CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THIS BOOK The study of human development over the life span reveals the fascinating story of human beings and how they change over time. The story is both universal and uniquely personal, because it speaks to us about ourselves and the people who are important to us in our lives. Besides being intrinsically interesting, knowledge about development has obvious relevance for professionals engaged in counseling, social work, and other helping fields. We believe that in order to understand our clients and the nature of their problems, we must see clients in context. One important context is clients' developmental history. As helping professionals, we must take into account the threads of continuity and change in people's lives that bring them to their present point in development. This text provides the background and the tools to enable professionals to view their clients from a developmental perspective. This text also reflects the contemporary view that life span development is a process deeply embedded within and inseparable from the context of family, social network, and culture. People do not progress through life in isolation; rather their developmental course influences and is influenced by other people and systems. Some of these influences are related to the cultural differences that exist in a world of increasing diversity. We recognize the importance of these factors in understanding human development and emphasize cultural and systemic influences on human growth and change throughout the book. Knowledge about development increases every day, making it exceptionally difficult to summarize this dynamic field. Presumably, every author needs to make some choices about what to include in a book of this nature. This particular text is configured to emphasize selected theories and research that have useful applications for helping professionals. The main purpose of this book is to provide students in the helping professions with information that can be translated into professional "best practice" applications. Throughout this text, we also emphasize the role of clinicians as reflective practitioners. Reflective practice involves "active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it leads" (Dewey, 1933/1998, p. 9). Our primary vehicle for accomplishing this goal is twofold: (1) encouraging the reader to reflect on personal experience and assumptions about development and (2) communicating the value of research-based knowledge as a means of understanding human development. Our particular orientation intentionally emphasizes the significance of developmental research to the work of the professional helper. We attempt to integrate various lines of developmental research into a useful whole that has practical value for helpers in applied settings. In so doing, this book bears witness to the enormous amount of work done by developmental researchers, particularly in the last several decades. Without their groundbreaking efforts, clinicians' own work to improve people's lives would be greatly impoverished. It has been a challenge and an honor to record their contributions in this book. COVERAGE AND ORGANIZATION The opening chapters establish the theme of the text and introduce broad issues in development. Chapter 1 begins with an examination of the role of developmental knowledge in reflective practice. Students are introduced to theoretical models and issues that appear and reappear throughout the text. They are encouraged to reflect on their own theoretical assumptions about development and on the impact those assumptions could have in clinical practice. Boxed features help students understand how developmental processes are studied scientifically and how scientifically established information can be useful in practice. Chapter 2 takes a close look atBroderick, Patricia C. is the author of 'Life Span Human Development for Helping Professionals', published 2002 under ISBN 9780130144256 and ISBN 0130144258.