Mastering The 4 Stages Of #Development … #Psychology


(The following excerpt from Mastering The 4 Stages Of Development by Robert Taibbi, L.C.S.W., recently appeared on To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

So you already know this: we move through developmental stages, step by step. Macro to micro – large motor movement to fine motor. One word to 3 words. Walk at nine months or 15 months. Fifteen second attention span to… 30 second attention span? The problem is that we all move at different rates, and we more importantly we can easily get stuck at certain points along the way.

Here is a simple but useful version of development that I learned long ago:

Dependence. This is every kid. I can’t take care of myself and so I lean on my parents. They ( my parents) set up my world, the rules for living that make up my life and survival. Sure, there are things I don’t like, behaviors that wound me, but I need to find some way to cope and adapt. Ultimately, if they don’t do well, I don’t do well.

Counterdependence. I’m done leaning on parents, tired of following their rules,time to break away. You say black I say white. And if you don’t say black I’ll push you to say black so I can say white. I tell you how you’re a hypocrite and let you know you’re not as smart as you think. I pull away and bounce into my peer group where we both complain about our parents and experiment by trying to see what we can get away with. By experimenting we begin to discover what we like and don’t like.

Independence. Okay, I no longer need to bounce off of parents, done with that. I’m standing on my own two feet, I’m my own person…sort of.

Independence is a fragile stage and in the really early stages can be a ridiculously staunch self- sufficiency. When I was 23, married, had a child and a house, I mentioned to my father that I was going to put a new roof on my house. He offered to come down and help. I told him that that was okay, I didn’t need his help, I was going to have some friends do it with me. I turned down his offer because I knew that if I got within ten feet of my dad I would turn into a ten year old. He’d take over and I would spend the day following him around and handing him nails. It was my house! I needed to do myself.

Interdependence. Fast forward ten years and I mention to my father that I’m planning on finishing my basement. He offers to help. I say, come on down and bring your hammer.

Interdependence means that I can stand on my own two feet but realize that I can’t do everything myself, that I can accept help from others, and their help isn’t a threat to my independence.

Okay, sounds good. While we talk about stages, it is a continuum with transition zones along the way, and under stress you can slip back – on a bad day I’m not so interdependent and want to do it myself. That’s fine. The bigger problem is, like a variation on Freud’s oral / anal, etc. stages, you can get stuck at one stage and struggle as an adult in relationships and negotiating life. Here’s what you might see:

Dependence: Folks who becoming stuck here easily become overwhelmed. They tend, like the child, to seek out and lean on someone who can help them – a partner, a therapist, or even stay glued to their parents. They tend to be passive and reactive rather than proactive, and like the young child have a stance that I’m happy if you’re happy. They avoid confrontation and often walk on eggshells.

Counter-dependence: You’ve met folks like this. They may be forty years old but they can easily seem like they’re fifteen at times. They can easily get ramped up and oppositional to anything that feels authoritative and limiting – a new snow policy at work, for example.

This same stance of “me against you” can spill over to intimate relationships, but take on a flavor of passive-aggressiveness and secrecy: At times being “good” and doing what their partner wants, and other times doing it a half-ass way, or sneaking off doing what they know would upset the other person – getting glued to a video game, acting out through shopping, or worse, having an affair.

These folks have a rebellious streak that easily gets set off, but like dependent folks are often unassertive in intimate relationships.

Independent. They are self sufficient. I do myself. I don’t need help, don’t need advice. I may not get angry and ornery like the counter-dependence folks do, but I need to do it my way.

Their boundaries are clear and rigid, a bit too rigid. Others can see them as stubborn. Because they fear becoming dependent, they can hard to get close to; they struggle with openness and intimacy.

Interdependence. It’s easy to like these folks. They’re solid and open and generally calm. They may disagree with the new policy at work, but they raise their objection without the anger or angst. They may not really want to do what their partner asks of them, but they either speak up and say so, or decide they though it isn’t important to them, it is important to the other guy and they do it because they want to show that they care. They are independent in a lot of ways, but they realize they don’t need to be Superman and that there are some things that they just can’t do, and are not shy about asking for help. Because they are more open to others, they can be more intimate.

 A good way to be, yes?

So where are you in this developmental process? If you’re stuck in some way, the challenge is to realize your limitations – your self-sufficiency, your dependence, your rebellion – uncover the underlying fear, and use your rational mind to deliberately move forward. Talk about the work policy but curb the drama; take the risk of asking for help and giving up control; take small but important steps to do things on your own, rather than taking what you can get or leaning on others. It’s not about correcting deficiencies but about becoming more flexible and well-rounded.

Take charge of your own growing up.

#2014: The Year In #Photos


(The following post entitled 2014: The Year In Photos recently appeared on To view the slideshow in its entirety click on the link below.)

A photo of the setting sun captured as it appears to be teetering on top of the Keops Pyramid, or Great Pyramid, in Egypt, shot by 35-year-old Jorge Cano from the window of his ninth floor apartment in Cairo on August 27, 2014. Used by with permission from Cano.
Cano, an Argentinian national who lives in Egypt and works as an engineer for a global supply company, lives on the ninth floor of an apartment building in south Cairo’s Maadi neighborhood.
He told in an email that when he moved to Cairo, he specifically sought out an apartment with a view of the pyramids.
“I’m not a professional photographer, but I’m passionate about taking pictures,” he said.
During his time there, he’s taken many photos of the pyramids and the setting sun. He had pictures of the sun just to the right of the Great Pyramid and pictures of the sun just to its left. But the money shot eluded him for more than a year.
“Then I just made an estimation and was waiting for the day [that the sun would be perfectly positioned],” he explained. “Finally I’ve got the shot.”


A spectacular photo is the sum of many things — advanced skill, a sharp eye, anticipation, a little bit of luck, to name a few. What sets some apart, though, is the photos that capture a moment and illustrate life in a way that others don’t quite do.

In 2014, there were many sensational photos captured by all sorts of photographers, professional photojournalists and self-described amateurs alike. chronicled a fair amount of those photos, many shot by Getty and Associated Press photographers and others shot by amateurs. Many of those people behind the cameras talked about some amount of luck being involved in snagging their memorable moments — moments that all by themselves tell a whole story.

Among some of the best was a photo of the setting sun appearing to be positioned directly atop Egypt’s famed Great Pyramid. It was captured by Jorge Cano, a self-described amateur, whose careful planning and perseverance paid off in an unforgettable way. The Argentinian national told that upon moving to Cairo, he sought an apartment that would provide him with breathtaking views of the pyramids.

After he found the perfect place, he then tried and tried to nail the shot, waiting for the sun and the Earth to align properly and the weather to cooperate. Finally, on August 27, 2014, he made his masterpiece.

Another mind-bending image captured by an amateur, Rich Shelton, was a shot of a Blue Angels fighter whizzing by the support towers of the Golden Gate Bridge at a cool 350 mph.

Still another, shot by Gina Hyams, an amateur photographer who was looking out the window of the airplane she was riding aboard, depicts a cloud-to-ground lightning strike. It is perhaps the most improbable of all. Hyams used her iPhone’s photo burst feature to capture the extraordinary shot, which you can see in the above slide show.

Take a few moments to click through the gallery above and look back at the best of the year’s best — the funny, the sad, the violent, and the captivating pictures that illustrated life here on Earth in 2014.

And if you missed our monthly photo roundups along the way, scroll down and click through each month’s collection, going back to February when began chronicling monthly photos.

#Moral Lessons From Story Time … Happy Ending May Promote #Honesty


(The following excerpt from Moral Lessons from Story Time by Fran C.Blumberg, Ph.D., recently appeared on To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

Hardbound story books may be going the way of the pay phone but clearly not the act of parents reading to their children. For example, a recent Pew Research Center survey (Miller, Zickhur, Rainie, & Purcell, 2013) indicated that 58% of parents read daily to their preschool-aged children; 50% read daily to their children aged 12 and under. What parents read to their children probably includes stories adapted from the newest animated movie or as my co-blogger, Ariel Blum and I remember, classic stories that communicated a moral message. So, how likely it is it that this message will be received? Work by Lee, Talwar, McCarthy, Ross, Evans, and Arruda (2014) provide some insight.

In one study, three- to seven-year-old Canadian children heard one of four classic stories: Pinocchio, The Boy who Cried Wolf, George Washington and the Cherry Tree, or The Tortoise and the Hare (which served as a control story). In all stories but the last, the protagonist told a lie. In the case of the Pinocchio, and The Boy who Cried Wolf, the protagonist lied and suffered negative consequences for having done so. In George Washington and the Cherry Tree, the protagonist initially lied but experienced positive consequences for having been honest afterwards. Before hearing one of the stories, the children played a guessing game with the experimenter in which they were to identify two toys based on their characteristic sound (e.g. a quack for a toy duck). Before children were supposed to identify a third toy, the experimenter briefly left the room, placed the toy on the table, and told them not to peek at it. Unbeknownst to the children, their behaviors were video-recorded to determine whether they had peeked. When the experimenter re-entered the room, she covered the toy and then read one of the stories. Children then were asked whether telling lies was appropriate and whether they had peeked at the toy. Findings showed that most children had peeked. However, children were less likely to peek with age. Notably, children told the George Washington story were less likely to lie about having peeked than those who heard the control story.

This finding was maintained in a similar follow-up study with the same aged children. Here, children were told the control story, the original George Washington story, and a modified version of it in which the negative ramifications of telling a lie were emphasized over the positive ones for having confessed the truth. These patterns of findings showed that stories emphasizing the virtues of being honest were more inclined to facilitate children’s honesty in the experimental situation than those emphasizing the negative consequences of having lied.

So, what’s the moral of Lee and colleagues’ research? Well, let’s just say that maybe when it comes to encouraging young children’s honesty, there’s something to be said for happy endings.