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Addiction to near death in adolescence

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This paper takes Betty Joseph's concept of ‘addiction to near death’, which describes a clinical situation in which sadism and masochism dominate the relationships of a particular group of patients, and applies it specifically to the case material of a girl in adolescent psychotherapy treatment. A link is made between the patient's retreat from mature genital sexuality as she approaches adulthood and the use of sadism and masochism towards this aim. The paper concludes with a discussion on the increase in strength and potency of sadism and masochism in adolescence as contributing to the high risk of destructive and self-destructive behaviour present in this age group.
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Keywords: anorexia; psychotherapy; sadomasochism; self-harm; sexuality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Northern School of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, Bevan House, 34–36 Springwell RoadLeeds,LS12,1AW, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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