’The book is aimed at students training for careers in the helping professions, including nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, teachers and counsellors.’
Title: Human Growth and Development
Authors: Chris Beckett and Hilary Taylor
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Reviewer: Rebecca Myatt, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
What was it like?
This book is an introduction to human development based on psychosocial development. It aims to help us understand who we are through reference to well-known theories including Freud, Skinner, and Bowlby. It looks at human development as a practical matter as opposed to academic subject and as such it is easily accessible and an enjoyable read
The book describes how human development is a dynamic process, incorporating both internal and environmental forces. The chapters are ordered so that they loosely follow the stages of human life, so begins with the birth of a human being and then considers subjects such as; nature as opposed to nurture, free will versus predetermination and how events can shape an individual in terms of their development and resilience. The final chapter covers death, dying and bereavement and reflects on the individual experience of death as well as how death impacts on the family and wider society. Between these are fascinating sections, which give insights into how and why we develop as we do and what influences us along the way. The language throughout is unambiguous and accessible, the summaries are concise and the case studies give good practical applications to the theoretical concepts.
What were the highlights?
The whole book is clear and approachable; there are bullet points at the beginning of each chapter and a concluding summary at the end. There are activities to work through in your own time followed by comments on the activity giving insight into factors that could have influenced the process. There are figures, tables and diagrams to break up the text, which are concise and relevant. At the end of each chapter there are suggestions for further reading that supports and enhances the discussion within the text. The book is extremely well referenced.
Strengths & weaknesses:
The book is easy to understand and well structured. The ideas are presented in a logical and coherent format, which makes it a fascinating read.
Who should read it?
The book is aimed at students training for careers in the helping professions, including nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, teachers and counsellors. As well as being an excellent introduction for these professions, I think it would be useful as a summary for anyone considering further study, which has a significant psychology component.