Labeling Norms as Disordered: Young Adults’ Loss of Identity

Michaela I. Fissel, M.A. Community Psychology

For young adults, the developmental transition to adulthood is marked by normative turbulence, transcience, and risk taking. Despite the finding that the vast majority of young people successfully move through this stage by their early 30s, the enforcement of the medical model as the only socially acceptable framework leads to the human experience of identify exploration to be pathologized as mental disorders. Currently noted as an “epidemic,” the current generation of young people is becoming increasingly more dependent on clinical care and psychotropic medications as they are reported to experience heightened rates of depression, anxiety, suicidality, and substance use.

Understandably, young people are struggling as they seek to ease the burden of conforming to ideals imposed upon them by the high stakes, do more, be better, never good enough culture. This workshop will provide a developmentally appropriate and generationally relevant perspective for reframing struggle as an opportunity for self-exploration and personal growth. Attendees will explore research, mindfulness based practices, and approaches for creating space for young people to be seen,heard, and valued.