Development begins the moment of conception and continues throughout the entire lifespan. the human body goes through many transformations. Psychologists, Erikson, Peck, and Levinson all contributed different theories expanding on adult development.
According to Erickson development occurs in eight stages beginning at birth and ending with death. Each stage consists of a task or crisis that we must complete. The sixth stage, intimacy vs. isolation, occurs during young adulthood and focuses on searching for intimacy. Erikson describes intimacy as more than a sexual relationship, intimate relationship that can be with others at work, in your social circle as well as love life it is about connecting, sharing feeling, and ideas without the fear of sacrificing yourself. An intimate relationship can occur in both social and love lives. Failure to complete this stage results in feelings of isolation that places barriers between them others. The seventh stage, generativity vs. stagnation, middle adulthood, around the age of 40. Generativity involves concern for, helping, and contributing to the development others, often by having children and caring for others and participating in meaningful work which contributes positively to society. Failure to master this crisis results in stagnation, prolonged period of little or no growth, and a feeling of not contributing to the world. (Zastrow, Kirst-Ashman, K.K., 2016).
Peck believed development during young adulthood consisted of four adjustments. The first is socializing vs. sexualizing, meaning giving a value to people in their lives, instead of seeing them as sexual objects (Zastrow, Kirst-Ashman, K.K., 2016). The second is valuing wisdom vs. valuing physical powers. In middle adulthood, people have many years of wisdom Peck is mental flexibility vs. mental rigidity. This is where people make the ultimatum for being content in the life they’re living, and not learning any new skills or information, and feeling life is unfulfilling. The other side of that is seeking new experiences and feeling their life is meaningful and rewarding. The third is emotional flexibility vs. emotional impoverishment. This means people can shift their emotional investments in people, in middle adulthood people get use to loss, they are losing friends and parents as well as their children moving away (Zastrow, Kirst-Ashman, K.K., 2016). Finally, the fourth adjustment according to Peck is mental flexibility vs. mental rigidity. This is where people make the ultimatum for being content in the life they’re living, and not learning any new skills or information, and feeling
life is unfulfilling. The other side of that is seeking new experiences and feeling their life is meaningful and rewarding. Peck’s theory gives people the choices they desire for their lives that will prepare them up for middle adulthood. Each era had different building blocks to transition these men into the next era of life.
Levinson’s theory of adult development, referred to as the Seasons of Life theory, which identified stages and growth that occur well into the adult years. His theory is composed of sequence-like stages. Each stage is shaped by an event or action that leads into the next stage. Between the ages of 35-45. According to Levinson, young adults’ motivation is driven by an image or dream of the future.
By applying these theories to the case being worked on is a way of understanding different theories in the field. This would include doing studies on different ages and researching how people in middle adulthood have come to be in the place they are in. Learning how they worked and held relationships is a way of seeing how their transition would be. Utilizing other people’s knowledge and skills in these areas would help human services professional assist their clients. Basing only one person’s knowledge is not an effective way of helping come up with a solution. If a client is having a hard time handling the transition it is best to find alternative views on helping this person, especially if the human services professional hasn’t experienced that transition previously. The final way of gaining an understanding of multiple theories would be critiquing the theories. If there is a question in the theory, and it doesn’t seem to fit the client at hand, then it is reasonable to find alternatives to that theory.
- Zastrow, C.H., & Kirst-Ashman, K.K. (2016). Understanding Human Behavior, and the Social Environment (11th ed). New York, Belmont, CA 94007-3098 Brook/Cole, Cengage Learning.