Anyone working with children and adolescents needs to have a strong sense of the developmental perspective in their work with their clients. By this I mean that it is crucial that the child’s presentation is understood in the context of a grasp of the particular features, challenges and tasks of their age group. How we understand a child and how we assess their ways of functioning has to be closely connected to their developmental stage, and if we are to see what is going badly or well for them we need to have a sense of where their development is progressing as expected and where it may be blocked or slow, or indeed precocious and premature. We also need to have a sense of what their key underlying preoccupations are likely to be at different ages, so that we can better tune in to how they are managing the transitions inherent in growing up.
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