Embedded problems within the adolescent

Obsessive beliefs and behaviour tend to form around particular convictions about a truth concerning the self, others or certain aspects of the immediate environment. These ‘truths’ have very little or no connection with actual reality. Often they appear as the distinct opposite of what is actually taking place. Once the conviction becomes embedded, this then tends to give rise to behaviours and statements that are tasked with the need to preserve and reinforce the original conviction. As these behaviours and statements continue to take precedence, they inevitably have an impact on the day-to-day life of the adolescent with respect to increasing anxiety to high levels, limiting enjoyment, friendships and relaxation. A psychodynamic perspective would take the view that the very intensity with which the obsessive belief is pursued provides important information, as this suggests that the belief covers, or is a diversion from, other deeper concerns or worries that cannot be expressed. These deeper concerns and worries would tend to be concerned with anxieties about the self, with identity and with close personal and family relationships. The obsessive behaviour may thus be viewed as a kind of temporary staging post for thoughts, wishes and fears that are too dangerous to be articulated through normal channels.

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