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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 53 (2011) 1, 57 - 62

Short report

The treatment of depression in adolescents, a multi-layered challenge

L. Van Compernolle

background It is generally accepted that the clinical-psychotherapeutic treatment of severely depressed adolescents is a difficult and complicated undertaking.
aim To gain insight into the various factors, often present simultaneously, which block or undermine the adolescent development phase of separation-individuation and lead to depression, and to find out how the situation can be remedied.
method The multi-layered hypothesis is developed with the help of case-material and takes exogenous as well as endogenous factors into account.
results The investigation has demonstrated that in the treatment of depressed adolescents every possible factor needs to be taken into account if a long-lasting result is to be achieved.
conclusionThis result is not surprising in view of the crucial developmental stage involved which is focused on the formation of identity. This developmental process cannot be consolidated until all the necessary elements have fallen into place.

keywords attunement, countertransference, identity, illness, shortage