The Assessment of Object Relations Phenomena in Adolescents: Tat and Rorschach Measures

By Francis D. Kelly | Go to book overview

whether or not something positive would result. In lieu of individual treatment, another option could be referral to group psychotherapy as she might find this less intrusive and more palatable. It would provide her with opportunities for connection with other adolescents and would also allow for the opportunity to address issues in relation to separation- individuation, relationship concerns, and strategies around coming to grips with later adolescent demands. Finally, the option would also exist for family psychotherapy wherein she and her mother could be seen together, with this being appropriate because Amelia may find her way back into her mother's home at some point. This intervention would be less desirable than either individual or group treatment, although it would provide an opportunity for mother and daughter to strengthen their bond and create an arena where Amelia could, with her mother's support, examine issues in relation to separation and individuation.


SUMMARY

This chapter focused on three adolescents of different ages and presenting somewhat different clinical pictures, with the common denominator linking their situations the exposure to noxious environmental events involving multiple episodes of chronic, complex trauma ( Terr, 1991) and prolonged abuse and neglect experiences during the preoedipal years. In two of the cases, the additional stress of multiple moves and rejections during the latency period constituted an additional stressor or potentially traumatic event. Despite their starts in life, it was possible to see, in at least two of the cases, reason for some optimism given the results of psychological test material, clearly complementing observations from those most familiar with these young patients, and offering reasons for cautious yet positive prognostications regarding the immediate future. The clinical material raises questions about how children cope with and assimilate sordid environmental experiences that transpire in the critical preoedipal years. Although it would hardly be appropriate to comment that Amelia and Danny are "out of the woods," it would be warranted to acknowledge their resilience and strength, and highlight that they both display obvious emotional resources that bode well as they continue along their adolescent passage.

The results suggest that corrective, mutative emotional experiences appeared to be a critical factor. This was observable in the cases of Amelia and Danny and not so clear in the case of Joey. The development of an enduring positive relationship may be sufficient to, at least in part, ameliorate the sequelae of abusive and neglectful experiences transpiring in

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