The Adolescent, Puer Aeternus and the Goldilocks Factor: Marica Rytovaara

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Date(s) - 01/10/2016
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ


The Adolescent, Puer Aeternus and the Goldilocks Factor

Marica Rytovaara


The Goldilocks factor refers to our eternal, impossible longing for the Other, who will get it ‘just right’ and who understands and accepts our true self in all its mimetic (similar) and alteric (different) aspects. We search for the perfect connection in the gaze of our mother, father, friend, lover and therapist, but remain enigmas to all and ourselves as we glide through life like icebergs. We will explore the adolescent Sleeping Beauty phase, adult amnesia for the lost dreams and the potentially catastrophic puer acting out in midlife, but also the vitality, power and soaring creativity embedded in the adolescent archetype. This will be a brief guided tour through adolescent themes, the evolving brain and attachment theory. We need to discover how we can retain and reconnect to the ludic aspects of adolescence without falling into the abyss of puer hubris.  I will use clinical vignettes to make links to literature, the cinema and virtual realities and Jung’s Collective Unconscious.

Marica Rytovaara is a training analyst with the SAP and a member of the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP). She is a full-time Consultant in Adolescent Psychotherapy in an adolescent inpatient unit (National Health Service) in London. She has written several papers on adolescence published in the Journal of Analytic Psychology and teaches widely both in the UK and abroad. Marica received the Michael Fordham Prize in 2010 for her paper entitled ’The transcendent function in adolescence: miracle cures and bogeymen’. She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Analytical Psychology and a supervisor for the SAP/Tavistock Moscow Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training.

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