Stages of Life

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Stages of Life Paper

Adult Development & Psychotherapy

I believe that adult development theory is not sufficiently emphasized in our psychology and counseling training schools. This is unfortunate, because I believe it offers a unique and helpful perspective to the task of psychotherapy. Because I wish to offer to my prospective patients some idea of the importance of this topic, and how it informs my clinical practice, I offer below a synopsis of the theory and its development.
In a most fundamental sense, development in adulthood is about getting older. Traditional psychotherapy looks at how our adult emotional lives are rooted in childhood and infancy. But what happens when the child becomes an adult? Is adulthood only the
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Losses throughout our lives, when understood and lived through consciously, prepare us for the inevitability of all the losses yet to come. Perhaps the greatest loss of our lives will be the moment of our own death. At this point the ego must surrender everything. Yet paradoxically it is precisely this awareness, that we are mortal, that allows us to truly live. Sartre wrote that "we cannot begin to understand being until we understand non-being." We cannot understand life until we have understood death. Those of us in midlife have a fundamentally different awareness of death than we did in our twenties. We may have experienced the loss of a loved one close to us or we may simply be aware that our colleague at work has lost his father-in-law, but by the time we are middle aged we are confronted by the inevitability of our own mortality. This awareness, the deep psychological knowledge of our own inevitable death, is the key difference between the midlife transition and other transitions throughout the life cycle.
Reference: Awakening at Midlife Kathleen A. Brehony, Ph.D.

************************************************************************************************ Daniel Levinson, a psychiatrist at Yale University Medical School, and his colleagues studied the lives of 50 men from five different walks of life.9 His theory concludes that there are a series of transitions and

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