Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for November 3rd, 2010

Late Adolescence

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 3, 2010

   Panina, twenty-five, is struggling with late adolescent issues, which as Jeffrey Arnett has described, makes her an “emerging adult”. Puberty is an act of nature; adolescence is a 20th century cultural phenomena. Panina wants to find a career path; she likes public policy, but she is not sure what kind of job she is seeking. Panina’s friends are stable. She is socially integrated into a network of people that she has accumulated through her academic endeavors: high school, college, graduate school, summer programs. Her sense of herself is fairly stable. Her history of wild mood swings has morphed into minor blips throughout the day. Most strikingly, Panina is able to compromise. At fifteen Panina would scream at her mom if she did not take her shopping  at the moment that Panina felt she needed new clothes. Now, she will plan and make shopping and lunch dates with her mom. As Panina’s therapist, I am tempted to take credit for her burst in maturity, but I also know that development has a lot to do with her great strides. Panina’s dad called me to say how pleased he was with Panina’s therapy. “She has really improved over the last few years and I attribute a great deal of that progress to you,” he says. My mind stops to wonder. I am just not sure if I deserve that credit, but of course, I do not want to argue with him. Time and development are always at play when change happens. Maybe I helped too. It is hard to say.

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