People change over time, and no past history sets the future in stone. Developmentalists divide life into different segments based on age known as growth stages (Berger, 2009). Each stage affects the others causing development at every stage to build upon the other (Berger, 2009). Development does not follow a straight line, it instead moves up and down, back and forth, and it moves at different speeds (Berger, 2009). Although there are several theories of development, and it would be remiss to subscribe to only one; however for the purpose of this paper, I will focus on Erik Erikson’s Theory of Initiative versus Guilt; Industry versus Inferiority; and Identity versus Role Confusion. I also prefer to take an eclectic approach in the application of counseling theories and techniques; however for the purpose of this paper I will utilize three different therapies for each stage of development.
Early Childhood is marked by a time in children’s lives when they develop “a confident self-image, more effective control over their emotions, new social skills, the foundations of morality, and a clear sense of themselves as boy or girl” (Berk, Kauffman & Landrum, 2011, pg. 45). According to Erik Erikson, early childhood is a period of “vigorous unfolding,” one where children have a sense of autonomy and a new sense of purposefulness or initiative (Berk, Kauffman & Landrum, 2011, pg. 45). Play is a means for children to learn about themselves and they begin to adopt the moral and gender-role standards of the society in which they live (Berk, Kauffman & Landrum, 2011). A negative outcome of early childhood is the guilt children feel as a result of excessive punishment and criticism by the adults in their lives (Berk, Kauffman & Landrum, 2011).
It is at the age of six that I first meet my client Samantha who has been referred to me by her first grade teacher. Samantha is withdrawn in class, she has very few friends, and the teacher often overhears other girls gossiping about her. The teacher has said that she has tried talking to Samantha, but she is unresponsive. The teacher has also tried calling home, however the only feedback she got from Samantha’s mom is that Samantha is quiet at home too, and doesn’t cause any problems. In class Samantha often daydreams and draws. Not only is her teacher worried about her lack of socialization, she is also worried that she is not paying attention.
Since Samantha is quite young and is having trouble verbalizing her thoughts and emotions, I plan to use expressive arts therapy, an extension of the person-centered approach, when working with her. It is very important that I take great care to establish a safe, supportive environment for Samantha and show her through my actions that I genuinely care about her. According to Corey (2009, pg. 182), “person-centered expressive arts therapy utilizes the arts for spontaneous creative expression that symbolizes deep and sometimes inaccessible feelings and emotional states.”...