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Keyvan Geula (2004). Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Development. Retrieved from

Love, P. & Talbot, D. (2009). Defining spiritual development: A missing consideration

for student affairs. Retrieved from

Wong, D., Hall, K.R., Justice, C.A., Hernandez, L.W. (2015). Counseling Individuals Through

the Lifespan, (pp. 26-27). London, England: SAGE Publications, Ltd.


After reviewing this week’s readings I decided that the human growth and developmental theory I would like to discuss will be on Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Developmental Theory. The reason I choose Erikson’s because he proposed a stage theory of development, but his theory encompassed human growth throughout the entire lifespan. Erikson’s theory was an extension of Sigmund Freud’s theories that highlighted the essential role played by early childhood experiences (Wong et al., 2015). Unlike Freud, who focused on early childhood with an emphasis on biological instinctual urges as key to human development, Erik Erikson presented a model emphasizing the challenges and tasks presented across one’s lifespan as key to understanding human development (Wong et al., 2015).

Erikson theory helped individuals understand how important it is for one to be successful at having healthy development as they go through each stage of life. Erikson’s theory also helped coin the term “crisis” (Wong et al., 2015). Erikson felt that these psychosocial crises were based on physiological development interacting with the demands put on he indivdiual by parents and society (Wong et al., 2015). For example, during the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage, it is important for the adolescent (12-18) to understand themselves and how they fit into the surrounding world (Wong et al., 2015).  If an individual does not understand one’s self then the next stage is Intimacy vs Isolation and it will be very difficult for them to develop meaningful relationships over the lifespan. Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory supports the idea that having success or failure in dealing with the conflicts at each stage can impact the overall development of a human.

The article Defining Spiritual Development: A Missing Consideration for Student Affairs by Patrick Love and Donna Talbot provided some very insightful conclusions about spirituality and spiritual development. After reviewing the article, proposition five really stood out to me which is, “Spiritual development involves an increasing openness to exploring a relationship with an intangible and pervasive power or essence that exists beyond human existence and rational human knowing (Love & Talbot, 2009). This means that human existence is deeper than what we see in our everyday world and this is where religion and spirituality come into play. Related to transcendence, as one develops spirituality there is a growing recognition of a spirit or force larger than oneself; a force accessible only through faith, hope, love, and other nonrational aspects of human experience (Love & Talbot, 2009).  

In the article Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Development (2004) it states that “Self-regulation, which is seen as fundamentally emotion regulation, is the essence of spiritual development. Emotional communication whether with one’s parents or the object of one’s devotions in prayer is the fundamental manner in which one mind connects with another” (Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Development, 2004). Emotional development and spiritual development have major influences on the development of a human being. The human development is very complex and there is a lot of theorists that have made great arguments that support the evidence that has been found, although Erik Erikson’s developmental theory was very detailed to help understand lifespan. The proposition found in the article Defining Spiritual Development: A Missing Consideration for Student Affairs does help support that emotional development is key to one having a healthy emotional development over a lifespan.



Liberty University Custom: Granello, D. H., & Young, M. E. (2019). Counseling today: Foundations of professional identity (2nd ed p. 30). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Liberty University Custom: Wong, D., Hall, K. R., Justice, C. A., and Hernandez, L. W.  (2015). Human growth and development (Custom Package pp. 28-30).Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publication.

Love, Patrick & Talbot, Donna (2009) Defining Spiritual Development: A Missing Consideration for Student Affairs, NASPA Journal, 46:4, 614-628, DOI: 10.2202/1949-6605.5035

Shook, M. (Producer). (2017, March 22). Spirituality and religion in counseling: definitions, competencies, and spiritual bypass with Craig Cashwell [Audio Podcast]. The thoughtful counselor. Retrieved from

One of the first and formative cognitive theories developed in the 1920’s by Jean Piaget is shaped by the idea that there are 4 clearly defined stages of childhood cognitive development. Each of these stages gives the child a way to perceive the world and to be able to construct meaning according to their developing ability in that particular stage of childhood. Piaget also believed that these stages were based on physical maturation and that the child’s environment could be instrumental in the rate of progress but didn’t vary from child to child and each stage was experienced by all children (Wong & Hall & Justice & Hernandez, 2015). The first stage is from birth to 18-24 months and is called sensorimotor because of the emphasis of the sensory skills as the way the infant starts to experience the world. The second stage is called the preoperational stage and occurs between the ages of 2-7. During this stage, the child is egocentric and begins to experience the world through his own perceptions. The third stage, called concrete, is when the child can observe concrete problems and objects and understand his environment through that lens. The fourth and final stage comes after the age of 11 when the child begins to think in more abstract terms. It is during this time that they can logically think about ideas that are abstract such as the future (Wong et. al, 2015).

Piaget was a biologist and he gathered information by observing children. Though his theory has not held up to the test of time, it has been significant to our understanding of human growth and development because it was the first time that children had been studied to show that children think differently than adults (Granello & Young, 2019). He is also credited, “with discovering that thoughts, not just experience, contribute to human development” (Wong et. al, 2015).

Piaget’s theory, based on physical and psychological development, overlooked the element of spiritual development. Spiritual development teaches us how we derive meaning, purpose and direction in life (Love & Talbot, 1999). When we overlook this critical aspect of development, it “may temporize and appear to be not occurring at all or even regressing” (Love & Talbot, 1999). In recent years, spiritual development has been brought back into the counseling arena as practitioners have recognized that it is important to the general well-being of people (Cashwell, 2017).

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