However as is the case with human behaviour once the script gets set the person will start to do things that promote the life script even as they protest against it.
However maybe this is not so true with every adolescent especially the 20% I am referring to. Perhaps there is just not a strong drive or need in this group of people and the assumption that all people have this need is an incorrect assumption.
Listening to a person talk about how they cut self is stress producing for most people including therapists. The therapist needs to be clear they do not fall into subtly pressuring the client into making the contract due to their own anxieties.
Psychotherapy can in this sense be seen as a feminizing pursuit, particularly for the male.
This makes it especially difficult for children from wealthy families who can struggle to gain a sense of who they are as the parent(s) ‘shadow’ is so large.
Behind the fun loving rule breakers are a group with quite conventional views who are quite conforming to their peers. More than the average adult.
One deals with the anger problem by not talking about it, which may seem a little odd.
If this is happening the therapist again must be open to the idea that mother or father secretly delight in the angry self destructive acts of the teenager. This allows the mother or father to avoid the expression of their own self destructiveness.
As all the new ‘romantic things’ the teenager has to do become more automatic, the teenager is then afforded the ‘psychological space’ in their head to begin to experience the other in this new way. They can begin to experience the personality of the romantic other.
Forget the whole testing thing and start the slow process of rebuilding the lines of communication. Hopefully it wont be too late and there are not too many deep scars left on both parent and teenager, such that a reconciliation is impossible.
If one has the opportunity it is pertinent to ask the parents about the good child in the family. The one who is not making any noise can be the one in most pain.
The teenager is meant to learn how to make wise use of his leisure time. This is psychologically important because it reflects the development of the Free Child ego state in the personality.
Of course this has significant implications for therapists in countries like Australia. We have long been indoctrinated by the theories of Margaret Mahler and John Bowlby who both adopt a very individualistic approach in their theories. It would seem wise to be much more understanding of the communal family structures.
When marriage occurs one marries the individual person and also marries their family structure all their attachments and relationships as well.
If she believes this (with or without his encouragement) she finds herself in the same relationship dynamics as the teenager who is not economically separate from the parents. The marriage will then suffer.
Also they may have a strong Please me driver. This person defines self according to the needs and wants of others. The intent of this driver is to obtain nurture (love, approval) and avoid abandonment (rejection, loneliness) but in doing so they present as lacking substance or lack a sense of who they are.