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Gender as the New Language of Teen Rebellion

David L Lopez, Alejandra Wortman

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Abstract :

The growing occurrence of adolescents with gender nonconforming identities appears to be associated with what the authors believe is the contemporary manifestation of the adolescent identity crisis phenomenon. This phenomenon is expressed through a deliberate rejection and reappraisal of conventional gender roles and norms. The adolescent identity crisis, as initially conceptualized by Erik Erikson (1956), constitutes an unconscious multifaceted phenomenon that is outwardly displayed within familial and societal frameworks. A historical overview of pertinent terminology is provided, followed by the presentation of four clinical vignettes chosen to exemplify this phenomenon, alongside the resultant family conflicts that often ensue. Additionally, an anonymized clinical case is presented, encompassing the evaluation process, the subsequent psychodynamic formulation, treatment considerations, parent work, and the available resources for patients and families. The clinical illustrations are case composites and the data disguised to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. A plea is made to the scientific community for in-depth long-term research into this clinical phenomenon.

Keywords: adolescence; crisis; dysphoria; gender; identity; nonbinary; nonconforming.

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crise adolescente et gender
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