Presentation, Reflections on the adolescent group with particular reference to trauma and accidents

The present issue deals with three closely connected arguments: adolescence, group and accidents.

When adolescence from a latent quietude bursts onto the scene, it evokes metaphors that more often than not have to do with the negative effects of trauma. The transformations that come about in puberty brusquely invading the experience of the Self, are often seen as an accident (‘adolescence suddenly hit me’, explains a young girl pointing to her chest with a frightened air of someone who had been hit by a car) these transformations have a certain momentousness on the continuity of existence.

Similarly, the accident –the primary cause of death between the ages of 15 and 24 years, is not as it seems a casual event, but is an expression of ‘acting-out’, in other words an action with two sides to it, both equally significant, on one hand the action offers the subject a flight from awareness, and on the other, stages a trauma without speech.

When we consider the group we wonder what relation there is between group, adolescence and accidents. Frequently, parents and teachers ask themselves (and ask us also), what are the risks connected to the adolescent and the group, often threateningly seen as a ‘gang’.

We have observed that adults usually see the adolescent/individual (‘their’ son or‘their’ pupil), substantially level-headed and the group of adolescents as a risk factor. On the contrary, adolescents perceive the relation between risk and group in a completely different way: failing a year at school, bad health or losing the affection of their parents is not a priority problem. The most extreme risk for an adolescent is losing his/her place in the group, and so he/she believes it’s worth the trouble to expose oneself to Read more


Adolescents in the Hospital:accidents and pre-traumatic psychological dynamics


Objective: To explore the psychological characteristics and relationship factors pertaining to adolescents admitted to surgical and orthopaedic hospital wards for accidents of various kinds, in order to increase knowledge of the dynamics which contribute to accident risk among adolescents.

Method: A sample of 205 subjects (between 14 and 24 years of age) compared with a control group of 205 subjects was studied. Clinical semi-structured interviews were conducted by six psychotherapists specializing in adolescent psychotherapy. A modified Defence Mechanism Inventory was employed. Categorical data from the interviews were analysed by x square tests and DMI scales scores were analysed by two-factor analyses of variance. A cluster analysis of the entire sample based on DMI scores and all categorical variables, except the case/control variable, was done using SPAD.

Results: Young people who have had accidents, and in particular those who have had more than one, appear to have more problems than controls. These problems cover various areas of their present and past. In addition to these difficulties, there are two important psychodynamic elements: quality of self- esteem and how they are attempting to deal with the Read more