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Developmental Psychology. “Erik Erikson” by McLeod Essay (Article)

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Updated: May 15th, 2021

Psychology is the study of the human mind and how it affects behavior (McLeod, 2013). Therefore, psychologists assess the behavioral patterns of their patients through the use of tools and tests and look for inconsistencies and regularities to determine whether the person needs professional help. According to McLeod (2013), the human mind is highly sophisticated, making it necessary for counselors to assess the conditions affecting it in different contexts before offering care and treatment. These contexts form the various psychology areas, which include cognitive, health, developmental, and clinical psychology (McLeod, 2013).

Developmental psychology studies how the behaviors of individuals change as they grow. It focuses on what normal behavior is during periods of learning while emphasizing the importance of adaptation and maturity in the development stages of man (McLeod, 2013). According to McLeod (2013), through developmental psychology, the counselor can be able to detect deviations from what is considered normal and offer help where necessary.

Developmental psychology also encourages the counselors to analyze the various events that took place when the patient was growing up and link these said events to the patient’s personality at that point. During this duration, adaptation and maturity take place, and specific milestones need to be achieved before progressing to the next stage (McLeod, 2013). A lot of growth takes place during early childhood, and any deviations from the normal may have the potential to disrupt the child’s ability to learn. A psychologist can focus on the child’s mental behaviors using the cognitive theory by Piaget (McLeod, 2013).

In this theory, intelligence is both logical and biological; logical in that it depends on the acquisition of habits and the individual’s responses to his or her environment (McLeod, 2013). Also, it is biological in that one possesses inherited traits from the parents (McLeod, 2013).

Additionally, the adolescent age is marked with questions of identification. The adolescent will want to know who they are and what they can become in the future. During this stage, McLeod (2013) encourages psychologists to use the Erik Erikson theory of psychosocial stages. Erikson suggests that the adolescent explores the possibilities of what they can be, as well as face the difficulties of accepting their transition from childhood to adulthood (McLeod, 2013). If the adolescent fails to form his identity successfully, he or she will become rebellious (McLeod, 2013).

After adolescence, the next stage of the human lifespan is adulthood. Adulthood is characterized by the pursuit of companionship, purpose, and fulfillment. During this stage, when things do not go as planned, the adult may fall into depression and loneliness (McLeod, 2013). After adulthood comes old age. This is marked by diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia (McLeod, 2013). McLeod (2013) explains that through the Erikson theory, old age is also a time of reflection, where an individual looks back at his or her life and can have either positive or negative feelings towards those memories.

These feelings may give him or her either content or regret on how he or she chose to live his or her life. Apart from looking into how the brain changes during these phases of growth, the psychologist should also factor in how the environment affects the proper development of man during all his life stages (McLeod, 2013). These environmental factors may include social and economic situations. It is, thus, essential for individuals to seek help during the various stated stages to ensure that abnormalities are detected early and treated for the individuals to reach their best potential and live a productive and fulfilling life.

Reference List

McLeod, S. (2013). . Developmental Psychology. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Developmental Psychology. "Erik Erikson" by McLeod'. 15 May.

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