Human development theories.

Essay by mambueUniversity, Master'sA-, January 2009

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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...