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The Psychotherapy Curriculum

Emerging Adulthood: Transformative Years

Program Description

How does a child become an adult? What propels development from late adolescence to adulthood? In this program, we explore “becoming.” Jeffrey Arnett gives us an overview about what he has termed the stage of “Emerging Adulthood.” Harry Bendicsen describes the deep and personal work that goes into what he has called, “The Transitional Self.” Maxine Wintre reviews her research findings about what happens to families during these years, and Jesse Viner explains the neurological developments that take place as one moves from adolescence into full adulthood.

Learning Objectives


The difference between young adulthood and emerging adults.
Non-traditional ways to think about issues associated with the transition from late adolescence into adulthood.
The new, unitary framework of interdisciplinary processes called “Regulation Theory,” and how this aids in understanding the new self state called, “The Transitional Self”
New theories addressing multi-dimensional aspects of the parent/child relationship in this stage of life.
Some of the neurological developments which underlie the transition from late
adolescent to adulthood.
Use of the therapeutic relationship as a catalyst for change.
The role of social class and cultural diversity.


Neurobiological Changes in Emerging Adulthood - Jesse Viner, MD

Dr Jesse Viner explains the neuroscience findings that propel emerging adulthood, an active and essential window of time in the maturational unfolding of identity.

OVERVIEW - Jeffrey Arnett, Ph.D. website

Sociologists define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school; leaving home; becoming financially independent; marrying; and having a child. Dr. Arnett presents an overview to the subject of Emerging Adulthood, a term he devised.

The Old/New Family - Maxine Wintre, Ph.D.

Dr. Maxine Wintre’s research addresses the ignored role of parents in the psychological health and life transitions of emerging adults. In part, it explains why parents have been left out of the picture and then describes more recent theories and research, investigating perceived reciprocity with parents and social support, perceived stress, depression, anxiety, transition to university, to the army, etc that pave the way for practical implications and interventions and further research.

The Transformational Self - Harry Bendicsen, LCSW

Harry Bendicsen, LCSW, is concerned with the processes that propel the transition from adolescence to adulthood. In his book, "The Transformational Self: Attachment and the End of the Adolescent Phase", he takes major trends in psychological thinking: psychoanalytic theory; complexity theory; attachment theory; relational theories; linguistic theory; and neurological research, and integrates them to create a new framework of interdisciplinary process that he names, “Regulation Theory.” Using these insights, he shows how this becomes the “gateway” to young adulthood.

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