Character Formation and Identity in Adolescence: Clinical and Developmental Issues

By Metzger, Jed | Best Practices in Mental Health, Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

Character Formation and Identity in Adolescence: Clinical and Developmental Issues


Metzger, Jed, Best Practices in Mental Health


Character Formation and Identity in Adolescence: Clinical and Developmental Issues Randolph L. Lucente Chicago: Lyceum Books 168 pages (paperback), $44.95, ISBN 978-1-933478-69-2

Reviewed by Jed Metzger

Character Formation and Identity in Adolescence was written by Professor Lucente to provide an integrated approach to adolescent development and the various depth-oriented psychoanalytic psychotherapies. The book interweaves case vignette with theoretical exploration across the adolescent developmental process. The book is scholarly and well organized. Lucente has an advanced understanding of adolescent development as well as Freudian, ego, object, and self psychologies.

It is a rare ability to be able to write with depth and be this clear on the way that a developmental understanding of adolescence can inform a practitioner providing depth-oriented psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Each chapter makes an important contribution. The book requires the reader to have a strong knowledge of development and classical treatment. As such, it will most likely be of greatest use to either doctoral level students or experienced practitioners. Additionally, although Lucente states that the text is offered to bridge classical psychoanalytic psychotherapy with postmodern approaches, this reviewer did not find evidence of that, as the theoretical and case illustration remained strongly structural.

Chapter 1 focuses on adolescent development and the clinical process. The material is presented from a classical perspective and is detailed and well researched. The treatment approaches mirror the developmental thinking with emphasis on insight-oriented intervention. Content is organized around identity formation, the development of an ego ideal, and character formation. The chapter concludes with an interesting discussion of intersubjectivity.

Chapter 2, titled Narcissism, Character Formation and Separation-Individuation, begins by framing these concerns against an ego psychological understanding, but quickly moves to introduce self psychology. …

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