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Essay on The Life-Span Developmental Approach to Counseling

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The life-span development approach addresses the basic nature versus nurture debate by allowing for both. Just as our physicals selves are determined by both genetics and lifestyle, so are our emotional selves. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I plan to consider life-span development to specialize in counseling a specific type of person with hopes of becoming well-versed, and therefore more helpful, in the types of experiences that group faces. “Personality can be better understood if it is examined developmentally” (Santrock, 2006, p. 45). Considering cognitive, biological, and socioemotional development throughout life will provide context, guideposts, and reasonable expectations for counselors. Life-span development theories also…show more content…
Author Judith Harris theorizes that heredity and peer environment are the sole factors in a person’s development, and therefore parents have no affect on the development of their children. The life-span perspective should probably make room for familial environment: family of origin and family of choice. Assuming Harris is correct, a life-span approach to counseling will allow that children and spouses do influence an adult’s development. Environmental factors on a micro level feature the nuclear family; macro-level factors can include social mores, regional cultural norms, and even national identity. Santrock points out that each of these factors “influences our understanding of children and adults and informs our decisions as a society about how they should be treated” (2006, p. 9). A counselor can guide a person to examining the correlation between environment and societal attitudes, and then the impact on his or her own development. Providing a social support such as counseling from a life-span perspective must include physical context. Age is an obvious, but significant, biological concern. Erikson’s theory of development defines periods throughout our lives by eight common crises. The stages continue until death, although each stage has an optimal time (Boeree, 1997, par. 27). Familiarity with each stage’s crisis is the foundation of counseling from a life-span development perspective. Focusing on one stage’s crisis
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