All But Dissertation (ABD), All But Parricide (ABP): Young Adulthood as a Developmental Period and the Crisis of Separation

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Abstract

In this paper, the author examines young adulthood as a developmental stage in its own right and as distinct from adolescence. The author describes the tasks and various factors that contextualize young adulthood and highlights a common developmental crisis that young adults often experience with regard to achieving self-responsibility and individuation. Drawing on Loewald’s seminal work in understanding the process of individuation and the mutual dimension to the act of parricide, attention is given to those young adult patients who struggle with committing this symbolic murder of the parent/analyst, especially when confronted with a narcissistically vulnerable parent who is unable to allow him or herself to be “killed off.” A detailed case is presented in which analyst and patient collude to avoid the act of parricide, and the complicated enactments that ensue as a result.

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