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Helplessness and omnipotence in contemporary youth: a study about the addiction to drugs and its challenges for psychoanalytic clinic

Grant number: 10/14989-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2011
Effective date (End): December 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Psychological Treatment and Prevention
Principal Investigator:Luis Claudio Mendonca Figueiredo
Grantee:Bianca Bergamo de Andrade Savietto
Host Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research project is focused on a specific way of using toxic substances by current days' youngsters: the addictive use. In this matter, it is important to note that not every use of those substances leads to the establishment of an addictive conduct, so when we talk about the addiction to drugs we are talking about a pathological way of use and about a pathology situated in the wider field of the addictions. In this field, the addiction to drugs has a central aspect: the pathological dependence. Starting, then, from the study of the pathological dependence issue, we develop some thoughts about the relations in the family of current days' young drug-addict, as well as an analyses of a response attempt that appeals for the "narcissistic closing", in order to highlight the aspects of helplessness and omnipotence that we consider to deserve special attention regarding the dissemination of addiction to drugs in contemporary youth. The relationships between the ego and the object (internal / external) gain accent in the assessment of the pathological dependence issue, and incite us to interrogate some inherent implications of the context of psychoanalytic clinic's transference: where is the place of the analyst in a dynamics in which the subject transfers a pathological dependence on internal object into a pathological dependence on drugs? What kind of alliance the analyst should establish with the patient in that situation? Moving to the elements that concern the family of current days' young drug-addicts and that compete to the establishment of a pathological dependence, we approach the ideals thematic, trying to show that when the sublimation movement cannot promote adjustment of the first object relations, the opening of the identification's pathways gets obstructed and the introjection of primordial objects gets compromised. Persisting, then, in dominating the scene, the idealization gives rise to the substitution of the identification with the object for his permanence in an "exteriorized" position. If the identification allows the appropriation of parental objects, the lack of adjustment of the first object relations by sublimation and the persistence of idealization keep the childhood helplessness' situation, in which the subject is in complete dependence on parental other. So, helplessness and dependence assume highlight in these thoughts about aspects connected to the relations in the family of current days' young drug-addicts, leading us to the issue that, privilegedly, we believe is involved in the resource to the abuse of toxic substances by those youngsters: the seek for shelter in the absolute register of omnipotence. Finally, we try to demonstrate that when those youngsters, in order to escape from the intrusion of an alienating and "intoxicating" internal other, attempt to organize a circular and closed circuit through the intoxication by drugs, they are, again, conducted to pathological dependence and alienation, since these elements are never absent from the absolute register of omnipotence. In this register, in which stands the belief in a narcissistic plenitude, the hope as a principle does not find its place and a clinical work that allows its installation becomes indispensable. So, we ask: how to, in and through psychoanalytical transference, open space for the hope as a principle's installation in psychic life? Face to the challenges imposed by the "congenital desperation" - under which there is, in the internal context, a deconstructive traumatic as well as the prevalence of non-representable elements, and that, in the clinical situation, provokes disastrous therapeutic consequences - we still wonder: in what consists a clinical work that includes a certain notion of "enlarged clinic"?

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