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July 23, 2013

Essay on Sullivan’s Developmental Theory

Sullivan’s developmental theory
The man behind the child developmental theory, Harry Stack Sullivan was born in an American family on 21 February 1892. He was an Irish-American catholic. He was the only child in his family. Sullivan’s own life’s incidents led him to write down a theory which will help in the psychiatric treatment with a growing child. His mother married his father beneath her status. Since his parents attained his life after lose of two infants, they were little more protective towards him especially his mother which resulted that he started losing his attachments from his father. But Sullivan’s father endured his attentions through church visits. The church sermons about sexual Puritanism inspire him to pose the adolescent problem.
     Sullivan believed that a person goes through several stages in his emotional and physical development which includes sensory, muscular, locomotors, latency, and adolescent. In the face of sensory infant learns to develop trust relationships. An anxiety transferred to him at the time of his birth by his mother later on it converts into response to threat. He believed that the dynamism reduces the feeling of anxiety. According to him dynamism is the way out of human fears or the needs which help in the decrement of tension. In the muscular phase or toddlerhood child learn his individuality.  It is the phase which taught self determination to the kid. Most of the child’s time is spent in being loved, cared and pampered by adults, which is necessary for his development. One to three years is the era in which the process of separation from tenderness takes place gradually. Now he has to know how to deal with his fears independently. Three to six years is the stage of locomotors or preschool in which child’s own identity matters a lot to him. A great emotional and mental development occurred in the period of one to six years. It is the stage in which the parents are teaching their child how to use toilet. Most importantly they want to do their tasks independently. A child tends to behave negatively with a “walk away” attitude, this response is the sign of saying no to things but this behavior is not intentional. Before the Sullivan’s developmental theory the child’s mind was assumed to be unformed and inexperienced and any incident that happened will have no effect in his future life. Sullivan is one of the first theorists who worked in this area of interest to change the misconceptions perceived by people regarding child’s mental growth. He believed that the behavior of children in first three stages could be affected by rewards and punishments and that the personality of the children would become unbalanced and their growth would be in disequilibrium state if the child suffers mental stress. According to Sullivan children of this era starts personification in which they percept characters of each individual they know in their mind which might not be the real picture of the person. He believed that they created a self-system in which they began to develop three personifications in their context that is; good me, bad me, and not me. When they received tenderness, reward or care they experiences good me where as if they get a clue of anxiety or negativity they undergoes bad me. In the most anxiety they go through not me experience. They should be satisfied with good behavior for the growth of interpersonal relationship.
      The juvenile era or latency phase is the stage when they began their schooling. This is the era in which they learned socialism, their personality starts to rectify. Their world is now changed due to the presence of a lot people with different background. In this era juvenile learn two major things first one is the discrimination of authority which they experience in school in the form of teachers and principals because they enforces certain limitations on them and they have to respond according to them. The existence of different people in this new world led this juvenile to learn how to accept the people of the same age with all their differences. According to Sullivan in the schooling system they perceive groups which are popular, non popular or average. This era leaves with the ability in them to develop interpersonal relationship with the people from different background and to compromise with the required situation to maintain that relationship, with the knowledge of getting chances to increase their prestige.
     Finally they enter the era of adolescence in the age of eight to ten years. The movement towards adulthood starts with the feeling of interpersonal intimacy. In this era the chum goes through a major psychological changes because he can now feel others perceptions towards him. According to Sullivan the most important part of this phase is that they want to acquire leadership responsibilities for which they tend to form gangs which Sullivan called “two groups”. Sullivan said that in this age the chum goes through lust dynamism because of his wish to grow early. The restrictions that are applied on the child to forbid them from contacting people and redistricting them from experiencing things of their interest might prevent necessary changes to take place in their personality; Sullivan says that these are “restriction on freedom of living”. For the development of your child provide healthy environment to live in with a chance to explore them.
     The understanding of mental growth from infancy to childhood is necessary for remarkable interpersonal relationship; it helps in the emergence of their behavior. In the juvenile era they acquire the experiences of socialism and meet the authority figures. The epoch of adolescence introduces the feeling of their first love to them. They want to make challenges, go through intimacy and want satisfaction. In each of the above stages they go through different challenges to acquire a position of an important figure in the society.

Joseph Palomba, Harold k. Bendicsen, Barry J. Koch (2009). Guide to Psychoanalytic developmental theories. Springer
Fontane, Fletcher (2009). Mental Health Nursing (5th edition)


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