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Developmental Psychology


Development is Lifelong and Problems are Part of a Normal Development Process

Developmental Psychology focuses on changes that occur in human beings throughout the lifespan, from conception to old age. The field includes infants and children, adolescence, adult development and aging.

Developmental change and challenges throughout life includes all aspects of human growth, including physical, emotional, intellectual, social, perceptual, and personality development.

A general Developmental Psychology framework includes development across time within 5 contexts - biological, individual, family, social and cultural. Gender differences also interact with all of these processes as biology and sex-roll socialisation, affect self perceptions and behaviour to a significant degree. If something goes awry with parental bonds and attachment this can impact sexuality later in development.

As Developmental experts we have the knowledge and training to assess where an individual's development is within each of the 5 contexts mentioned above, and formulate appropriate therapies and treatments for any deficiencies.

Biological Context
Genetics
We are aware that there are certain disorders that are transmitted genetically through families. Models of genetic heritability involve Genotype - the genetic material that is passed on; the Phenotype - the way genes are expressed in physical characteristics and behaviour; and the Environment - aspects of the surroundings that might compete with genes as the explanation for behaviour. Epigenetics refers to the way in which genes and the environment interact to create individual variations in the way that genes are expressed. In other words Epigenetics is how the environment influences our Phenotype.

Many problems are related to the genes that we have inherited. At ETOH we have a deep understanding of the ways in which non-genetic factors in the environment, such as stress, cause the effects of genes to be turned up or down.

Neuropsychology
Researchers have made significant advances in our knowledge about typical brain development, including what parts of the brain, and associated capabilities, develop at various ages.

When neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, GABA and noradrenaline, are excessive or deficient in quantity, psychopathology may develop. Similarly, it is known that exposure to excessive levels of certain neuroendocrines, such as cortisol which is produced in response to anxiety, maltreatment and trauma, may have toxic effects on the developing brain.As Clinical Psychologists we are aware of these pathways and mechanisms and take them into account in therapy where appropriate.

Temperament
We are aware that all children, and adults, are born with their own unique temperament - a characteristic tempo and activity level, a particular mood and adaptability, a set of vulnerabilities and resiliences. Temperament is expressed in many facets of development, including behavioural, psychological, neural, physiological and genetic.

Researchers have identified a number of types of temperament, including: 'Difficult': fussy, irregular in their eating and sleeping habits, easy to upset and difficult to sooth; 'Easy': generally display positive affect, react mildly to frustrations and are easily soothed; and 'Slow-to-warm-up': who may initially be shy and have generally low activity levels.

Of particular relevance to an individual's overall development is the degree of alignment between their particular temperament and the demands that the environment (family, school, work, society) places of the individual. Where there is a poor Goodness of Fit the demands for the environment exceed the individual's capacities, and the ensuing stress may lead to an unhealthy developmental course.

Individual Context
Cognitive Development
Emotional Development
•   Emotion Expression
•   Emotion Recognition
•   Emotion Understanding
•   Emotion Regulation & Disregulation
•   Attachment
•   Self Development:
    •   The emergence of self
    •   Self-regulation
    •   Identity
    •   Self-concept:
        •   (What am I like?)
        •   Do I like who I am? (Self-esteem)
Moral Development
•   The development of moral reasoning
•   Emotional Dimensions of Morality: Shame, Guilt and Empathy

Sex & Gender
•   Gender identity
•   Gender roles
•   Sexual orientation

Family Context
The Development of the Family
•   Parenting Style
•   Parental Sensitivity
Development of the Social Context
Peer relations
•   Infancy to pre-school
•   Middle childhood
•   Adolescence
•   Extra-Familial Adults
Development of the Cultural Context
Poverty and Social Class
Ethnic Diversity




Autism

Autism

Autism

Autism

Autism

Autism

Autism

Autism

Autism
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