role that masturbation and masturbation fantasies play in enabling the adolescent to establish the primacy of genitality and on the internal factors that determine whether or not the adolescent will succeed in changing the image of his body to include his physically mature genitals as functioning organs. We have often been faced with the need to decide whether the behavior or fantasies adoles cents reported were part of normal adolescence or contained the core of their pathology.
The material of the adolescents whc tried to reject their bodies or the body sensations contained a repetitive theme: masturbation, or even a pleasurable feeling in their genitals, ei ther was a confrontation with their abnormality or represented their being forced by some unknown or uncontrollable power to give up an earlier state of equilibrium. It was as if puberty had suddenly changed the body into an enemy. Yet, in every instance in which the period before adolescence was wor shipped or longed for, it turned out that the patient's suffer ing during latency had been severe.
It was as if the beginnings of longing for people emphasized for him the extent to which he had, from the time of his breakdown in ado lescence, tried to find ways of excluding any objects from his sexual life. His present sexual life, which consisted mainly of masturbation, lying in bed with his teddy bear, or caressing his body, contained the repetitive living out of his central mastur bation fantasy and the defense against the anxiety aroused if he felt dependent on anybody. Via the drugs, his teddy bear, and being cared for by various people, he could feel that the image of himself as somebody with a nonfunctioning penis did not matter; instead, to be cared for as he was now perpetuated A D O L E S C E N C E A N D S E X U A L O R G A N I Z A T I O N 19 the idea that he h a d successfully d i s o w n e d his sexual body a n d h a d given in completely.
Adolescence & Developmental Breakdown: A Psychoanalytic View by Moses Laufer;M.Egle Laufer