Development in Early Adulthood

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore and connect Psychosocial, Cognitive, and Psychosexual Development
  • Explore and connect another Theory, Approach, or Perspective to work in critical thinking skills for client assessments
  • Exploring important aspects of a person’s experience and ability to justify why they are important


Don and Keith
Photo by Shelby Cohron on Unsplash

Don Stephens, 25 y/o, and Keith James, 33 y/o, have been together for 7 years. They married last year when New York legalized same sex marriages through legislation and are now planning to be parents for the first time this fall. They decided they wanted to expand their family shortly after getting married and found a surrogate, Paige, who is now 6 months pregnant with twins. While they are ecstatic, Don and Keith are both starting to experience anxiety about what it will be like to be parents. They do not have financial concerns but are struggling more with the uncertainties of the future: Will they be good fathers? Will they be able to care for TWO babies at once? Will their children face hardships due to having gay parents?

They have decided to begin therapy with a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) for some support. She greets them warmly and asks what brings them in to see her. Don and Keith share their story and uncertainties related to becoming fathers.

Don shares some of his childhood experiences with his own father, who was verbally abusive, and fears he will be “just like my dad, because that’s all I know, I mean, can you even be a good father when you didn’t have one yourself? How will I know what to do? I have my dad’s temper and I’m afraid it’s going to come out if I get mad and that’s the last thing I want, my kids to fear me or me say something I don’t mean and then I’ll ruin them. I’m also not working right now. I’m planning to go to graduate school, but I’m still not sure about what I really want to do….”.

Keith shares his fears are more related to societal views and responses to their family. He states “It’s hard being a gay man or couple sometimes, I see the way some people look at us when we walk by and that’s so hard in itself some days, I can’t imagine how much more it will hurt when we have our children. It keeps me up at night thinking about how our children may be treated simply because of who their parents are or what their family looks like”. 

Critical Thinking:

  1. What stage of Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development are they currently in? Are they meeting the goals of this stage? Examples? Are they demonstrating any struggles with their goals in this stage? Examples?
  2. What theory, approach, or perspective from previous Dimensions (PIE, Biopsychosocial, Sociocultural, or Social Change) would you use to assess this client? Why?
  3. What do you feel are the most important aspects (physical development, attachment, sexual development, etc) to consider for this client? Why?


Hutchinson, E. D. (2019). Dimensions of human behavior (Sixth edition). Sage Publications, Inc.



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Human Behavior and the Social Environment I Copyright © 2020 by Susan Tyler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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