DevelopmentalCounseling and Therapy is an integrated theory of assessment and treatment that recognizes a person changes over time and in different situations.Rather than viewing the individual as a static entity that has one true self that needs discovering, developmental therapy suggests that as a person changes so does their sense of self. Change can occur as result of personal growth or environmental influences. Developmental theory is grounded in postmodernthought.Postmodern thought argues that the self constantly changes and interacts with the environment differently in different contexts and over time. The postmodern paradigm rests on the idea of narrative possibility, or the idea that anything is possible.Developmental Counseling and Therapy is an adaptation of Piaget's theory of childdevelopment.Piaget found that children had four levels of development. DCT took those four levels and postulated that adults recreate the levels as they as they encounter changing contexts and tasks over a lifetime.Piaget’s four levels of development are sensorimotor, concrete, formal, and post-formal.Piaget organized the levels in a successive hierarchy whereas DCT sees as much value in sensorimotor development as post-formal development. In DCT a higher developmental level is not better it is just different.Developmental Counseling and Therapy took Piaget’s developmental levels and defined them as orientationsthat need to be considered and worked through in therapy.Each orientation requires different frames of reference and the sum of them all represents the whole person. Depending on where a person is at in their therapy they will be working on different orientations.Piaget referred to the process of accommodation as the act of receiving information from the environment.Accommodation was seen as the first part of cognitive development.
According to Piaget, the second part required for cognitive development is assimilation.Assimilation is the act of imposing our perceptions on the environment. Although accommodation and assimilation are inseparable one can be the primary operative at any given time. Piaget's hypothesis was that finding balance between assimilation and accommodation would lead to positive, adaptive development. In other words the person would learn and grow from the interaction with the environmental stimuli.Assimilatedknowledge represents what we have come to understand as the truth based on our interactions with the environment over time.This internalized information forms the basis for personal growth and development. If a person’s assimilated knowledge is flawed or maladaptive, that can lead to stunted personal development.Developmental Counseling and Therapy is a holistic framework that requires multiple perspectives.
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