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
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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 is the foundation to specialization in a counseling practice. Helping an individual understand their current crisis may offer many reassurances, but specifically realizing that every stage of life has an optimal time. He or she will develop toward each new stage, building upon and learning from the previous stages. With a focus on a life-long growth process, a counselor can help an individual benefit from even the developmental tasks he or she feels were resolved unsuccessfully.
Gender roles is another example of biological factors shaping development. Erikson's theory assigns the early adult developmental period an "intimacy versus isolation" crisis. Huitt (1997) compares this stage to the early adult crisis defined in the Bingham-Stryker model, outlined in the 1995 book Things will be different for my daughter: A practical guide to building her self-esteem and self-reliance:
In the Bingham-Stryker model the crisis is emotional and financial self-sufficiency. The difference may lie in gender expectations. Boys are expected to become self-sufficient; the male crisis is one of establishing intimacy. Girls are expected to establish relationships; the female crisis is