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Peer Responses

 Please respond to each peer separately..Responses should be 1-2 paragraphs  each with 2 references.

Main Discussion Post: The Martinez Family (L.F-peer response 1)

 Gabby is a 19-year-old who is in the “figuring it out stage” in her life.  She lives with her parents and thinks this is okay as long as she does what they tell her to do. Gabby does not attend college and does not have a steady job because she has not found a job that interests her enough to stay. Her parents are pressuring her to settle down and get married and Gabby does not know what she wants to do at this point in her life. In Gabby’s situation, Schaie’s Theory best describes the developmental period she is experiencing. This theory will help the counselor build a good and strong rapport with Gabby and guide her to make the best decisions for her future.

Promoting Positive Development

 It is important to guide Gabby in the direction that she feels is best for herself because as Dr. Kailla Edger states, “young adults aren’t cemented a lot of times, is this where I really want to be (Laureate, 2013f, 0:34)” stage in her developmental stage in her life. A clinical mental health counselor should keep this in mind when working with young adults are transitioning from adolescence into young adults and who are trying to find their niche in life rather it’s going to college or finding employment. It also seems confirmed subjectively by emerging adults’ reports that during the 18–25 age period most of them feel not like adolescents and not like adults but somewhere in between, on the way to adulthood but not there yet (Arnett, 2007).  

            Just like the past transitions from an infant to child and child to adolescence, our cognitive skills into adulthood have not developed due to lack of experience and our environment. Each stage in life comes with a learning process and the experiences and knowledge from the last stages only get build upon as we go through new experiences in life. For Gabby, Schaie’s theory will help her through this new transition into young adulthood.  Schaie’s theory emphasizes the importance of new roles, needs, and responsibilities in determining adult intellectual functioning (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015, pp. 417). Shaie’s theory consists of seven stages of how young adults mentally function and they are the achieving, responsible, ill-structured, executive, reorganizing, reintegrative and the legacy-leaving stages. This theory helps with accommodating the client by helping to set realistic goals that are tailored to the client’s cognitive development and skills they have in each stage.

Gabby has not decided what path she wants to embark on at this point in her life and as a counselor guiding their young adult client, they must know the importance of two key processes of identity formation: the exploration of alternatives and commitment to choices (Smits, Doumen, Luyckx, Duriez & Goossens, 2011). Based on Shaie’s theory Gabby is in the ill-structured stage where she does not have pre-established answers to solve her problems such as career choice and deciding to marry. As Gabby’s counselor, it is important to guide her into behavioral approaches that consist of establishing time-oriented goals and having a wide range of solutions that will not overwhelm her.


The importance of the use of theories when working with a client is that is beneficial to both the client and the counselor. For the client, theories help process who they are and help explain the feelings and emotions they are experiencing. For counselors, it helps to understand their clients mentally and understand the development stage they are in to receive appropriate treatment.

 Main Discussion Post: Reeves Family (T.H-Peer response 2)

John returns for therapy at age 21 because he believes therapy was beneficial for him in working through his adolescent issues. Since his adolescence, John has turned his life around. John has distanced himself from negative influences, finished high school in the top 20% of his class, and completed a college degree in history in only three years (Laureate Education, 2013m). Although John has been successful in his academics, he discloses that employment is overrated, has returned home to his fathers, and rather explore and experience more of life before committing to life’s obligations. John states he wants to embark on a journey of personal development to find his true self. John is hoping to find help in figuring out where he is in life. After listening to John, it is clear that he is struggling with transitioning into work life and is confused with his path in life. John may still be in the exploratory stage of Super’s Developmental Theory. Although John has stepped into the crystallization and specification stage, I believe he is not able to enter the implementation stage because he may have started, what Super’s calls, the mini cycles of reevaluation because his personal characteristics do not match with the demands of the job he has chosen.

Promoting Positive Development

When John returned to counseling after many years, he disclosed that he has come to see me because I was very helpful during his adolescence. This disclosure shows me that half the work is completed because he believes in the process of therapy and is committed to working hard to improve his life once again. This is not a failsafe by no means, and work must be done to maintain John’s commitment and trust. Counselors must center on rapport building as the main focus rather than information gathering (Sharpley, Fairnie, Tabary-Collins, Bates, & Lee, 2000). Many strategies have been tested on efficacy, and many stand true in promoting rapport between counselor and client. Studies show the use of paraphrases, reflection of feelings, and minimal encouragers during the initial stages of therapy were the most effective at establishing rapport but were not so effective as the therapeutic process proceeded (Sharpley et al., 2000). Research shows that effective counseling that promotes rapport comes down to being a good listener and a counselor that responds effectively while implementing silence and open questions (Sharpley et al., 2000). During therapy with John, I will promote the maintenance of rapport by using the suggested techniques and tools which are supported by empirical research. 

In addition to the utilization of techniques and tools for promoting rapport, the use of Super’s Developmental Approach Theory will allow me to maintain rapport and increasing my understanding of johns presenting and underlying issues which will promote positive development as he embarks on self-discovery. The central component to Super’s theory is the vocational self-concept which helps a person evaluate their qualities and characteristics to help match a person match with the requirements of an occupation (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Further work with John may reveal why John is unable or unwilling to enter into the implementation stage where he can utilize his education to find employment. One prediction is that the occupation or field of study does not match with Johns vocational self-concept which is why he feels lost. Further work may also reveal that John has, in fact, matched his occupations or field of study with his vocational self-concept but has not reached career maturity. John may not be ready to cope with the developmental tasks and expectations that are placed on him (Stead & Watson, 1998). This dilemma between looking for jobs, the pressures from his father to not being a “bum” and his desires to explore and experience life are weighing heavy on him.

According to Jung, adolescents and young adults develop a persona that maintains an acceptable image that reflects the expectations of others, and as adolescents approach adulthood, the persona must be modified to match the roles and demands a person takes on (Robinson & Smith, 2010). An approach that will help John reflect and find direction is evaluating the pros and cons of the different choices he has in front of him and to also explore other paths. Helping John work through the possible options during this confusing time of not knowing what is next and seeing how they may work out will allow him to gain a better picture of what role he wants to take on in adulthood (Laureate Education, 2013f). Processing these ideas may also increase his career maturity and help cement him, or as Super would say, bring him to stabilization. Helping John answer questions like “whom am I becoming and how will I express this emerging self?” and finding better ways to conceptualize career issues will give John the tools to be more confident with his vocational self-concept and career decision making (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).


Theories, in general, give clinicians a frame or guide to practice by which allows a more structured and tailored process to occur in therapy. Developmental theories are especially helpful in conceptualizing clients because development is an extremely complex concept to comprehend and the different facets that arise throughout a personals life are tricky (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Developmental theories provide a sort of scaffolding for clinicians as they conduct therapy, explore concerns, and develop goals and treatment plans. Clinicians who can incorporate the impacts of development when working with clients significantly increase case conceptualization and bring understanding to a three-dimensional platform. A greater awareness from these theories and how they apply to client issues allows clinicians to assist clients in formulating realistic and attainable goals which fit the client’s developmental framework.


  Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Chapter 11, “Physical and Cognitive Development in Young Adulthood” (pp. 408-437) Chapter 12, “Socioemotional and Vocational Development in Young Adulthood” (pp. 438-476) Arnett, J. J. (2007). Suffering, selfish, slackers? Myths and reality about emerging adults. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(1), 23–29.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Benson, J. E., Johnson, M. K., & Elder, G. H., Jr. (2012). The implications of adult identity for educational and work attainment in young adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 48(6), 1752–1758.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Brandell, J. R. (2010). Contemporary psychoanalytic perspectives on attachment. Psychoanalytic Social Work, 17(2), 132–157.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. McAdams, D. P., Bauer, J. J., Sakaeda, A. R., Anyidoho, N. A., Machado, M. A., Magrino-Failla, K., … Pals, J. L. (2006). Continuity and change in the life story: A longitudinal study of autobiographical memories in emerging adulthood. Journal of Personality, 74(5), 1371–1400.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. O’Connor, M., Sanson, A., Hawkins, M. T., Letcher, P., Toumbourou, J., Smart, D., … Olsson, C. (2011). Predictors of positive development in emerging adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(7),860–874.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Robinson, O. C., & Smith, J. A. (2010). The stormy search for self in early adulthood: Developmental crisis and the dissolution of dysfunctional personae. The Humanistic Psychologist, 38(2), 120–145.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Rodriguez, P. D., & Ritchie, K. L. (2009). Relationship between coping styles and adult attachment styles. Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences, 13, 131–141.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Smits, I., Doumen, S., Luyckx, K., Duriez, B., & Goossens, L. (2011). Identity styles and interpersonal behavior in emerging adulthood: The intervening role of empathy. Social Development, 20(4), 664–684.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Specht, J., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. C. (2011). Stability and change of personality across the life course: The impact of age and major life events on mean-level and rank-order stability of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(4), 862–882.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


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