Psychology: Personal and Career Development

Although many thinks that focusing on self can be a destructive force, the psychological research has evidence that it is an important component to some positive changes in life. A great amount of theories related to self-regulation underlines the idea that positive changes, given the positive type of the individual’s self-focus, require two aspects: a set goal, and awareness of the current position for accessing the goal. In the day-to-day life, people have a lot of goals. Nevertheless, not all of the goals are realized because of the lack of self-awareness.

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Psychological research suggests that negative emotions caused by the awareness of the discrepancy between the goal and the current state are critical for encouraging self-improvement. There are a lot of things to learn from those who often engage in self-reflection. Whether it’s a Buddhist who meditates or a group of English philosophers who study the works of Immanuel Kant, being aware of self is a very important step in self- improvement. Moreover, it is quite reassuring to see a variety of traditions that have an influence on the themes identified in the psychological literature as crucial for self-improvement of an individual.

Reflective Journal

A reflective journal can be often very helpful in terms of personal development as well as career. Keeping a journal of the thoughts and reflections, as well as new knowledge acquired. The reflective journal can be used both throughout the studying process or a career as it includes what the person have done, what was learned as well as general thoughts on how a week or a month went by.

11 January 2016: Reading on Health, Wellbeing and Ageing

I’ve never given much thought to the supports and challenges to health and wellbeing at various stages of life, as unless a person has some health issues, it is not on the priority list. However, I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that some people can be born with mental health issues, and some develop them along the way. For example, there is now evidence that shows that the quality of childhood nourishment or nurturing has far-reaching effects in life. For instance, there is a lot of facts that support the idea that the quality of childhood care and support affects further psychological development.

Some major influences on the well-being of an infant that prevent mental issues later include good parental health, adequate child nutrition, and skilled caregivers that in case of any problems can give quality services as well as support (A Whole-of-Lifespan Approach to Mental Health and Mental Illness, n.d., p. 74). Thus, the genetic mental disorders cannot be prevented, however, taking good care of the child can be helpful in reducing some difficulties in the future psychological development.

12 January 2016: Reading on ‘Development and teenagers’

Life would be very boring if a person did not develop emotionally. As adults, we continue to learn from the new experiences as well as life changes. It’s not a secret that we also continue to develop physically. Because of the fact that there are less physical changes in adulthood, less attention is paid to them. However, there is a difference in the mental state of teenagers and adults during the span of their development. Teenagers wish to grow up and become mature and independent while some adults dread getting older. On the other hand, physical changes affect the psychological state of a person at any age, for example, first aging lines or extra weight during puberty and first aging lines can cause depression (Developing Adolescents: a Reference for Professionals, 2002, p. 8).

13 January 2016: Reading on Family system and development

Yesterday I mentioned the fact that early experiences can influence the later development. However, the most important aspect of the development is the relationship between a child and an authority figure, whether it is a mother, a grandfather or a caretaker. This relationship can be a medium for the child’s attachment to this person in the later years. As Fraigberg (1996) said, “Our personal identity – the very center of our humanness – is achieved through the early bonds of child and parent” (p. 294). Generally speaking, an attachment is a connection between an individual and the caretaker, a connection that has a deep emotional background.

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Various types of attachments can determine various stages of development. For example, children that have an insecure attachment to their mothers can direct more physical aggression and noncompliance toward their mother (Malekpour, 2007, p. 86).

15 January 2016: Reading on life-span development psychology

I read an article written in 1987, a bit old, but I have learnt something from this article. According to Baltes (1987), the life-span developmental psychology is a field of psychological studies that is connected with examining the constancy as well as changes in human behavior as well as life span (p. 611). In my opinion, the goal of developmental psychology is to further our knowledge of how the human development changes during the course of life, as well as developing the knowledge on differences and similarities in development in different individuals. One of the key assumptions of developmental psychology includes the fact that the term ‘development’ is connected to the changes that dominate the person’s life.

16 January 2016: Summary

I’ve always thought that applying theory to practice is always a tedious task, as theory is just theory. However, when studying developmental psychology, I found out that I can easily apply some principles into real life. For example, I can now assure myself that every person experiences some psychological issues during their lifespan and that I am not alone in this. When it comes to the attachment theory, I now see how my relationship with my mother affected my development as an adult; in fact, I am now able to fix some issues we had.

Directed Reflection

The following section related to a directed reflection. The most significant although a gradual change in my development since early adolescence is recognizing that I am alone in this world as a person and that only I am responsible for my own actions. The awareness of this fact has pushed me into moving out of my parent’s house much earlier than my friends did and start working on my own. In my opinion, my realization is closely connected with the development of my ego. However, despite the realization that I am on my own in this life, I began to care more about others, offering my support and help.

The person’s identity becomes stronger with maturation, through works and other responsibilities, as well as a higher level of various defense mechanisms. Generative care for others and increasing insight into the self-represent developmental progressions manifest in part through mature defenses (Erikson & Erikson, 1998, p. 85). Such defenses occur in times when an individual struggles with coping during their psychological development. In such development, adults reach out to the social world and move upward in their consciousness.

Just as the individual’s defenses represent movement forward in maturity and upward in consciousness, they are also more socially centered than self-centered. This is Erikson’s concept of moving “outward” toward others as one develops in maturity and generativity (Hoare, 2005, p. 20). This outward-moving development that Erikson described is associated with progression of higher levels of ego development. In his opinion, the development of the ego means impulse control, reflectiveness as well as social development attributed to greater maturity. Freud highly influenced Erikson who was named a psychoanalytic scholar that gravitated towards the shift upward in consciousness, a shift outward in the social background, and the shift forward through the general life span.

Erik Erikson also put forward a view that the social world exists both outside as well as inside the psyche, rather than being completely external from the person as Freud thought (Hoare, 2005, p. 21). Similar to Freud, Erikson was interested in the way the individual’s personality and behavior are affected by various factors after being born, especially during early childhood and adolescence. The maturation change after moving from my parents’ house is identified in the fact that instead of being taken care of, I began to take care of others as well as myself. According to Erikson (1998), awareness is demanded to live with tact will all relationships (p. 9).

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I became aware of myself, my surroundings and my goals, which helped me to become much more sympathetic and caring for others. The theory of Erikson applies in this case, as he had some thoughts on the generations’ interaction, a process called mutuality.

For example, a problem in mutuality may occur with a teenager mother, when she is still involved in adolescence activities at the same time as taking care of her child and becoming a mature mother earlier than friends. I did also experience mutuality in my interaction with my parents, as they understood my desire to become independent from them and dedicate my life to interesting work and creating a new family on my own.


A Whole-of-Lifespan Approach to Mental Health and Mental Illness. (n.d.). Web.

Baltes, P. (1987). Theoretical Propositions of Life-Span Developmental Psychology: on the Dynamics Between Growth and Decline. Developmental Psychology, 23(5), 611-626.

Deleveloping Adolescents: a Reference for Professionals (2002). Web.

Erikson, E., & Erikson, J. (1998). The Life Cycle Completed. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

Fraiberg, S. (1996). The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Hoare, C. H. (2005). Erikson’s general and adult developmental revisions of Freudian thought: “Outward, forward, upward”. Journal of Adult Development, 12(1), 19-31.

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Malekpour, M. (2007). Effects of Attachment on Early and Later Development. The British Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 53(105), 81-95.

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