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Chapter 1: introduction

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub
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Chapter 2: emotional and intellectual development: Romeo and Juliet

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

Considerable intellectual and emotional development occurs during the mid-adolescent years. John Santrock (1999) recalled an adolescent once saying, in a thoughtful way:

“I began thinking about why I was thinking what I was. Then I began thinking about why I was thinking about why I was thinking about what I was.”

This reflection on the process of thinking is an example of the new powers of thought that adolescents begin to develop. Quite why this happens is not known precisely, but we can link its emergence to other new developments during the early teen years. At first sight it would seem that this adolescent is now capable of being within himself and standing outside himself at the same time, with the result that his subjective experience is not totally dominated by what he can see from his own point of view: the potential is there to be able to see the world from others’ points of view as well. In itself, this is not a new achievement at this age. This ability can easily collapse under the pressure of powerful feelings—particularly powerful feelings towards others, which can seem to the individual and those around them to be like a kind of paranoia. What is important in understanding mid-adolescents is being aware of the upsurge of powerful feelings towards others and how far they can maintain an ability to think about themselves instead of impulsively launching into action. When they cannot, the likelihood is that others will feel the effects.

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Chapter 6: emotional disturbance

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

In chapter 5 we saw that the frequency of delinquency seems to rise to a peak during the mid-teens and then begins to drop. What was also clear from the statistics was the gender difference, in that males seem much more likely to offend than do females. In this chapter we think about the frequency of mental disturbance as it appears in the general population, to see whether we can learn something about the kinds of emotional difficulties young people of this age can experience.

When it comes to thinking about emotional disturbance, we tend to think of signs other than offending. It seems clear that this does cause emotional disturbance as well as being caused by it. However, apart from offending, it is depression, self-harming, and suicide that seem to be the most worrying signs that a mid-adolescent is feeling disturbed. Here, again, we find a gender difference.

In Table 6.1 we can see that there is an enormous increase in the rate of suicide and unexplained death in the 15–24 age group, compared to those 14 years old and younger. Furthermore, the numbers and rate of increase are far greater for boys than for girls.

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Chapter Seven: Some Research Implications

Karnac Books ePub

Graham Shulman

Smith (2007, p. 159) states that “our best models of the world are non-linear”, that “chaos has changed the goal posts” in science and that “[t]he study of chaos has provided new tools” (2007, p. 160). How might chaos theory and these “new tools” be used in research within the field of psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy? While conventional time series techniques and statistical methods of analysis have been used in research in child psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic child psychotherapy (e.g., Moran & Fonagy, 1987; Philps, 2009; Schneider et al., 2009), as far as I am aware, nonlinear models and the “new tools” derived from chaos and dynamical systems theory have not so far been employed in psychoanalytic research. The lesson from chaos theory seems to be that statistical analysis and conventional time series techniques, while unquestionably useful in studying linear correlations and relationships, are unable to observe or identify non-linear deterministic patterns, structures, or chains of cause and effect. This means the assumption based on conventional statistical analysis of linear patterns that “[i]f…two processes are uncorrelated, it is unlikely that they are causally connected” (Moran & Fonagy, 1987[2009, p. 88]) proves to be incorrect in relation to non-linear or chaotic processes.

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Chapter Three: Chaos Theory and Psychoanalysis: the Fluidic Nature of the Mind

Karnac Books ePub

George Moran

For many disciplines, the focus of study is a system that sometimes behaves predictably and, with a change in certain conditions, behaves in a complex or apparently random manner. In meteorology, fluid dynamics, and ecology, scientists have constructed models of their respective systems, attempting to capture the complex nature and behaviour seen in real life. Until the last ten or fifteen years, such models consisted of numerous equations which had to be “summed” in order to account for the variety possible in a real world system (this was true when trying to model even the simplest physical systems). Experimental observations that deviated from the models were considered artifactitious, or the deviations were resolved by the addition of more components or equations. Mathematical approaches to modelling have for a number of years examined systems that work on themselves over time, that “flow”. This approach drops the previous notion of tag-on equations to encompass supposedly variant behaviour, and shows that complex behaviour can be determined by simple equations of a special class, called non-linear differential equations (May, 1976). Many systems that are so modelled work on themselves, or “flow”: the old “output” becomes the new “input”. This process of flow suggests images of fluids, and indeed it is in the discipline of fluid dynamics that much of the pioneering work has occurred. Such fluidic systems characterised by this kind of feedback are prone to exhibit “chaotic” behaviour over time: behaviour that is apparently random, disorganised, and without order. The science of these new models is in fact called “Chaos”. The choice of the name is unfortunate, because there is little that is truly lawless, destructive, or totally disorderly about the field or its subjects of study. Indeed, the new models allow a clearer appreciation of qualitative and quantitative characteristics of complex systems never before possible.

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