VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Venturing Out on My Own: Supporting the Development of Female Autonomy

Julia A. Smith


Counselors and researchers concerned with female development and traditional-age college women seem pulled between developmental pathways of either promoting increasing self determination overidentification with others. Because “adolescence is a preeminent time not only for observing character development, but also for influencing it” (Loevinger, 1990, p. 116), greater understanding of how females approach interpersonal dilemmas in their actual lives can assist counselors in facilitating students’ developmental needs in ways that prepare young women to make life choices that promote a balance of care and greater self actualization. While research has sought to understand female development from a relational perspective, surprisingly little has been done to understand how young women balance personal agency and affiliation in terms of autonomy. The purpose of this study was to explore the autonomy development of late adolescent females amid conflicting feelings with important others.

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