Over the years, there have been dozens of psychologists who have proposed hundreds of different theories regarding human development. These theories are read by educational professionals, who incorporate the parts of the theories that they believe in, into their own personal philosophy. Developmental theories should help counselors understand potential outlooks regarding the needs of individuals during the different stages of their lives.
Erikson believed that an individual's interactions with others describe development. Erikson also believed that individual development takes place in a social context. He believed that development is a lifelong process and he indicated 8 stages. Movement from one stage to the next is conditioned on successful completion of each developmental stage. Also, healthy development results from facing life's problems at each stage of development. Successful resolution of the various life difficulties, leads progressively to hope, trust, and autonomy. Counselors are concerned with how people think, because problem solving, decision-making and other interventions are governed by an individual's thinking.
Jean Piaget's theory focuses on how individuals think and how the thinking process is unique at different developmental stages. Piaget describes the thinking process of four developmental stages. Each of these stages is characterized by unique ways of thinking and therefore determines how adults interact with others. He believed that children actively learn by doing, using the environment to stimulate their thinking. Doing is a way of becoming. Because children learn best when they can manipulate, use hands-on activities, and make the abstract concrete, counselors may use the developing thinking of children throughout the elementary school years to plan appropriate guidance activities. Activities such as playing, drawing, using clay or making lists often result in children producing products that reveal their inner thinking. By engaging each other in different types of groups, children become less egocentric in their approach to understanding problems and in the generation of solutions. Adolescent thinking results in idealistic and utopian thinking in which the individual thinks all is open and available.
When approaching problems, the individual looks for solutions that are familiar. If a concrete thinker needs assistance to see other possibilities, a counselor may help by providing a hands-on, product-oriented approach to help the person conceptualize problems. The counselor needs to be aware of individual thinking levels. When working with children and adolescents, the counselor should facilitate the use of an appropriate activity or technique, which matches the thinking level of the individual. When working with adults, the counselor needs to address issues indicating the appropriate starting points in problem solving and decision-making. Piaget provides a model useful in determining the thinking level being utilized by an individual.
Piaget, who is considered a stage theorist, connected the child development with the environment. He promoted the idea that children set the learning agenda and direct their own growth around the environment around which they grow.
Piaget's ideas help understand how people function in their environments.
Successful identification of the orientation used by the individual coming for counseling enables the counselor to see how the individual makes meaning of the world.
The counselor is able to build a relationship by using a variety of techniques based on the counselee's cognitive-developmental orientation.
The basic belief of these theories still provides the basis for many hypotheses in counseling. Reviewing existing theories can help counselors better understand normal growth and development and gain insight into what individuals need to do to reach fulfillment in their lives. Developmental and psychodynamic theories continue to be basis in...
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