The Transformational Self concept is a fresh attempt to answer the question, "When does adolescence end?". It moves the discussion away from using traditional developmental tasks as indicators of the transition to the analysis of dynamic interactional processes gathered from an interdisciplinary context known as regulation theory.
This book is an attempt to add to the theoretical discussion regarding the nature of the intrapsychic and interpersonal transformational changes associated with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The author introduces the concept of the Transformational Self, a phase-specific dimension of the neural self, and demonstrates the enhanced explanatory power that it offers in attempting to examine the sometimes dramatic shifting self-states accompanying the metamorphosis from adolescence into young adulthood. A necessary precondition for the emergence of the Transformational Self is the maturation of the pre-frontal cortex and its enhanced neural connectivity. With this biological achievement, executive functioning, a strengthened ego/self capacity, can arrive at a mature level of external stabilization and internal, intrapsychic structuralization. Conceptualized in self-referencing metaphor and expressed and reinforced through long term potentiation (repeated firing patterns of synchronous neural assemblies), the late adolescent reconfigured self-state becomes a true developmental potentiality evidenced by the use of different self (and other) representations. In other words, self referencing metaphor becomes the pathway to personal metamorphosis. The psychotherapies of two mid-adolescent girls illustrate the application of the Transformational Self concept.