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COUN 507: Counseling Across the Lifespan

Wednesday 9/21/2011

Chapter 1: The Study of Human Development
Your Lifespan Development
Key piece of being a counselor is developing your own self-awareness
Take a look at your own lifespan development thus far
Take note of what happened at each stage of your life
How have these things affected how you are today? Think about that.

Lifespan Development
The study of how people change and how people stay the same over time
Development is complex a woven tapestry
Development is a building process with times of deconstruction and reconstruction
Do you think understanding HD is important for us as counselors?

Framing the Discussion
Three fundamental issues in exploring HD
o Nature vs. nurture
Degree to which genetics/heredity and experience/environment influences
who you are
Not either/or, but both/and
Personality ends up being about 50% nature, 50% nurture
o Continuity vs. change
Whether behavior and characteristics tend to have a consistent progression
over time or change abruptly
Some things tend to be continuous, some tend to change in a quick way
What might account for quick changes in personality or behavior?
o Universal vs. context-specific development
There is just one path of development for everyone.
Everyone develops in the same way (basically).
What do you feel about these statements?
There are multiple paths of development.
People are not just variations on the same theme.
What do you feel about these statements?
Whether or not there is just one path to development
Two views:
Everyone is just a variation of the main theme
As a result of varying contexts that influence development,
development is NOT the same for everyone
Development is a result of complex interactions with the environment.
Every environment is different, thus development is unique.

A Model of Development
Biopsychosocial model
o Biological forces: health, genetics, wrinkles
Raw material for your physical self
o Psychological forces: emotions, thoughts, personality, cognitions
Our area of expertise
o Sociocultural forces: contact between people and environment
Families, communities, schools, institutions, history, politics,
socioecononmic status, oppression

Major Schools of Developmental Theory
Psychodynamic: Freud and Erikson
Learning: Watson, Skinner, and Bandura
Cognitive: Piaget and Kohlberg
Ecological and Systems: Bronfenbenner and Lawton and Nahemow

Psychodynamic Theory
Development is determined by how successfully we move through stages
Our past influences our present and future
Eriksons 8 stages (Basic trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame, initiative vs. guilt, industry
vs. inferiority, identity vs. identity confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs.
stagnation, integrity vs. despair

Learning Theory
Development is related to how and what we learn from our environments
o Behaviorism and social learning theory
Bandura: we actively try to make sense out of our world and experiences
What other people do is an important source of information
Self-efficacy: a belief in your own abilities and talents

Cognitive Development
As we develop, the way we think, process, and construct knowledge changes in systematic
Piaget: how kids think about the world and how this changes
Kohlberg & Moral development: how people think through complex decisions

Ecological and Systems Theory
Environment is a potent force in development
We can only understand humans in the context of their environment
All aspects of development are interconnected and must be considered together
Understanding requires considering all factors: environmental, family, political, social, etc.,
and how they interact

Wednesday 9/28/2011

Chapters 4 and 5: Infancy and Very Young Childhood
Piaget: A Researcher of Childhood
Children make sense of the world through schemes(as)
o Mini making structures, they are mental categories for events, objects, and
knowledge. We start to build these schemas in childhood.
o When new experiences fit into existing schemes it is called assimilation
o When schemes have to be modified as a consequence of new experiences, it is called
o Over time, schemes go from physical, to functional, conceptual, to abstract
Children adapt to their environment as they develop by adding and refining their schemes
Disequilibration and equilibration
o Disequilibrium occurs when we are out of balance, thus prompting assimilation or
o Equilibrium is a balance between assimilation and accommodation
o Equilibrium is the process of refining or replacing inadequate schemes with more
advanced and mature schemes
o Equilibration occurs three times during development, resulting in 4 stages of
cognitive development

What does Piaget have to do with counseling?
Your clients will often be in a state of disequilibrium
The world has stopped making sense, they cant make sense of their experiences
Assimilation and/or accommodation is needed
That is where you come in!

Piagets Stages of Cognitive Development
Sensorimotor period (0-2 years)
o Adapt and explore new environment
o Understand objects
o Use symbols to communicate (language)
Preoperational period (2-7 years)
o Egocentrism
o Centration
o What you see is what you get

Fostering Cognitive Development
Piaget offered ideas about how best to promote development
Create environments with lots to explore
Be one step ahead, the + 1
Offer encouragement to think through mistakes and find their own answers

Critique of Piaget
Not all of Piagets theory has held up over time
o Does not consider sociocultural environment in child development
o Underestimating young children while overestimating adolescents
o The HOW of change
Why do we accommodate etc.?
o Does not account for variability in children

Information Processing
This view refers to the mental hardware and software of our minds
o Further processing needed
o Habituation
o Classical condition, operant condition
o Autobiographical memory
o We work with people and their memories about their past experiences

Life as Apprenticeship: Vygotsky
Development occurs through collaboration with others who are more advanced
Guided participation children involved in structured activities that promote growth
(Vygotsky died at an early age which is unfortunate because it would have been nice to see a
more developed theory from him. He learned from others.

Zone of Proximal Development
The +1
Space between what children can achieve alone and what they can achieve with help from a
more advanced other
Work within this to promote growth
o Understanding where a child is and working to develop a +1 experience

Erikson: Psychosocial Development
Described how people develop in stages relating to their world came out of reaction
against Freuds psychosexual stages
Basic trust vs. mistrust (infancy)
o Hope
Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (1-3 years)
o Will
Initiative vs. guilt (3-5 years)
o Purpose

We need each other!
In caveman terms we need each other to survive
Even though we now have modern life, we are still cavemen at heart
Being social and attached has evolutionary advantage
Enduring socioemotional relationships
However doesnt always occur right away with infants

Four Types of Attachment
Secure attachment on the mothers return, the child is comforted, crying stops, and the
child begins to explore again
Avoidant attachment on the mothers return the child ignores or turns away
Resistant attachment the baby is upset and remains upset when mother returns and is
difficult to console
Disorganized attachment the child seems confused and is unsure of reaction

Why is attachment important?
It gives you job security
The quality of attachment in childhood determines relationship in later life with parents
First attachment relationship will lay down the foundation for all later social relationships
Secure attachment will promote trust and confidence in other people
Insecure attachment can interfere will social development, although this can be overcome
Developing secure attachment
o What inspires a secure attachment?
Behavior that instills trust and confidence

Counseling and Attachment
In order for counseling to be successful, you have to have an attachment bond
Important to understand your clients internal working model of attachment is
Work to create a secure attachment with your client

Do you think all people experience the same emotions?
If yes, what are they?
If not, how do we understand emotions?
Basic emotions vs. complex emotions
My list sad, mad, glad, fear, and love
Many theories are developed around the idea of emotions
Emotion-focused therapy is an example which we will learn about next quarter
How do people vary in the way they regulate emotions?
Why do people regulate emotions?
What are the counseling implications of regulating emotions?

Wednesday 10/5/2011

Material from last week:
Unanswered questions from last class
Was Piaget the first?
o Within psychology, it appears that yes, he was the first to systematically study the
development of intelligence/cognitive development.
o Other field and thinkers wrote and thought about the human experience
Is Piaget taught in other countries? Are his theories relevant in other countries?
o Not clear.

Gender stereotypes
o Where do we get these?
Media, our parents, religion, culture in general
o What are their consequences?
o Vary based on culture, ethnicity, race, SES, religion, education
o They represent our biases caution with encouraging a client to go a different
o How accurate are gender stereotypes?
Gender identity
o Sense of ourselves as a male, female, or other
o Incorporate what we think we should be early in life
o Biology, socialization, cultural all play a role
o Can be incongruent with biological sex

Chapters 6 and 7: School Aged Children
Piagets Stages
Advancing along Piagets stages
o Concrete-operational ages 7 to 11
Think in practical, concrete, tangible and real terms
Now have the ability to think systematically
Moving out of egocentrism
o Formal operational ages 11 to adulthood (!)
Can think hypothetically, abstractly
Advanced systematic thinking to solve problems
Metacognition thinking about thinking
o How you interact with clients will vary based on their current stage!

Theories of Intelligence
Many theories
Gardners Theory of Multiple Intelligences
o Linguistic
o Logical-mathematical
o Spatial
o Musical
o Bodily-kinesthetic
Important for our field. Important to express our emotions from the inside
out. What are you feeling in your body right now?
o Interpersonal
Can we detect others emotions
o Intrapersonal
Knowing yourself
o Naturalistic
o Existential
What does this all mean?
You are not on the same level for every intelligence

Emotional Intelligence
Daniel Goleman
o The ability to use ones own and others emotions effectively for solving problems
o Perceiving emotions accurately
o Regulating ones emotions
Read this book! Also wrote a book called social intelligence

Sternbergs Theory of Successful Intelligence
How do people achieve personal goals?
o Analytic ability one analyzes problems and comes up with solutions
o Creative ability involves dealing adaptively with new situations and problems
o Practical ability understanding what will work

Intelligence Testing
Contemporary IQ tests:
o The Stanford Binet V The current (2003) version of Binets test
o The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children 4
edition (WISC-IV)
o The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, 2
edition (K-ABC-II)

Deconstructing Intelligence Class Discussion
Who is labeled intelligent in our society today?
o Achievers, success, status
Who gets to define what intelligence is?
o How good you are in fitting in. Those that fit in define it.
What groups are identified as more intelligent?
o Those that are stereotyped as intelligent in society
What are the factors that may contribute to the labeling of groups?
What are the implications of being labeled at each level of intelligence? Low, average, high
Children with Special Needs
o Exceptional talent high IQ
o Broader definition today that includes music, art, dance
o Research shows gifted children are more mature, have fewer emotional problems
Intellectual disabilities
o Wording . The campaign against the r word
o Causes can be organic, environmental exposure, injury
o Most people with intellectual disabilities have mild or moderate levels and can
function in a variety of ways
Learning disability
o Markedly low performance in at least one area
o Reading, math, language
o Identification is key, instruction can be adjusted
o Child has normal intelligence and is not suffering from other conditions that could
explain poor performance
o Hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity
o Problems in school, with peers, behavior
o More boys than girls 3:1
o Mismatch with environment?
o Positive aspects of ADHD

Primary Caregiving Styles
Wording Use inclusive language
Caregiving can be viewed through the dimension of warmth and responsiveness
o Children of warm caregivers feel secure, happy, and are more well-behaved
o Children of hostile or uninvolved caregivers may be anxious and less controlled
The dimension of control affects parenting effectiveness
o Children of over-controlling parents may feel unable to develop standards of
behavior on their own
A balance of good control, communication, and warmth results in children with an
understanding of what is expected and invites dialogue
Authoritarian is high levels of control and low levels of warmth
Authoritative use moderate amount of control and are warm and responsive to their

Influence of Siblings
Your siblings are your longest relationships!
Interactions between siblings can vary based on gender, age differences, culture, SES
Good relationships between caregivers foster good relationships between siblings
Adoption not a fundamental development challenge
Sibling abuse is very real and very harmful
o Sexual
o Physical
o Emotional

Divorce and Remarriage
50% of first marriages and 75% of second marriages
Loss of a role model more difficult if same gender
High conflict between parents is very stressful
Lower degree of warmth and comfort available
Decreased financial resources
Impact on kids:
o School achievement
o Behavior
o Self-concept
o Parent-child relationship
o Higher rates of divorce as adults
Reduce the impact on kids:
o Parents cooperate and have a civil relationship
o Dont put kids in the middle
o Focus on kids needs
o Kids live with same gender parent

Child Abuse
Several forms of abuse:
o Physical abuse assault leading to physical injuries
o Sexual abuse fondling, intercourse, or other sexual behaviors
o Psychological abuse ridicule, rejection, or humiliation
o Neglect inadequate food, clothing, or medical care
We see the effect of child abuse
We are mandated reporters
Some countries culture does not allow for physical punishment. Countries that have a
culture that allows for spanking have higher rates of maltreatment
The stress of poverty is correlated with abuse as is social isolation
Infants, preschoolers, and frequently ill children are more often abused
Video on child abuse on angel.
When in doubt, report.

What can counselors do?
Reducing physical punishment can help
Maintaining social supports can give parents opportunities for venting and advise
Counseling and parenting skills training can help

Wednesday 10/12/2011

Reading and Analyzing Journal Articles: Counselors as Researchers
Is it important to read and understand research?
Do you think this happens in counseling practice?
The research-to-practice gap
o A huge space between researchers and the practice that is happening
You can have a research voice!
How to read articles
o First, skim the whole thing
o Order of operations:
Introduction and background

Wednesday 10/19/2011

Chapters 8 and 9: Adolescence
Physical Maturation
Rapid growth
o In height, weight, and brain development
Brain development
o Menarch, average age is 13
Heavily influenced by environment
Will start at later age if not well nourished
Depression and chronic stress will lower the age of menarch
Having an involved father will increase age of onset
Women who develop earlier may be more pressured to sexual activity
leading to negative consequences
o Spermach, average age is 13
o Body and body image issues
Anorexia nervosa
Intense fear of gaining weight
Refusal to eat, intense calorie restriction
Often involved with control
People with more restrictive parents, may want to control their
Bulimia nervosa
Overeating and then purging
Some people will fast and then eat a lot and purge
Purging, laxatives, working out
Heredity link
Onsets in childhood and adolescence, carries on to adulthood
High BMI, 1 in 7 children are overweight
Diabetes type II is a problem
Many psychological impacts of obesity low self esteem etc.
Michelle Obama is working on this
o Mood changes
Heavily influenced by environment. With friends you feel better, when in
class/work you may feel worse
o Timing of puberty has impact
Very early/very late makes teenager feel left out/different

Threats to Adolescent Well-Being
Adolescent death is highly correlated with race
Linked to availability of getting a car/having a weapon
Geographical location
Didnt have category for alcohol or drug use, which can increase car crashes and violence
Risk-taking behavior
Illusion of invulnerability
o Consequences
o Motivated by peer perception
o Part biology brain development

Moral Development
Moral does not mean religious
Why does this matter?
o Preconventional: reasoning is based on external forces what will my friends
o Conventional: reasoning is based on societys norms what does society expect me
to do?
o Postconventional: reasoning is based on a personal moral code what is the right
thing to do that will benefit all people?
Critiques of Kohlberg
NOT universal, as he asserted
What is moral varies by culture
Gilligan women work more from the ethic of care rather than the ethic of justice
o Kohlberg just studies men and Carol Gilligan critiqued it greatly
Promoting moral development
o Exposure to higher ways of thinking
o Explain others perspectives

Identity Development
These years are about experimentation
This is a trial run for adulthood. Who do I want to be?
It is hard to be a teen
o Egocentrism
o Imaginary audience
o Personal fable
Im the only one that has been through this
o Illusion of invulnerability
Parents play an important role

Identity Development Models
A third of adolescents are of members of ethnic/racial minority groups
Racial identity pertains to the degree and quality of identification individuals maintain
towards those with whom they share a common racial designation (Helms, 1993).
Racial identity development is the process of acquiring awareness and appreciation of ones
own race and acceptance
Sue and Sues Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model
o Conformity: preference for the dominant culture
o Dissonance: person challenges previously held beliefs and attitudes
o Resistance and immersion: person endorses minority held views and rejects
dominant values of society and culture
o Introspection: person recognizes unhealthiness of resistance and immersion stages
o Integrative awareness: person has a balanced appreciation of own and others
Helms White Racial Identity Development Model
o Contact: oblivious of own racial identity
o Disintegration: conflict over contradictions between beliefs and behaviors
o Reintegration: retreat to previous attitudes about superiority of Whites and the
inferiority of people of color
o Pseudo-Independence: intellectualized acceptance of own and others race
o Immersion/Emersion: honest appraisal of racism and significance of Whiteness
o Autonomy: internalization of a multicultural identity with non-racist Whiteness as
its core

Immigration and Identity
Likely to have strong identity from native culture
May not immediately identify with new culture
Learning about culture and how to navigate it all at once may be overwhelming
Explore what it means to be a member of another culture and yet here now
Support, education about system

Romance and Sex (not always the same)
Relationships become more common
Culture affects dating patterns
Building patterns for the future
Serious early dating can be related to problem behavior
End of high school, 2/3 of teens have had sex
More likely when dont feel close to parents
Girls associate it with love, boys with casual dating
o STDs
o Pregnancy
o Contraception

Sexual Identity Development
Male same-sex attraction seems to begin earlier, may be more predictable pattern
Female same-sex attraction seems to begin with a specific relationship
Discrimination is a huge issue for gay and lesbian teens
o Substance abuse
o Suicide
o Violence
o Mental health problems

Sexual Victimization
25% of women will be sexually assaulted by college years
Risk factors:
o Alcohol
o Traditional gender stereotypes
o Witness to violence in the home
o Clear sexual policy that is communicated
o Avoid alcohol
o Caution
o Fight!

Adolescent Drug Use
Half of all teens had alcohol in last month
Experimentation is normal as part of this stage
More likely to drink when
o Parents drink more
o Peers and friends approve
o Under stress
Age of fist drink is related to rate of alcoholism
Prevention of problems is critical!

Adolescent Depression
Pervasive feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness
More common in females
Manifests differently between males and females
Often begins with an event
Global negative attributions

Wednesday 10/26/2011
Online Class, No lecture Notes

Wednesday 11/2/2011

Chapters 10 and 11: Young Adulthood
Relationships: A Central Challenge of Life
Our relationships wit others are the most important things we do in life
At the end of life, most people will say that is what life is all about what makes life
These can be life-affirming or life-diminishing over time

The Role of Identity in Love
If you dont know yourself, you are set up for a challenge in love relationships
If you dont love yourself, you are set up for a challenge in relationships
Strong sense of identity is a key component in successful relationships
The younger you marry, the higher the risk of divorce

Love, Love, Love Is All Around
Infatuation and limerance: the craziness of falling love
o Limerance is the term for falling in love, how cool!
o High passion, low commitment and intimacy
o Love is blind
o Physically based, physiologically wired you are on drugs!
o Potential for hurt is high because you are so amped up
o One of the best feelings in life!! If it wasnt, we wouldnt do it.
o Evolutions trick for getting us to have babies

Erikson: mature relationships are not possible without intimacy
What is intimacy?
Emotional connection based on close personal association and being together
Dialogue, transparency, vulnerability, reciprocity
Emotional and interpersonal awareness in all parties

Settling into Commitment . How lovely!
Moving into commitment and intimacy
o As passion fades, something else has to take over or the relationship will burn out
Assertive mating tendency to select potential partners who are similar to you
o Common values
o Common interests
o Common goals
Healthy people tend to end up with healthy people and vice versa! Check yourself!

Cultural Differences in Selecting Partners
Sought after characteristics differ based on culture
o Traditional vs. Westernized values
o Degree of value placed on education, intelligence, status
o Personality characteristics
o What is valued varies, however having a stable, secure romantic relationships seems
to be consistently desired across cultures
o What does this say about our shared caveman needs?

Many Versions of Partnerships
There are many ways to be together and all can work
o Various gender combinations
o Various levels of openness to relationships
o Various numbers of people involved
o Cohabitation
o Marriage
What are you biases here?

Gay and Lesbian Relationships
Research on this population is terribly lacking
Many of the same factors contribute to successful relationships as straight relationships
Higher levels of stress due to oppression and stigma
o Less family support overall
o Less availability of societys support through marriage
o Lack of legal recognition causes many challenges

Who Makes It and Why?
Successful relationships share common characteristics
o Maturity evel of individuals at time of marriage (related to identity)
o Similarity of values, goals, interests (homogamy)
o Relative feelings of equity

Who Doesnt Make it and Why?
50% of first time marriages end in divorce, 75% of second marriages
Infidelity is the #1 reason, but might need to look deeper
Addictions, incompatibility, growing apart
How couples handle conflict is central
Johns Gottmans research

Wednesday 11/9/2011

Chapters 12 and 13: Middle Adulthood
Relationships Revisited
Unique challenges for same-sex couples
What issues might come up in a counseling session with Gita?
How would you work with Gita at a micro, meso, and macro level?

Occupations, Work, Careers, and Jobs
Work can be both satisfying and frustrating at different times and al at the same time
There are many ways our work can affect us and our clients

Selecting Work and Careers
Why did you decide to become a counselor?
What and who influenced your choice?
How have your specific set of demographics (gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age,
etc.) influenced your decision?
How do you think your specific set of demographics may influence your work life?
We dont select career paths in a vacuum
Socio-cultural factors come into play
Women and people of color are underrepresented in STEM careers (science, technology,
engineering, and math)
o Stereotype threat: a fear of being judged based on negative stereotypes that exist
about the group in which you belong
Gender, ethnicity and age may create barriers to achieving ones occupational goals
o From book, not okay!

Discrimination at Work
What do you do as a counselor?
o Identify and name what is happening
o Seek out and understand organization policies
o Seek out others who have had similar experiences
o Find support and mentoring within the organization if possible, outside if not
o Develop strategies to fight and to take care of self

Stress and Burnout in Counseling
Compassion fatigue
o Deep physical, emotional, spiritual exhaustion accompanied by acute emotional pain
o Working with suffering particularly trauma
o NOT just burnout, also
Difficulties dealing with work
Gradual onset
Too heavy of a workload
You make little difference
o Secondary PTSD

Wednesday 11/16/2011
No Notes

Wednesday 11/30/2011

Chapters 14, 15, and 16: Late Adulthood
Grief: a complex emotion that encompasses sorrow, hurt, anger, guilt, confusion, and other
feelings that arise after suffering the loss
Anticipatory grief: grieving that is done prior to the physical death of a loved one. Most
frequently occurs with a long illness such as cancer, Alzheimers, etc.
Acute grief: the phase of grief that typically occurs from the time of death through the first
twelve months after the death
Pathological or complicated grief: unresolved grief after a reasonable length of time (two
years or more). Grief that leads to clinical depression and/or suicidal ideation.
Bereavement: the state or condition caused by loss through death
Mourning: the public expression of loss. The ritual we use to honor our dead and share our
pain of loss. Mourning traditions and rituals are cultural specific.

Stages of Grief: Kubler-Ross
Denial: shock and disbelief. I am fine. This cannot be happening. A temporary defense
against the pain of loss.
Anger: hostility and resentment. Why me? This is not fair! Person realizes the denial cant
continue. Can be full of extreme rage and difficult to be around.
Bargaining: looking for a way out, hope that the situation can change if the correct action is
take. I would give my life if my loved one could just come back.
Depression: no longer able to deny, individuals experience the sadness and loss. I am so sad,
nothing matters. I miss my loved one, why go on?
Acceptance: acceptance of the inevitability of death with peace and detachment. It is going
to be okay. Coming to terms with the reality of the loss and the necessity to continue living.
Though not all people experience all stages in the same order, discussion of death helps to
move toward acceptance.

Working Through Grief
People must do several things during grief
o Acknowledge the realty of the loss
o Work through the emotional turmoil
o Adjust to the environment where the deceased is absent
o Loosen the ties to the deceased

Working with Grieving Clients
It is important to remember that grief is a PROCESS not an event. We must avoid several
The year of firsts
o Anniversaries
o Birthdays
o Holidays
o Anniversary of the death
o Other special events
Help them process the loss
o Let them talk about the loss: when, where, how all the circumstances
o Be patient: may tell the same story multiple times. Allow them to repeat themselves.
Provide them the psychological time and space they need to grieve fully.
Normalize their behavior, thoughts, feelings
Watch for dangerous or unhealthy coping skills
o Substance use/abuse
o Sex, gambling, over eating, over sleeping etc.
o Help them build healthy coping skills
o Kelp client strengthen their support network
Things to avoid:
o Platitudes
Be thankful you have another child.
It is probably for the best.
At least he is out of pain.
Do not say I understand or I know how you feel
Rushing someone through the discussion because YOU are uncomfortable