Two important lifespan development stages: Infancy and Toddlerhood stage and the Middle Childhood stage. Professional counselors in the mental health field are in an important position in the development and survival of our society, in that they not only experience their own personal growth and contribution in life, but also are responsible for assisting others in their ability to develop as successful members of humanity (Vernon, 2010). A vital tool in their work towards this endeavor is the understanding of the lifespan perspective, which is supported by knowledge of the stages of development that individuals encounter as they progress through their lives. These stages include Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, Adolescence, Early Adulthood, Middle Adulthood, and Later Adulthood (Vernon, 2010). An understanding of the Infancy and Toddlerhood stage of development is crucial to mental health counselors due to the fact that, regardless of the age of their client, the foundations of that client’s personality and approach to life were formed during this stage. This stage covers the time from birth to 3 years of age, and involves major developmental changes that occur rapidly. The most vital developmental advancements include those involving gross and fine motor development, the discovery and growth of emotions, personality, and autonomy, and advancement in intellectual abilities through cognitive and language development. The ability to control physical movement and skills advances rapidly in this stage, which increases an individual’s independence as they are capable of doing more for themselves. Vital to individuality and the foundation of the ability to connect and relate to others, is the recognition of personal emotion and the ability to distinguish between different emotions, as well as the capacity to respond to emotions that others exhibit (Vernon, 2010). According to Graves, (2006) “much exploration at this age is an attempt to...
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Graves, S. B., & Larkin, E. (2006). Lessons from Erikson: A look at autonomy across the lifespan. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 4(2), 61–71.
Vernon, A. (2010). Human Development Through the Lifespan. In Erford, B.T. (Ed.) Orientation to the Counseling Profession: Advocacy, Ethics, and Essential Professional Foundations (pp. 95-123. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
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