Separation-Individuation: A Psychoanalytic Examination of a Literary Character and Implications for Psychotherapy with Traumatized Adolescents
This doctoral project explores psychodynamic theories of separation-individuation processes of infancy and adolescence through an examination of the fictional narrator and protagonist of the novel The Catcher in the Rye. It examines the conceptions of Mahler, Kaplan, Loewald and Blos, and their clinical application to psychotherapy with adolescents. In particular, the study addresses the arrested development of Holden Caulfield, a 17-year old boy and the many ways in which his experience of trauma interfered with his ability to separate and achieve selfhood. His interpersonal difficulties, his thoughts, relationships to siblings, caregivers, teachers, and peers and his personal trauma combine to complicate his ability to separate and achieve individuation, the primary developmental task of adolescence. Theoretically, the present study applies a psychoanalytic framework to illustrate how the application of separation-individuation and trauma as presented in literature and life can inform clinical practice with adolescents and emerging adults. The limited focus on the relationship between trauma and separation-individuation in psychoanalytic research warrants further study in order to better inform clinical treatment. Recommendations and treatment interventions highlight the need for clinicians to be adept at working with traumatized adolescents by reflecting on the developmental needs of individuals during this critical age.
Psychology|Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology
Ledesma, Jennifer, "Separation-Individuation: A Psychoanalytic Examination of a Literary Character and Implications for Psychotherapy with Traumatized Adolescents" (2020). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI28289006.
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