Human Growth and Development Part 2

Human Growth and Development (Part 2)

8. Lifespan Theories: Individual

Various theorists have proposed that human development involves accomplishing specific tasks or reaching milestones. These milestones mark progress and maturity, leading to higher levels of development. In this section, we explore the developmental perspectives of Gesell, Havighurst, Gould, Peck, and Levinson, as well as the unique developmental considerations for women and individuals from different generations.

8.1. The Developmental Milestone Approach of Arnold Gesell

Arnold Gesell, a psychologist and pediatrician, emphasized the genetic and maturational factors in human development. He created the Gesell scales to assess developmental progress, providing norms for important milestones in physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional domains.

Gesell’s Developmental Milestones.

PeriodPhysical and cognitiveLanguage and personal–social
Birth to 6 monthsSucking reflex; organized sleep cycle; can lift head, roll over, and reach objects; hearing and depth perception develop; repeats pleasurable behaviors; displays object permanenceDifferential crying; social smile and laughter; cooing and babbling; expresses most basic of emotions (e.g., happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, and interest); imitates adult expressions
7 to 12 monthsCan sit up, crawl, and walk; pincer grasp; more advanced depth perception; goal-directed behavior; finds hidden objects; recall of people, places, and thingsSounds of spoken language; gestures (pointing); stranger and separation anxiety; attachment to caregiver; more intense displays of emotions
13 to 18 monthsCoordinated walking; scribbling; stacks cubes two to three high; trial-and- error experimentation; climbs stairs; throws objectsCan play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake; speaks first words; points to desired objects; recognizes self in mirror; signs of empathy and compliance; vocabulary may reach 50 words
19 to 24 monthsRuns, jumps, and climbs; builds four-or-five-block towerVocabulary consists of approximately 200 words; three-to-fourword sentences; parallel play; takes turns and cooperates; uses language for emotional selfregulation; begins to display self-control.
3 to 5 yearsIncreasing skill in running, jumping, climbing, throwing, and catching; completely toilet-trained; can stand on one footMake-believe play; vocabulary of several thousand words; gender identity and self-concept developing; cooperative play emerges
6 to 11 yearsGrowth slows; gross motor skills and coordination improve substantially; handwriting becomes smaller and more legible; reaction time improves; thinking becomes more logical; attention is more focused and activity more deliberate; memory improves.Dominance hierarchies become stable; vocabulary and grammar improve; awareness of double meanings leads to advances in humor and flexibility; emotional selfregulation; friendships and peer groups.
AdolescencePubertal growth spurt and sexual maturation; secondary sex characteristics develop; complex problem solving; formal operational reasoningUse of abstract words; complex grammar and writing; increased time spent with peers; intimacy and loyalty in friendships; peer pressure to conform; cliques; identity and sexual behavior

8.2. Robert Havighurst’s Developmental Task Approach

Robert Havighurst, an American professor and aging expert, identified a series of developmental tasks that individuals accomplish throughout their lifespan. These tasks contribute to their personal growth and sense of mastery. While early tasks have biological foundations, later tasks are influenced by social and cultural factors.

I. Developmental Tasks of Infancy and Early Childhood

  1. Learning to walk
  2. Learning to take solid foods
  3. Learning to talk
  4. Learning to control the elimination of body wastes
  5. Learning sex differences and sexual modesty
  6. Forming concepts and learning language to describe social and physical reality
  7. Getting ready to read
  8. Learning to distinguish right and wrong and beginning to develop a conscience

II. Developmental Tasks of Middle Childhood

  1. Learning physical skills necessary for ordinary games
  2. Building wholesome attitudes toward oneself as a growing organism
  3. Learning to get along with age-mates
  4. Learning an appropriate masculine or feminine social role
  5. Developing fundamental skills in reading, writing, and calculating
  6. Developing concepts necessary for everyday living
  7. Developing conscience, morality, and a scale of values
  8. Achieving personal independence
  9. Developing attitudes toward social groups and institutions

III. Developmental Tasks of Adolescence

  1. Achieving new and more mature relations with age-mates of both sexes
  2. Achieving a more masculine or feminine social role
  3. Accepting one’s physique and using the body effectively
  4. Achieving emotional independence of parents and other adults
  5. Preparing for marriage and family life
  6. Preparing for an economic career
  7. Acquiring a set of values and an ethical system as a guide to behavior—developing an ideology
  8. Desiring and achieving socially responsible behavior

IV. Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood

  1. Selecting a mate
  2. Learning to live with a marriage partner
  3. Starting a family
  4. Rearing children
  5. Managing a home
  6. Getting started in an occupation
  7. Taking on civic responsibility
  8. Finding a congenial social group

V. Developmental Tasks of Middle Age

  1. Assisting teenage children to become responsible and happy adults
  2. Achieving adult social and civic responsibility
  3. Reaching and maintaining satisfactory performance in one’s occupational career
  4. Developing adult leisure-time activities
  5. Relating oneself to one’s spouse as a person
  6. Accepting and adjusting to the physiological changes of middle age

VI. Developmental Tasks of Late Maturity

  1. Adjusting to decreasing physical strength and health
  2. Adjusting to retirement and reduced income
  3. Adjusting to death of a spouse
  4. Establishing an explicit affiliation with one’s age group
  5. Adopting and adapting social roles in a flexible way
  6. Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements

8.3. Roger Gould’s Adult Developmental Theory

Roger Gould, an American psychiatrist and writer, conducted a study involving over 1,000 adults. He found that these individuals aimed to overcome false assumptions, particularly those related to parental dependency, which hindered their personal growth in young and middle adulthood. Gould viewed adult development as a process of resolving tasks, enabling individuals to challenge these false assumptions and regain control over their lives.

I. Young Adulthood

  1. Leaving Our Parents’ World (16–22 years): “Adults will always live with their parents.”
  2. I’m Nobody’s Baby Now (22–28 years): “My parents will always be there to help when things go wrong or not exactly as I want.”
  3. Opening Up to What’s Inside (29 years to low 30s): “My parents can always offer a simplified version and solution to complicated inner realities.”

II. Midlife Decade (35–45 years)

  1. “Safety can last forever.”
  2. “Death cannot happen to me or my loved ones.”
  3. “It is impossible to live without a partner in the world.”
  4. “No life or change exists beyond the family.”

8.4. Robert Peck’s Phase Theory of Adult Development

Robert Peck, a prominent researcher in human development, focused on various aspects such as coping skills, motivation, career competence, moral behavior, and teacher effectiveness. He specifically expanded on the last two stages of Erikson’s stages, which correspond to the later years of adulthood (around 40-50 years).

I. Phases of Middle Adult Psychological Changes

  1. Valuing Wisdom vs. Valuing Physical Powers. A decrease in physical strength, stamina, and attractiveness leads individuals to value wisdom, the judgmental powers that emerge from successful lived experiences.
  2. Socializing vs. Sexualizing. Sex is replaced by empathy, understanding, and compassion.
  3. Cathetic Flexibility vs. Cathetic Impoverishment. Individuals must develop the capacity to shift emotional energies from one person or activity to another in order to deal with losses they will encounter in the future.

II. Phases of the Retirement Years Psychological Development

  1. Ego Differentiation vs. Work-Role Preoccupation. Individuals must adapt and learn to define their personal worth in ways other than a full-time occupation. Thus, planning for retirement becomes crucial.
  2. Body Transcendence vs. Body Preoccupation. Physical decline is experienced. Some may become preoccupied with symptoms, whereas others pursue satisfying relationships and creative mental activities.
  3. Ego Transcendence vs. Ego Preoccupation. Individuals attempt to make life more secure and meaningful for those who survive them.

8.5. Daniel Levinson’s Adult Male Development Theory

Daniel Levinson, an American researcher, examined the development of adult males and proposed a theory that combines tasks and stages. He observed that men create life structures characterized by periods of stability and growth, which are followed by transitional periods that facilitate their progression to higher levels of maturity in life structures.

I. Novice Phase

  1. Early Adult Transition (17–22 years) Terminate the adolescent life structure and develop job skills to live in the adult world.
  2. Entering the Adult World (22–28 years). Test initial life structure and lifestyle while comparing personal values to adult societal values.
  3. Age 30 Transition. Reassessment of the young adult life structure to make changes before fully joining the adult world.

II. The Settling Down Phase

  1. Early Settling Down. Establishing a niche in society.
  2. Becoming One’s Own Man (BOOM). Men work at advancement and strive to succeed.

III. Midlife Transition (40–45 years)

Men assess their successes and failures in meeting the goals set in the previous phase, experiencing satisfaction with successes while building motivation to use their remaining life wisely.

IV. Entering Middle Adulthood (45–50 years)

Several polarities arise from individuation (i.e., a person’s relationship to himself and the external world), including the young–old polarity, mortality–generativity polarity, and masculine–feminine polarity.

V. Age 50 Transition

More individuation occurs, and this transition can be an especially difficult one for those not conducting the necessary preparations.

VI. Building a Second Middle Adult Structure (55–60 years)

Progress is made toward new goals and aspirations; a time of rejuvenation and enrichment.

VII. Late Adult Transition (60–65 years)

Men experience changing physical and mental capacities and a sense of mortality as they experience decreasing physical vitality and experience losses.

VIII. Late Adulthood (65+ years)

Pursuit of enjoyable and rewarding past times in retirement, preparation for own death, concern over the fate of family and humanity, and reaching ultimate involvement with self.

8.6. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model

Uri Bronfenbrenner introduced a systems perspective that examines the interactions between individuals and their environments. He identified various social structures, including the microsystem (e.g., families), mesosystem (e.g., communities), exosystem (e.g., local and global economies), macrosystem (e.g., political organizations), and chronosystem (e.g., historical eras), which collectively shape human development.

8.7. Women’s Development

Theories of human development have faced criticism for their gender specificity, male-centeredness, and lack of consideration for femininity. Several scholars have offered diverse perspectives on women’s development, although no comprehensive theory has gained widespread support.

  • Carol Tavris (1992) challenged societal judgments of women based on their conformity to a male-dominated world, arguing that American society pathologizes women.
  • Carol Gilligan (2016) highlighted the differences in communication patterns between women and men, and emphasized that women are often socialized to be dependent caregivers rather than independent individuals.
  • Gail Sheehy (1984) explored the predictable crises that women encounter during transitional periods in adulthood, emphasizing the potential for positive transformations.

8.8. Generational Considerations in Human Development

Generations are groups of individuals defined by their birth years and historical context, shaping their shared experiences and collective identities. The United States has seen the emergence of multiple generations, each with unique characteristics and influences. Here is a summary of the living generations in the U.S.:

  • Silent Generation (Traditionalists): Born before 1945, they experienced the Great Depression, emphasizing financial security, comfort, and a sense of purpose.
  • Baby Boomer Generation: Born between 1946 and 1964, they are known for a strong work ethic, competitiveness, resourcefulness, goal-oriented mindset, and self-confidence.
  • Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1984, they grew up with reduced adult supervision (e.g., latchkey generation) and witnessed increased parental divorce. Initially viewed as cynical slackers, they now seek work-life balance and prioritize happiness and engagement.
  • Millennials (Generation Y): Born between 1985 and 2004, they came of age in the digital era and were exposed to media coverage of terrorism and school shootings. They had busy schedules and are technologically proficient.
  • Generation Z: Born between 2005 and 2024, they are globally connected, tech-savvy, socially conscious, and visually oriented. Generation Z is expected to be highly educated and sophisticated.

These generational categories offer insights into the values, experiences, and behaviors that shape each cohort.

9. Family Development and Issues

Family development typically follows a predictable pattern, but the diversity of modern family structures and sociocultural factors can lead to significant variations. In this section, we explore the stages of family development, the impact of parenting, divorce and remarriage, maternal employment, and the effects of abuse on family dynamics.

9.1. Family Development

Family development progresses through distinct stages, each marked by significant life decisions and events that shape the family’s responsibilities and dynamics. Here are the stages of family development:

I. Independent Living

Young adults venture into self-sufficiency, assuming financial and emotional responsibilities. This stage influences future decisions on marriage and sets the foundation for personal identity and close relationships.

II. Establishing Marital Union

Adults commit to creating a new family system, integrating their respective families and redefining relationships with extended family members.

III. Nurturing Parenthood

The couple welcomes children into their family, adjusting the marital relationship and sharing responsibilities of raising children. The extended family plays a role in supporting the new parents.

IV. Guiding Adolescents

Family boundaries become more flexible as children navigate adolescence. The couple focuses on midlife transitions, career advancements, and addressing the needs of aging parents. The diverse nature of families is reflected in the various ways they handle these stages.

V. Launching Children

Parents adapt to the departure of adult children and the addition of their partners and grandchildren. They adjust the marital relationship and establish new connections with their adult children and extended family.

VI. Later Life

Couples embrace changing roles as they age, accommodating generational shifts and physical changes. They support their adult children’s leadership in the family while respecting the wisdom of aging parents. Coping with losses, such as the death of loved ones, becomes a part of this stage.

Throughout these stages, families evolve and adapt, facing unique challenges and joys in their journey of development.

9.2. Parenting Influences

Parents have significant influence on the social development of children, which can also shape their own personality traits. Parenting styles are often classified based on two dimensions: permissiveness-control and warmth-hostility.

Parenting Styles

StyleFeaturesChildren’s outcomes
Authoritarian(Called autocratic in the extreme manifestation) parents are restrictive and lack outward expressions of warmth. They exert control over children, often through physical punishment, and require adherence to absolute standards of behavior and life choices.Children reared by authoritarian parents are often either submissive or rebellious and, typically, have lower levels of achievement and responsibility.
Authoritative(Sometimes called democratic or egalitarian) parents display moderate control and explain the reasoning behind their decisions in order to help children understand the important factors that go into governing behavior and decision making.These children tend to have the best outcomes, becoming independent, assertive, and responsible.
Permissive(Sometimes called laissez faire) parents display little control and, at most, moderate warmth.Usually, children reared by these parents are self centered, aggressive, low achieving, and lack social responsibility.
Uninvolved(Sometimes called unengaged) parents show little if any interest in their children and are indifferent or rejecting toward them. In the extreme, uninvolved parenting constitutes neglect and should be reported to Child Protective Services.Children reared by uninvolved parents fare the worst of all parental styles; with no support or guidance, children are left to essentially raise themselves.

9.3. Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage

Separation is the legal process of living separate lives while remaining married, preceding divorce, which is the formal termination of a marriage. Annulment is the voiding of a marriage. Causes of divorce include infidelity, irreconcilable differences, abuse, financial issues, mood disorders, conflicts in parenting, communication problems, sexual incompatibility, and differing gender role expectations. Rich identified four phases of divorce: shock and disbelief, initial adjustment, active reorganization, and life reformation. 

  • Shock and disbelief: Counselors can help clients talk about issues and reality testing.
  • Initial adjustment: Can include practical adjustments to the first set of changes triggered by divorce, such as moving, family changes, and legal proceedings.
  • Active reorganization: Occurs after finalization of legal proceedings and involves connecting with new individuals for socialization, be it friends or perhaps a new romantic interest.
  • Life reformation: Accepting and integrating one’s former and current lives.

Children may experience changes in behavior, mental health issues, and academic difficulties due to divorce. Counselors should monitor and address these concerns.

Approximately 50% of first marriages end in divorce. Remarriage is common, with 75-80% of divorced adults entering into a new marriage. However, second marriages have a divorce rate of around 60%, while third marriages and subsequent marriages have even higher divorce rates. It is worth noting that women generally perceive divorce as more stressful but tend to adjust better psychologically compared to men.

Historically, divorce was often attributed to issues like abuse, alcoholism, and nonsupport. However, in recent years, reasons for divorce are more likely to be cited as incompatibility, poor communication, and unfulfilled life goals.

Single-parent households are predominantly headed by females, accounting for about 85% of such households. Financial problems are commonly identified as a major stressor in single-parent families. Single parents often face challenges in terms of time, patience, and consistent discipline styles. Noncustodial fathers may initially be more permissive but frequently struggle with maintaining visitation arrangements and child support payments.

Children of divorce face various difficulties, but the negative impact can be minimized if parents demonstrate cooperation, psychological health, empathy, and open communication with their children. Recent research suggests that the negative outcomes of divorce are similar to those experienced by children in high-conflict families where the parents are not divorced. This suggests that ongoing parental conflict, rather than the single-parent family structure, may be more responsible for negative outcomes.

9.4 Maternal Employment

Women make up about 45% of the U.S. workforce, but they often face job limitations due to childcare responsibilities. Approximately 61% of women in two-parent families are employed. On average, women still receive lower pay than men for the same job, except for those who have chosen not to have children. Working mothers tend to experience higher life satisfaction, less stress, and lower levels of depression compared to non-working women. However, they may have concerns about balancing work and family responsibilities. Marital satisfaction is not significantly different between working and non-working mothers, unless the spouse opposes maternal employment. The impact of maternal employment on children suggests that quality daycare can mitigate negative effects and may even offer socialization and intellectual benefits.

9.5. Abuse

Child abuse encompasses harm to individuals under 18 years of age, resulting from exploitation, neglect, or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defines additional forms of abuse, including caregiver inaction in preventing harm or death to a minor. Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse is required for professional counselors.

  • Neglect: This prevalent form of abuse involves the failure to meet a child’s physical, medical, educational, or emotional needs. It can manifest as inadequate food, housing, care, supervision, medical treatment, education, or emotional support. Financial limitations are distinguished from intentional neglect.
  • Physical Abuse: This type of abuse causes injury and harm through actions such as bruising, fractures, burns, cuts, shaking, hitting, asphyxiation, and genital mutilation. Any injury to a child, regardless of motive, is considered abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse encompasses any sexual activity involving a child, even without direct physical contact. It includes exposure, pornography, genital touching, intercourse, assault, sodomy, and exploitation through prostitution or pornography.
  • Statistics: Abuse affects both genders equally, and approximately 55% of victims are under the age of 8. Shockingly, about 80% of known child abusers are parents.

Maintaining the structure, the information has been condensed while preserving the key points.

9.6. Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abusive behavior used to gain control over an intimate partner. It can occur in various relationships and affects women more often than men.

  • The cycle of violence includes tension buildup, abuse, and a diminishing honeymoon phase.
  • Risk factors for survivors include previous abuse, low self-esteem, lack of social support, and dependence on the abuser.
  • Characteristics of violent relationships include marital strife, male dominance, dysfunctional family dynamics, adherence to traditional gender roles, and a need for control.
  • Consequences for survivors include physical injury, isolation, mental health issues, academic and occupational problems, risky behaviors, and eating disorders.

10. Crisis, Resilience, and Wellness

The counseling profession emphasizes developmental and preventive approaches to personal and social challenges. While the medical model is commonly used for diagnosing mental disorders, counselors also recognize the significance of client resilience and wellness. They intervene in individual and societal crises, employing a holistic perspective.

10.1. Crisis and Crisis Management

A crisis is a time-limited period of disequilibrium that occurs when an individual is faced with a stressor that overwhelms their normal coping abilities, leaving them unable to effectively handle the circumstances. It is important to note that crises can have both negative outcomes and positive opportunities for personal growth. Eric Lindemann, known for his work with survivors of the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire, made significant contributions to the development of crisis models. He emphasized the role of mental health professionals in helping individuals affected by traumatic events to properly grieve and mourn, thereby preventing further mental health complications. Gerard Caplan expanded on Lindemann’s work by applying principles of public health and preventive psychiatry.

During a crisis, individuals experience intense distress, where their usual stress management and problem-solving skills are insufficient for the situation. The perceived or actual stressors outweigh the available resources. While crises are typically short-term in nature, traumas involve longer-term crises with no resolution or balance between stressors and available resources.

There are five types of crises that have been identified:

  • Developmental crises: These are caused by normal life experiences such as career changes or the birth of a child.
  • Environmental crises: They arise from natural or human-caused events that impact a larger group of people, such as hurricanes or war.
  • Existential crises: These occur when individuals question the purpose and meaning of their own lives and existence.
  • Situational crises: They are triggered by sudden and traumatic events like rape, accidents, or the loss of a loved one.
  • Psychiatric crises: These are linked to mental health or substance use issues such as psychosis or drug abuse.

James and Gilliland’s six-step model for crisis assessment and intervention includes:

  1. Define the problem: Understand the client’s perception of the crisis and its severity.
  2. Ensure client safety: Prioritize the safety of the client and others involved.
  3. Provide support: Offer empathy and unconditional positive regard.
  4. Examine alternatives: Help the client explore different options and make decisions.
  5. Make plans: Collaborate on a plan of action, involving support systems and positive behaviors.
  6. Obtain commitment: Ensure the client’s commitment to the plan for moving forward.

These steps guide counselors in addressing client needs and promoting effective crisis resolution.

Hill proposed the ABC-X model to explain family crisis and stress. The model includes: (A) a stressor/event that triggers the crisis; (B) family resources to cope with the stressor; (C) the meaning assigned to the stressor/event; and (X) the crisis itself, characterized by family disequilibrium and immobilization.

There are several important terms related to crisis management:

  • Transcrisis: This occurs when an initial crisis is not fully resolved and becomes suppressed in a client’s subconscious. Subsequent similar events can trigger these underlying feelings.
  • Burnout: Burnout is a state of exhaustion caused by repeated exposure to stressful circumstances. It can result in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Crisis counselors, due to their exposure to stressful client situations, may experience burnout as their usual coping mechanisms may not be sufficient.
  • Compassion fatigue: Also known as secondary traumatic stress reaction, compassion fatigue affects helping professionals who are exposed to clients’ crisis states and their pain and suffering. It can lead to feelings of hopelessness, decreased pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, and a negative attitude.
  • Vicarious trauma: Vicarious trauma is a stress reaction that occurs when a crisis counselor is exposed to client disclosures of traumatic events. It not only causes a secondary traumatic reaction but can also impact the counselor’s worldview and sense of self. Counselors experiencing vicarious trauma may undergo long-term and pervasive attitudinal shifts.

Suicide is a critical issue that counselors often encounter. To ensure appropriate care, counselors must use reliable interventions and exercise foresight based on a comprehensive risk assessment. Neglecting thorough assessment falls below the expected standard of care. Warning signs of suicide can be remembered with the mnemonic IS PATH WARM: Ideation, Substance abuse, Purposelessness, Anxiety, Trapped, Hopelessness, Withdrawal, Anger, Recklessness, and Mood change. The SLAP acronym helps counselors assess specific details of the plan, plan lethality, method availability, and proximity to help. It’s important to note that standardized assessments may not fully capture the risk if clients provide untruthful responses.

Professional counselors should take the following steps when working with suicidal clients:

  1. Conduct a thorough assessment to determine the level of risk and immediate danger to the client. If the client is at high risk and in immediate danger, hospitalization in the least restrictive environment may be necessary. Factors to consider include the specificity and duration of suicidal intent, active planning, and the presence of a highly lethal suicide plan.
  2. Ensure the safety of the client by removing any means of self-harm and restricting access to harmful methods. Create a safe environment for the client until the risk has subsided.
  3. In cases of extreme risk and non-cooperation, involuntary hospitalization may be required. Voluntary hospitalization is an option when the client agrees to seek treatment in a care facility.
  4. For less severe cases with lower levels of intent, counselors can assist clients in establishing a support system within their social network. This can include regular check-ins to minimize isolation. Additionally, counselors may engage the client in a no suicide contract, where the client agrees to reach out to a suicide hotline or other support source if suicidal thoughts or distress increase. It is important to ensure that clients fully understand the contract and are committed to following through.

Remember, working with suicidal clients requires sensitivity, adherence to ethical guidelines, and collaboration with other mental health professionals when necessary.

10.2. Risk and Resiliency Factors

Risk factors are characteristics that increase the likelihood of mental disorders, academic problems, or personal-social difficulties in students and clients. Multiple risk factors have a greater impact on risk status than a single factor. While risk factors can be useful in prevention and intervention, assessing resiliency factors is often more important. Resiliency factors enable individuals to bounce back from adversity and maintain positive functioning. The Search Institute identified 40 developmental assets organized into eight categories, providing counselors with a resilience-based approach to counseling.

Resiliency Factors

Support1. family support2. positive family communications3. other adult relationships4. caring neighborhood5. caring school climate6. parent involvement in schooling
Empowerment7. community values youth8. youth as resources9. service to others10. safety
Boundaries and Expectations11. family boundaries12. school boundaries13. neighborhood boundaries14. adult role models15. positive peer influence16. high expectations
Constructive Use of Time17. creative activities18. youth programs19. religious community20. time at home
Commitment to Learning21. achievement motivation22. school engagement23. homework24. bonding to school25. reading for pleasure
Positive Values26. caring27. equality and social justice28. integrity29. honesty30. responsibility31. restraint
Social Competence32. planning and decision making33. interpersonal competence34. cultural competence35. resistance skills36. peaceful conflict resolution
Positive Identity37. personal power38. self-esteem39. sense of purpose40. positive view of personal future

10.3. Responding to Crises

Professional counselors are crucial in crisis teams, which respond to events that disrupt individuals’ coping mechanisms. Individual trauma refers to personal coping, while collective trauma refers to community-wide reactions. Crisis teams consist of professionals from various fields trained to assist those in crisis. After a traumatic event, people often experience decreased psychological functioning, highlighting the importance of counselors being available to help individuals recover in both local and widespread crises.

  • Psychological first aid (PFA) is a method used during crises to address individuals’ survival and psychological needs. Professional counselors provide essential support by meeting basic needs, employing counseling skills, and facilitating contact with friends and family to alleviate loneliness.
  • The Stafford Act enables the U.S. president to mobilize federal resources for natural disaster-affected areas, including mental health support. The Crisis Counseling Training and Assistance Program (CCP) conducted by FEMA focuses on identifying problems, utilizing available resources, reducing disorder, aiding adjustment, providing support, and educating individuals about crisis reactions and seeking further assistance.
  • Various counseling approaches, such as client-centered counseling, existential counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and play therapy for children, can effectively help crisis victims. Early intervention is crucial regardless of the approach used.

10.4. Trauma Counseling

Trauma can result from a single event or a prolonged stressful situation, causing individuals to feel overwhelmed and lose control, leading to a sense of helplessness and questioning of purpose.

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms can occur in both primary and secondary victims. Primary victims directly experience the trauma, while secondary victims, such as bystanders, are affected indirectly. The DSM-5 outlines symptoms of PTSD, including hypervigilance, sleep disturbances, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, numbness, memory problems, avoidance of trauma reminders, mood changes, and difficulties with concentration. These symptoms typically manifest shortly after the trauma and persist for over a month.

Judith Herman’s three-phase model for healing from psychological trauma involves ongoing processes that integrate into one’s life:

  • Establishing safety: This phase focuses on diagnosis, empowering the client, and providing opportunities for prevention and treatment. It addresses complex PTSD symptoms and emphasizes reducing isolation, ensuring physical well-being, and creating a safety plan. The counselor should convey that trauma treatment is a longer process requiring extended work and encompassing various aspects of the individual.
  • Remembrance and mourning: The client collaborates with the counselor to recount the trauma, making it more grounded in reality and less surreal. The client maintains control and monitors bodily symptoms. Proper techniques and medications may be utilized for trauma-related symptoms. It is important to shift the survivor’s focus from seeking revenge or resistance to mourning and healing.
  • Reconnecting with ordinary life: This phase involves the survivor reintegrating into a regular existence and finding purpose in the new normal. Participation in interpersonal relationship and future-focused groups, as well as engagement in outreach and advocacy, can be beneficial for the client’s reconnection process.

10.5. Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution involves seeking resolution to interpersonal differences through negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and arbitration, aiming to minimize the risk of violence. The ideal outcome is a win-win situation that benefits both parties. Different forms of conflict resolution include:

  • Negotiation

Involves compromise and can take various forms such as power negotiations, rights negotiations, interest-based negotiations, and transformation-based negotiations that focus on empowerment and recognition.

  • Mediation

Utilizes an objective, uninvolved person to assist with conflict resolution, helping individuals determine desires and find mutually beneficial solutions. It can be voluntary or court-mandated.

  • Facilitation

Uses counseling-related skills, particularly in group settings, to analyze conflicts, find compromises and solutions, and foster commitment among individuals.

  • Arbitration

Involves a third party making binding or nonbinding decisions to resolve conflicts for the involved individuals.

  • Med-arb

Combines mediation and arbitration, with the objective individual listening to both sides, incorporating mediation techniques, and allowing individuals to make the final decision. It is commonly used in divorce or child custody cases.

Counselors should tailor their approach to each situation, as not every form or technique will be suitable for every client.

10.6. Peer Mediation

Peer mediation, commonly utilized in schools, involves an unbiased third party who assists individuals in negotiating, compromising, and problem-solving when conflicts arise. The aim of peer mediation is to enhance students’ conflict resolution skills.

  • The process of peer mediation involves three stages
  1. Making operational decisions, 
  2. Introducing the program to stakeholders (e.g., faculty and staff), and 
  3. Gaining support for its implementation. Peer mediation shares similarities with mediation, where individuals come together to alleviate conflict between two parties.
  • The steps in peer mediation are as follows:
  1. Create a safe environment for each party to express their perspectives on the issue.
  2. Encourage all individuals to identify the central problem and seek common ground.
  3. Collaboratively develop multiple solutions to the problem, explaining the rationale behind each option.
  4. Facilitate an understanding of each person’s viewpoint.
  5. Assist individuals in reaching a compromise solution and obtain a commitment from all parties to follow through with the solution.

10.7. Aggression

Aggression involves actions intended to cause harm, whether through verbal, physical, or relational means. Relational aggression, which occurs within social groups, is receiving increased attention in counseling literature. Examples of aggression include insults, hate crimes, physical harm, gossiping, and bullying.

Microaggression refers to subtle acts of aggression targeted at minorities, such as people of color. These acts are not overtly violent but occur within everyday social interactions, gradually making individuals feel like they don’t belong.

Violence, on the other hand, involves a deliberate intention to cause harm. It can be premeditated or impulsive, often driven by feelings of anger, shame, or humiliation. The progression of violence typically starts with a sense of humiliation and disconnection from society, leading to heightened self-consciousness, destructive behaviors, and blurred boundaries.

Warning signs of potential violence include feelings of rejection, past victimization, disciplinary issues, fear of ridicule, academic difficulties, artistic expressions depicting violence, threats towards others, intolerance, involvement in gangs, substance abuse, and access to weapons.

10.8. Wellness

Wellness encompasses the harmonious integration of the mind, body, and spirit, leading to overall positive well-being. Counselors often adopt a wellness perspective that focuses on assisting clients in achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Instead of viewing clients as solely seeking help for mental illness, counselors approach counseling as a journey towards greater well-being by nurturing the mind, body, and spirit. Myers and Sweeney have developed an evidence-based model called the Indivisible Self that emphasizes wellness. They proposed five dimensions of wellness, each with multiple facets:

I. Physical: exercise and nutrition

II. Essential: spirituality, gender identity, cultural identity, and selfcare

III. Social: friendship and love

IV. Coping: leisure, stress management, self-worth, and realistic beliefs

V. Creative: thinking, emotions, control, work, and positive humor

10.9. Self-Care Strategies

To effectively serve clients, counselors must prioritize their own well-being and attend to their personal needs. Burnout can hinder counselors’ ability to meet their clients’ needs, making self-care crucial. While burnout can manifest differently in individuals, the following activities and skills are believed to help prevent or alleviate its effects:

  • Develop and apply time management skills.
  • Engage regularly in enjoyable activities and hobbies.
  • Cultivate and nurture meaningful relationships with others.
  • Pursue ongoing professional development.
  • Monitor both physical and psychological health.
  • Seek professional support when necessary.

By incorporating these practices, counselors can safeguard their own well-being and ensure they are equipped to provide optimal care for their clients.