Introduction, “Adult in the childs and adolescents group”

The aim that we have set ourselves in this issue is to bring forward the different characteristics that exist in the relation between children and adults, and adolescents and adults in therapeutic groups. The first article by Marco Bernabei deals with the different positions of the adult, and the relation with him, in the two types of groups, showing how in children’s groups a co-construction of a third adult object takes place by the members and the therapist. Pierre Privat focuses attention on the first siction of a group of children and their relation with the adult. Dominique Quelin poses the question on what place the adult therapist hold in a world of adolescents and their parents. Also Velia Bianchi Ranci sees the therapist adult searching for a place in groups with children. Angela Baldassare in groups with adolescents retains that the adult was invested with parental functions, revealing inadequateness. Cesare Freddi develops the theme of Read more


The presence of the adult in the groups of children and adolescents: the specificity and the differences


The relationship between adult and children or adolescents in therapeutic groups is the central theme of this paper which highlights the different modes of perception of the adult therapist by children or adolescents in the group. Several considerations about it are inspired by personal experience of participants in relation to children aged between 7 and 10 years and participating adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years. In particular, attention focuses on the role attributed to the adult therapist and the perception of the latter where there is a parental relationship to the central reference and where it has instead been moved to the background in a more Read more


Body tattoo and body injured, the vicissitudes of omnipotent control over the body in adolescence


In the paper, tattoos and accidents are seen as two expressions of the omnipotent control that every adolescent feels he can exercise over his own body. The tattooed body expresses a form of control over the body that may even result in colonizing one’s skin. The injured body instead expresses the total loss of control over one’s body. I have tried to focus on some ways in which the attempt is made to exercise omnipotent control in adolescents.
One of the outcomes of the loss of control that the adolescent if exposed to is the fall, understood as the collapse of the grandiose self as intended by Kohut. In this regard, I have highlighted a reaction to the mental trauma, which follows the physical trauma, consisting in the attempt to restore the infantile grandiosity violated by the accident. In order to restore the grandiose self, the adolescent often refuses to deal with the traumatic area and to come to terms with the usually unpleasant reality which the accident exposes the body to. According to the paper, the group with adolescents conducted by an adult therapist makes it possible to approach and work through the trauma, instead of becoming isolated from the traumatic area in an attempt to relive the infantile grandiosity lost. The group with an adult can also help to contain the anxiety produced by the fear of losing the reference group of peers (Carbone, 2009), that is the group that continues to exist after the accident, albeit in different places, in meeting points that may vary and that for some time are surely distant from the fixed places the injured adolescent is forced to frequent. I have considered two different types of accidents, the traditional ones (including accidents during play, of which I provide an example) and non-traditional ones (including accidents induced by risk behaviour, like the ones Read more


Broken dreams – Dreams in transit: narrative transformation of the “ignorant emotions” of adolescents


The paper describes how the group with adolescents can provide a relational space where to express and transform by means of narration the emotions that are almost always ignored and most of the time ignorant  (meaning that they cannot be told) of kids attending a school with a high drop out rate in the suburbs of Rome. The narrative plot is identified, within the framework of the group of adolescents, as a sensor regulating the possibility of making sense of ignorant-ignored feelings and conveying them to the group of peers and the adult world. The narrative transformations, which have a very high therapeutic value, of the ignorant emotions related to the  transforming dream of Silvio, an adolescent belonging to a group conducted in a school (the dream being to become a soccer player), are compared with those of the broken dreams of the leading characters of two works by a young Italian writer, Andrea Carraro: Tonino in the Read more


Presentation, Adult in the childs and adolescents group 2

The key feature in psychotherapeutic groups with children and adolescents is highlighted by François Sacco in the opening article to this second issue, that focuses once more on the presence of the adult in these groups, in short ‘the encounter between the adult and group participants who are going through the developmental process’. Sacco maintains that even though this connotation is determinating for these groups, it cannot be separated from an other, (to which the French psychoanalyst, with Italian origins, holds to be very important), and that is, “the group…. where sexuality encounters an in fieri sexuality”.

The point of view that Sacco upholds, is that childhood sexuality is not merely ‘a simple stage of development’, but is ‘an essential organizing factor of the psyche’(F.Sacco, 2002).

The implications when children and adolescents are confronted by two adults rather than Read more


The Problem Solving Function of Dreams in Children’s Groups


In this paper I will be referring to two dreams. The first dream was told by a little girl aged ten and a half, in a group that has been going for three years now, and is held in my rooms. The second was dreamt by a girl aged nine and a half who is a member of the same group. She told it to her mother who referred it to me. I am describing these dreams for a particular reason. Above all I wish to emphasize the centrality that I believe the problem solving function (and the narration that results from it) has in the dreaming Read more