Developmental Lifespan from a MH Perspective
Zunker (2016) stated that early life experiences tend to influence later life decisions. As it applies to career counseling, this is the core and foundation for how young children begin to view the world and all it has to offer. For example, children who have parental figures who exhibit hard work ethic are likely to influence their young children especially if it is reinforced with at-home activities (e.g., chores). These experiences, along with other life experiences, are likely to shape what a child decides to do. From a MH perspective, because the child’s feelings about these practices greatly challenge or confirm their beliefs, it will affect their behaviors.
Erikson’s Psychosocial Developmental Model illustrates the challenges that people face at different stages of their life development. What made Erikson’s model much more appealing (versus Freud’s Psychosexual Theory) is that it included polarities that challenged each individual’s relationship to his/her culture, family, and life environment (Syed and McLean, 2015). So as it is applied to career counseling in the cases of young children and adolescents, Erikson’s developmental model provides a theoretical explanation for the decisions and choices one makes at certain times of his/her life.
Branje, Lieshout, & Gerris (2007) studied personality development across adolescence and adulthood to see if the Big Five personality factors (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience) changed as individuals aged and gained experience. Their research suggested that males have fewer changes than females, but both sexes showed increasing signs of maturity and adaptation as they aged. The importance of their study was that it showed that personality continued to develop during the middle adulthood potentially because of the delegation of new responsibilities (i.e., parenthood). As it is applied to career counseling, the changing course of one’s career can have profound impact on their livelihood and decisions that (in)directly affect how one views his/her future.
Thoughts from the “Other Side”
Based upon Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs, there exist several, innate physiological needs during infancy: food, water, shelter, sleep, air (breathing), excretion, and sensory satisfaction (e.g., touch, taste, hear, feel, and smell; Daniels, 1992; Maslow, 1943; and Seeley, 1992). The early, formative years allow the child to experience the world through their parent’s permission. Fast forward to adulthood, and these same basic needs are still required; however, they have evolved into something much more complex. When integrated with the work life, it is not surprising that these same needs are still needed in the workplace environment; however, they are ascribed new titles or new entitlements. For example, infants have the need for food; employees have the need for a clean environment to enjoy said food. Another example: infants have a need for sleep; employees need an hour per day for a break to do with it whatever they would like. These needs have never left; they have just evolved. The career demands that one has available to him/her that are most desirable are the attributes the (s)he will seek. In these instances, it will be necessary to determine if a client is okay with where (s)he is at this junction of his/her life. If they are not, it will be important to determine how career counseling and lifespan developmental theory can be influential in assisting with producing changes.
Wm D. Stinchcomb
Branje, S.J.T., Van Lieshout, C.F.M., & Gerris, J.R.M. (2007). Big Five Personality Development in Adolescence and Adulthood. European Journal of Personality, 21, 45-67.
Daniels, J. (1992). Empowering homeless children through school counseling. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 27(2), 104-113.
Maslow, A.H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.
Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2012).Development through life: a psychosocial approach (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Seeley, E. (1992). Human needs and consumer economics: The implications of Maslow’s theory of motivation for consumer expenditure patterns. Journal Of Socio-Economics, 21(4), 303.
Syed, M., & McLean, K. C. (2015). Understanding identity integration: Theoretical, methodological, and applied issues. Journal of Adolescence, 47, 109-118. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.09.005
Zunker, V. G. (2016). Career counseling: A holistic approach, 9th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305729759/