While Freud wrote very little in depth about adolescence, he did pay close attention to it phylogenetically, in terms of psycho sexual development, and in his frequent use of the term puberty. Remarkably, in the ‘Cambridge Companion to Freud’ (Neu, 1991), adolescence is mentioned only twice and then only in passing. In the ‘Standard Edition’ (Freud’s collected works), adolescence is mentioned only three times while puberty appears 240 times. For many psychodynamic theorists, adolescence is marked by three key developmental moments and potential outcomes. First, there is a change in the sexual impulse, resulting in the discovery of object love. There is at this moment also a very real danger of what the Laufers (2011) call ‘developmental breakdown’ (see entry, developmental stages): a rejection of the emerging sexual and adult body alongside potential conflicts over gender. Anna Freud, similarly, understood that adolescent struggles simultaneously satisfy and balance inner impulse (i.e. the wishes of the id), against the demands of reality and the ego (see entries, ego and drive).
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