By Robert DePaolo
This article discusses a treatment method designed as both a preventative and post-morbid mode of intervention for various psychopathologies among children and adolescents. The method is termed “self surfing” and it is described as being most applicable with primarily para-biological disorders (those with no a clear or primary biochemical antecedent). A psychodrama format is suggested as a best possible milieu in which to implement preventative and treatment measures.
In discussing psychopathology among children and teens it is helpful to begin with early psychological development. Most mental practitioners in the field of psychology would interpret the word “development” in terms of specific stages; for example in ways espoused by Erickson, (Eagles, 1997) Piaget (1952) and Freud (1956). Here it is described more globally, as an early definition of self, emerging out of the myriad behavioral successes, failures, language attributions hoist upon the child by peers, family, and various authority figures in his or her life.
While the history of clinical psychological is replete with theories to explain the roots of psychopathology, it would seem three main theses have prevailed over time and that these are the seedbeds from which have sprung many of the current theoretical variations. One is behavior theory, which holds that wellness correlates with the learning and execution of useful, successful behavior patterns that produce enough positive feedback to preclude the frustration, helplessness, response uncertainty anxiety that typically lead to the onset of emotional disorders.
A second is the analytic model, which attributes psychopathology to myriad factors such as unmet needs in childhood, inadequate development of the ego and accompanying inability to moderate between id-driven urges and a sense of social probity. According to both the Behaviorist and Analytic (Freudian) models anxiety is the prime pathogen resulting from conflict rising stealthily from the unconscious.