Catherine Jousselme is a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Paris-Sud University and the head of a department at Fondation Vallée, a psychiatric hospital for children, near Paris.
Jean-Luc Douillard is a clinical psychologist at the Hospital Centre of Saintonge. He coordinates a regional programme in Charente-Maritime for the support of mental health and suicide prevention.
Adolescents are often difficult to approach. As they try to cope with upheavals they cannot control and to define their new, often shifting identity, they tend to reject every adult initiative as an intrusion — and even more so if the adult in question happens to be their parent. And yet they need to be encouraged and reassured about themselves, their capacities and their future. So how can adults give them the assistance they are so keen to reject? What are the preconditions of therapeutic support, which can be so crucial, at this highly vulnerable age?
Written by two specialists on adolescence, this book argues that unless health professionals make a real effort to connect with their adolescent patients and their problems, they will fail to help them. This “true meeting” between two people, two identities, presupposes that the adult will tune in and listen to his or her own adolescent experiences, including hurts and intimate feelings of fragility, in order to show the patient how to overcome them. Backed by numerous interviews with experts on adolescence — particularly psychologists and other health workers — and illustrated with examples of clinical cases of troubled adolescents, the book shows how beneficial such encounters can be in defusing potentially violent behaviour and reopening pathways that seemed blocked.
• A resolutely humane and optimistic approach to adolescence that stresses resilience rather than disorders.
• Heart-warming testimonials by professionals who work with adolescents.
• Fascinating clinical cases.