On Saturday October, 13, 2012, Dr. Anne McKnight presented The Relationship World of the Young Adult in Santa Rosa, California. The young adult is at a life stage (20-30 years of age) where he or she faces the tasks of adulthood; separating from his/her family, gaining the education or experience to enter into employment and self sufficiency, establishing relationships which lead to a partnership later in life, and supporting themselves. In this day, Dr. McKnight will look at these questions from the point of view of Bowen family systems theory in which the young person, despite his/her efforts to gain independence, is profoundly affected by the functioning of their original family. Family anxiety, which manifests in parents’ conflict, divorce, dysfunction, or excessive focus on the young adult can affect how free the young person is to engage his/her own life challenges. While seemingly the young person has moved out and on, video segments of interviews will highlight their ties with the original family and their place in the family system. While most of the focus of the day will be on how young adults address the impact of their family on their life course, there will be discussion on how parents can manage themselves when a child leaves home. The day will include a mixture of didactic on family systems theory and the life stage of the young adult, videotaped interviews with young adults, and discussion.
Dr. Anne McKnight is the Director of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family. She has studied, taught, and supervised trainees in Bowen theory for 30 years. Her interest in young adults was stimulated by the numerous young professionals ages 20-30 who come into her office in suburban Washington, D.C. with problems such as depression, a break-up with a partner, or a job difficulty.