A Critical Approach to Human Growth and Development: A Textbook for Social Work Students and Practitioners

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Becoming human, as we grow and develop, is common to us all but each one of us experiences these processes differently. For social workers and other health and social care professionals understanding human growth and development is the core of the knowledge base. Working with people and alongside people means that both an instinctual and thought-through understanding of “what is going on here?” underpins every interaction. We don”t always know we are doing it. Some people are instinctively better at making sense of other people”s behaviour than are others. We all still have much to learn and that includes learning about the way we fit into the myriad of human equations that make up our professional (and private) lives.
So much has been written over the years under the label of “human growth and development” it is easy to make assumptions that there is a shared understanding about what these concepts mean. Does it mean that there are “normal” pathways of growth and development? Does it mean that growth and development are “positive” factors that increase capacities? Is there a set trajectory of development through life?
We grow in size and shape and in our physical capabilities. A newborn infant is able to grasp and suck but unable to stand or hold. As Shakespeare, who so graphically portrayed our seven ages indicated, developing skills, desires, abilities and experiences eventually become (in)capabilities, once again. In between times we undergo many physical changes, from puberty and pregnancy through complications of acute and physical illness and the changes that these might bring.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2012

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