Adult development: what works for whom, when and where?

Henry, Jane (2009). Adult development: what works for whom, when and where? In: 24th Annual Adult Development Symposium, 31 Mar - 01 Apr 2009, Denver, USA.



This session reports on a series of face to face and questionnaire based studies designed to examine what adult participants believe have helped them achieve lasting personal change and improvement in wellbeing. The participants are managers, educators and those interested in psychology. The bulk of the sample is European. The effective strategies vary considerably across people, they include social, non-analytical and physical as well as psychological approaches based round reflection and insight. Many of the favoured approaches seem at odds with strategies offered by mainstream development and caring professionals. Analytical approaches are claimed by many to have been counterproductive. There is a relationship between the type of feeling, thought or behaviour participants wish to change, the strategies they find effective and ineffective and disposition. The findings appear to challenge mainstream wisdom about psychological approaches to personal change and do not sit easily with mainstream models of development.

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