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Welcome to MC05 Counselling and Human Development. This subject examines theories and concepts about human development across the lifespan. It examines physical, cognitive, emotional, social and moral human development across the lifespan, both when this development is proceeding normally, as well as issues that
occur when development is impaired or delayed.

Students will evaluate various theories of development in the course of applying them to case studies. The goal is for you to develop an understanding of the issues that clients may bring to counselling at different stages of development.

You are also encouraged to think about how events occurring in one stage of development can impact on other stages of development and to reflect upon current issues that impinge on development across the lifespan

1. Examine key research findingsin relation to human development and clarify their implicationsfor counselling practice.
2. Critically discuss physical, cognitive, emotional,social and moral development, including difficultiesthat arise when development is impeded in one or more of thes areas.
3. Distinguish characteristics of major theories of physical, cognitive, emotional, social and moral development.
4. Apply developmental theories to case studies to clarify client difficulties.

Examine key research findings in relation to human development and clarify their implications for counselling practice.

Infancy can be defined as the period from birth until the child acquires language. This is the most challenging stage where development occurs mostly in cognitive, perceptual, physical and motor domains thus vulnerable to torture (Hong & Park, 2012). Infants depend on adults for survival and interaction. Genetics is also an aspect affecting development of infants. Parental care and attachment are needed since the infants and toddlers cannot take care of themselves.     (Ormrod, 2012).Children have emotions and the parents especially the mother can quickly identify issues affecting the baby.  It is vital for counselors to understand the children and their past experiences and the future situations (Payne& Isaacs, 2016).

There have been cases of physical abuse in children at this stage in Australia. Infants are sometimes regarded as being less than humans because of using the pronoun "it."  (Kocet, & Herlihy, 2014). Many people are mostly murdered in their first year of life. History indicates that children are seen as the property of their guardians intensified by high dependency on their parents and being unable to defend them which leads to a high proportion of parental perpetrators. Many infants that are murdered are females in Australia which shows that there is sexual discrimination which affects the development of the infants (Park, 2018).

 Studies have shown that sometimes they are manipulative and tend to seek more attention from the people around them. In Erikson psychosocial development theory, psychosocial development occurs in eight stages each with a psychosocial crisis that needs to be solved (Payne& Isaacs, 2016) .If the crisis is resolved, then virtue is developed and if not growth is stunted. For example, infants undergo through trust versus mistrust crisis (Sacco, 2013). The infants highly depend on the caregivers for survival in which the belief depends on the quality of the caregiver and if the child's caregiver does not provide significant care and loves the infant will develop mistrust.  Erikson believed that for development to be successful there must be an outstanding balance between the two opposed sides.  (Erikson, n.d).

According to cognitive theory, learning comes about due to changes in our thinking process. In the sensorimotor stage between birth to two years old, infants might go through first circular movements in which they repeat simple motor movements, secondary circular movements whereby they repeat exciting changes. There is coordination of secondary circular behaviors in which the children anticipate for events and involves intentional action, tertiary circular reactions by imitating strange behaviors and mental combinations where toddlers can solve their issues through psychological representation (Meyerhoff, 2015, ).

Critically discuss physical, cognitive, emotional, social and moral development, including difficulties that arise when development is impeded in one or more of these areas.

 Genetic issues for many disabilities come from X-chromosome. An infant is capable of suffering from Down syndrome when the mother has advanced in age due to the presence of her eggs during her birth. The chromosomes become fragile when the eggs are older (Ail wood, Boyd & Theobald, 2016).. Many women consider termination of the fetus if there is the presence of Down syndrome. Due to these issues, some children might not be able to adapt to changes quickly and mostly behave differently from others.  

The community has institutionalized that the blue color represents boys and the pink color serves girls (Miller, 2016). Note that there is a long history about our species concerning distrust of our nature, a residue of which remains in the language individuals use recently. There is also a natural behavioral style known as temperament. Infants and toddlers have been classified as natural, difficult and average in their personalities.  Various aspects of the behavior of the infants contribute to a trait which is happiness and also shows how active and vocal the baby is. There is also emotion where they are soothed or angered easily and effortful control where babies readily focus and impede their impulses. Research has indicated that infants who are demanding and hard develop behavioral predicaments like high activity levels and rates of aggression that elevates (Hong & Park, 2012). The infants do not begin with unreasonable rates of behavioral complications; ideally, babies with behavioral complications are born to mothers who use prohibitive control. The attitudes are present even before the babies are born.

Infants and toddlers need to be attached to their parents because it is a necessary requirement for a personal relationship between them and their mothers. Parents who are responsive and dependent produce babies who are independent and self-reliable. The children also grow to become responsible and decent human beings. However, those who are not able to secure attachment with their guardians, end up having complications getting along with other people. Caregivers are sometimes unaware of the mental representation of their infants' emotions since the babies cannot express themselves (Park, 2018).

According to John Bowlby’s theory of attachment development, a child is attached to somebody when he or she is steadily willing to seek closeness to a significant figure in various situations. The connection between the infant and the mother assures that they will remain in physical proximity especially when the baby is between 8 and 18 months of age. When the infant is resistant, he will depend less often on the parent for maintaining closeness. When the child is exposed to the security of physical closeness, he or she will gain the confidence to explore away from the guardian (Holmes, 2014).

Distinguish characteristics of major theories of physical, cognitive, emotional, social and moral development.

Parents differ in a way that they raise their children. Growing up with amazing guardians is excellent since the infants will grow up with unusual traits that will be important in their lives. Children who often misbehave do so because of ignorance or frustrations they go through at that stage. They need to be redirected and refocused or be listened to. They always misbehave to seek attention. When caregivers respond to attention seeking misbehaviors like scolding or shouting at them, it reinforces the behavior negligently. Parents are advised to reward their children’s good behavior by appreciating them. It is crucial for them to learn appropriate traits and to avoid discouraging judgments that lower the child's self-esteem. A guardian’s opinion about them acts as a social mirror for their life (Ormrod, 2012). 

Those children who are insecure often develop few social skills, and they do not communicate well with other people. He or she may build anxiousness even in benevolent situations. This will increase the chances of the child suffering from anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be a potent stimulus of emotional discomfort that puts an individual in a high arousal condition. Studies have shown that attachment styles can go from generation to generation to keep the culture alive. Insecure attachment has a significant effect on the development of the counseling profession. Infants and toddlers need to be treated well so that they can be secure and learn to trust their caregivers wholeheartedly (Easterbrooks, Lerner & Mistry, 2013).

Parenting is necessary for children because of socio-emotional development.  Therefore, parents are required to receive social support from mental health experts so that they can achieve the best in raising their children. All they need is acceptance and love from their caregivers. However, not all infants and toddlers are lucky to have good parents due to various reasons and situations. Attachment enforces a healthy relationship between the caregiver and the baby.  Through this relationship, the mother can enjoy the parenting experience in life. Attachment creates development in the child's sensitivity towards themselves and others.  Children learn the art of empathy and caring since they learn it from their parents. It also improves the child’s intellectual and physical development. Children gain a closer relationship with their parents which promote discipline and create a sense of responsibility when they become adults.

In life, many things are related, but it does not mean that one causes the other. The older the children become, the bigger the feet and they can calculate pure mathematics using their feet. It is vital for children to play since it is their primary task as a way of interacting with other people. A play is a vehicle for them that establishes their knowledge and the acquisition of skills (Berk, 2012). It gives children a chance to focus on achievable and meaningful objectives that they can control. It is an activity that enables children to engross themselves in various activities actively.

Apply developmental theories to case studies to clarify client difficulties.

As much as play is significant for children, several issues threaten its existence.  The first threat is teaching necessary skills assuming that they will learn them better at an early stage. This is not the case since it causes them to identify themselves as failures and when they discover a content that is too hard for them using inappropriate learning procedure, they become stressed which leads to brain impairment making it difficult for them to learn new things. (Henderson, & Thompson, 2016)

The second threat is that many guardians and teachers only want focus on academics at a very early stage. This makes the children miss out their childhood playful memories and become unable to interact with others freely. The parents believe that this is just a little fun and that their children should not indulge themselves in such activities. This makes the children dormant and slow in nature (Payne & Isaacs, 2016)

Counselors are required to understand that the brains of the infants and toddlers are in a sensitive situation that may be due to factors happening in their immediate environment.  They have emotional and social needs that need to be met and sometimes they can develop mental problems just like other people. For example, if a client has a young child or an infant, it is practicable that a qualified counselor does a socio-emotional assessment. It will help in understanding the infant better and taking necessary measures to protect the infant and young children (Counseling Children and Adolescents, 2018).

Counseling profession requires patience since the client might have difficulties in opening up about their infants and young children or may decide to hide some information that is vital. Counselors need to emotionally involve themselves with the children when dealing with sexual abuse (Code of ethics: For the profession of rehabilitation counselling,2014).  They should learn to control their responses so that the child can talk freely. This also affects the body language when listening to their stories as it will create a system of support that will help them get through life. It is thoughtful to share with other counselors so to develop a network of support and willingness to listen to the child (Houston & State University, n.d.).

It is vital for counselors to be aware of these development issues since it will help them communicate well with them because the children are unable to communicate verbally. The skills, knowledge and practices are essential factors in the development of the infants and early childhood years (Shechtman, 2017). Counselors are required to have a broad understanding of these issues in order to deal with them in a way that is required. The importance of understanding these issues is that its contribution takes part in the development of the infants including those who are vulnerable and those with different abilities and backgrounds. It creates awareness about the infants to the public and professional counselors (Erford, 2016)

Infancy: Vulnerability to torture, genetic impact on development, parental care and attachment, understanding children's past experiences and future situations

The counselors will be able to help the children gain confidence and create a good platform for solving these issues adequately.  Children have difficulty in communicating verbally; therefore, the counselors need to create a stable and peaceful environment for the client to communicate (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016).Infants and young children can show what they feel, think and understanding the world that they live in. The counselors must be aware of play and other expressive materials to help the child bring out the hidden behaviors and blocked feelings that have interfered with growth and development (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016).These expressions will help the counselors to discover the inner strengths that can assist the child to deal with previous experiences and cope with present experiences in present life. It is important for counselors and parents to set up timely meetings to talk about the progress and support them to enhance the child’s healing process.

In conclusion, developmental issues are caused by various factors in the society such as genetics, physical abuse, attachment, temperament, and parenting styles. Therefore the understanding of all these issues is necessary since infants and young children also rely on them for emotional support when they undergo health issues. Therefore, understanding is a crucial aspect in counseling.


Ailwood, J., Boyd, W., & Theobald, M. (2016). Understanding early childhood education & care in Australia: Practices and perspectives. Sydney: Read How You Want.

Berk, L. E. (2012). Infants, children, and adolescents. Boston: Pearson /Allyn & Bacon.

Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2016). Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions. John Wiley & Sons.

Code of ethics: For the profession of rehabilitation counselling. (2014). Hurlstone Park, N.S.W.: Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors.

Counseling Children and Adolescents. (2018, August 10). Retrieved from

Easterbrooks, M. A., Lerner, R. M., & Mistry, J. (2013). Handbook of psychology. developmental psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Erford, B. T. (2016). Professional school counseling: A handbook of theories, programs, and practices. PRO-ED, Inc. 8700 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Austin, TX 78757-6897.

Erikson, E. (n.d.). Erikson's Stages Of Human Development. Retrieved from

Henderson, D. A., & Thompson, C. L. (2016). Counseling children. Boston, MA, USA: Cengage Learning.

Holmes, J. (2014). John Bowlby and attachment theory. London: Routledge.

Hong, Y. R., & Park, J. S. (2012). Impact of attachment, temperament, and parenting on human development. Korean Journal of Pediatrics,55(12), 449. doi:10.3345/kjp.2012.55.12.449

Houston, S., & State University. (n.d.). Professional Issues in Counseling - Department of Counselor Education - Sam Houston State University. Retrieved from

Kocet, M. M., & Herlihy, B. J. (2014). Addressing value?based conflicts within the counseling relationship: A decision?making model. Journal of Counseling & Development, 92(2), 180-186.

Meyerhoff, M. (2015, July 13). Understanding Cognitive and Social Development in a Newborn. Retrieved from

Miller, P. H. (2016). Theories of developmental psychology. New York: Worth.

Ormrod, J. E. (2012). Essentials of educational psychology: Big ideas to guide effective teaching. Boston: Pearson.

Park, M. S. (2018). Quality improvement in pediatric care. Korean Journal of Pediatrics, 61(1), 1–5.

Payne, V. G., & Isaacs, L. D. (2016). Human motor development: A lifespan approach. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway.

Sacco, R. G. (2013). Re-Envisaging the Eight Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson: The Fibonacci Life-Chart Method (FLCM). Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 3(1). doi:10.5539/jedp.v3n1p140

Shechtman, Z. (2017). Group counseling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents: Theory, research, and practice. Routledge.

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