Two-photon resonantly enhanced parametric generation processes have generally been described using time-dependent perturbation theory. In this paper we show that a theory of two-photon coherent effects can be used to derive and explain these nonlinear mixing processes. Our technique makes use of the adiabatic following (AF) approximation to obtain solutions to a vector model describing the two-photon resonance. We show that the usual results for the nonlinear susceptibilities correspond to the r→ vector of Feynman, Vernon, and Hellwarth adiabatically following the γ→ vector in the small-angle limit. Consequently, the theory allows a natural extension to large angles, and power-dependent nonlinear susceptibilities are obtained. We then use these AF results for the polarization to study the propagation of pulses nearly resonant with a two-photon transition, and we demonstrate that the pulse reshaping is due to the two related effects of a nonlinear pulse velocity and self-phase modulation. © 1975 The American Physical Society.