Over the years, there have been dozens of psychologists who have proposed hundreds of different theories regarding human development. These theories are read by educational professionals, who incorporate the parts of the theories that they believe in, into their own personal philosophy regarding childhood development, what should and should not be done.
School counselors by the nature of their training are developmental specialists, and in practice, professional judgments about a person's problems are often based on developmental concerns. For instance, school consultation often focuses on whether problems manifested by a child are "normal" developmental concerns or whether there are other explanations for the behavior. It is a good strategy therefore to review the developmental theories to help understand a counselor's possible view regarding the needs of individuals during counseling and at different points in their lives. The goal of this paper is to highlight some classical ideas from the developmental literature and present contemporary ideas relating to concerns of individuals in the 21st century. The major developmentalists reviewed are Arnold Gesell, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg and Erik Erikson.
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