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The first developmental textbook written specifically for helping professionals and graduate-level students, The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals, Third Edition, provides an in-depth look at the science of human development and how it applies to the fields of counseling, social work and psychology. Using counseling applications, case studies, special topics boxes, and journal questions, the text introduces developmental theories and research within the context of clinical practice.
Written with a primary focus on linking theory and research to counseling applications, the new third edition features expanded coverage of psycholopathology in developmental context as well as added material on the latest development-related neuroscientific findings. The revised edition also provides an open access text-specific companion website that offers a full range of multimedia instructor supplements.
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Patricia Broderick is a professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.
Pamela Blewitt teaches in the Department of Psychology at Villanova University.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THIS BOOK
The study of human development over the life span reveals the fascinating story of human beings and how they change over time. The story is both universal and uniquely personal, because it speaks to us about ourselves and the people who are important to us in our lives. Besides being intrinsically interesting, knowledge about development has obvious relevance for professionals engaged in counseling, social work, and other helping fields. We believe that in order to understand our clients and the nature of their problems, we must see clients in context. One important context is clients' developmental history. As helping professionals, we must take into account the threads of continuity and change in people's lives that bring them to their present point in development. This text provides the background and the tools to enable professionals to view their clients from a developmental perspective.
This text also reflects the contemporary view that life span development is a process deeply embedded within and inseparable from the context of family, social network, and culture. People do not progress through life in isolation; rather their developmental course influences and is influenced by other people and systems. Some of these influences are related to the cultural differences that exist in a world of increasing diversity. We recognize the importance of these factors in understanding human development and emphasize cultural and systemic influences on human growth and change throughout the book.
Knowledge about development increases every day, making it exceptionally difficult to summarize this dynamic field. Presumably, every author needs to make some choices about what to include in a book of this nature. This particular text is configured to emphasize selected theories and research that have useful applications for helping professionals. The main purpose of this book is to provide students in the helping professions with information that can be translated into professional "best practice" applications.
Throughout this text, we also emphasize the role of clinicians as reflective practitioners. Reflective practice involves "active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it leads" (Dewey, 1933/1998, p. 9). Our primary vehicle for accomplishing this goal is twofold: (1) encouraging the reader to reflect on personal experience and assumptions about development and (2) communicating the value of research-based knowledge as a means of understanding human development. Our particular orientation intentionally emphasizes the significance of developmental research to the work of the professional helper. We attempt to integrate various lines of developmental research into a useful whole that has practical value for helpers in applied settings. In so doing, this book bears witness to the enormous amount of work done by developmental researchers, particularly in the last several decades. Without their groundbreaking efforts, clinicians' own work to improve people's lives would be greatly impoverished. It has been a challenge and an honor to record their contributions in this book.
COVERAGE AND ORGANIZATION
The opening chapters establish the theme of the text and introduce broad issues in development. Chapter 1 begins with an examination of the role of developmental knowledge in reflective practice. Students are introduced to theoretical models and issues that appear and reappear throughout the text. They are encouraged to reflect on their own theoretical assumptions about development and on the impact those assumptions could have in clinical practice. Boxed features help students understand how developmental processes are studied scientifically and how scientifically established information can be useful in practice. Chapter 2 takes a close look at the role of genetics in behavioral development, describing basic hereditary mechanisms by which any genetic influences must operate and examining alternative scientific strategies for assessing the contribution of genetics to behavior. Aspects of prenatal development and the multiple influences on aprenatal development are also considered.
The remaining chapters follow a chronological sequence, covering a full range of critical topics in physical, cognitive, and social development. In Chapters 3 through 5, the infancy and preschool periods are the focus. Among the topics covered are early brain development and many aspects of early cognitive growth, such as the development of representational thought and memory, children's early "theory of mind" or naive psychology, the early understanding of symbols and of language, and more. Coverage of early social development includes the emergence of emotions, emotion regulation, attachment processes, early self-development, temperament, and the role of parental disciplinary style in the growth of self-regulation. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 examine important developments in middle childhood and in the transition to adolescence, including the growth of logical thinking, the expanding capacity to process and remember information, perspective-taking skills and friendship development, influences on the developing self-concept, developments in moral thinking, influences on the emergence of prosocial and antisocial behavior, sex-role development, and peer relationships. Adolescence is the subject of Chapters 9 and 10, covering pubertal change, advances in logical and metacognitive skill, identity development, and the influences of peers, parents, school, and culture on adolescent behavior. Chapters 11 and 12 describe the young adult period, or what has been called "emerging adulthood," and includes a close look at the way thinking changes as adulthood looms and at the progress of work and career and of intimate relationships. Chapters 13 and 14 are focused on changes in physical, cognitive, and social functioning during middle and late adulthood, respectively. These chapters examine the many kinds of change that adults experience and the maintenance of well-being in the face of loss. Among the key developmental tasks discussed are marriage and its discontents, the experience of child rearing, the role of wisdom, stereotypes about aging, coping with death and bereavement, and many more.
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