The Peer Arena

I read an article recently entitled “Alone Together,” published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, May/June 2010.   This article was forwarded to me by a student’s father – thank you to him for sharing interesting information:)

The article is about Vivian Seltzer‘s developmental theory of adolescence and the role of what she calls the peer arena.  Seltzer has researched adolescent behavior extensively and has recently published Peer-impact diagnosis and therapy: A handbook for successful Practice with Adolescents.  The article explores Seltzer’s theory of Dynamic Functional Interaction (DFI).  While this theory has overlap with previous theorists, central to her perspective is the role of comparison within the peer arena.  Psychological growth comes from ones relationship to the peers, and questioning how one fits in with the group.  The article quotes her saying “[the growth process] takes lots of inventory.”

Seltzer’s perspective on adolescence seems to draw on the experience of the adolescent.  The theory posits importance on the adolescent’s world – on the daily intersubjective experiences that lend psychological growth.  Seltzers theory is valuable, as it draws on a dynamic medium – or as Seltzer points out – the Dynamic Functional Interaction.

I encourage readers to check out this theory and see how it fits for them.

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