I have greatly increased my knowledge about how the mind works by taking this course. In particular, I have gained information about the developing brain as well as the aging brain which will aid me in my counseling work with all ages. First, I learned that the development of a baby’s brain is highly dependent on interactions with caregivers. The first three years of life are crucial, and if a child is neglected or abused during this time, the effects of trauma will be clear in the structure of the brain (Gerhardt, 2009). Bowlby’s attachment theory provides an interesting pathway to explain how this happens.Second, I have learned that problems such as Alzheimer’s can be reduced by keeping both the mind and body active (Klemm, 2012). Nutrition, especially eating foods that decrease inflammation and avoiding those that increase it, is also essential. Magnesium is just one of the many crucial dietary elements, and it has been shown to result in better memory skills and to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (Lilienfeld, 2009).
I will be able to use this information as I counsel people of all ages. For example, when working with families and young children, I will know to look for signs of neglect and abuse in a child with neurodevelopmental issues. Although these problems can be caused by a number of physical disorders as well, I now am aware of the importance of caregiver interactions.
Similarly, I will know that an older individual with memory problems might be helped by a diet higher in magnesium or increased exercise. Intellectual activity, such as working crosswords or Sudoku and reading books, also improves memory, as does creative expression. I now have specific suggestions to make to older clients and their families.
As a result of this course, I have learned that psychological issues are not “all in the mind,” they are based in biology. This is a key point because some people believe that if psychological problems are “all in the mind,” they are not real problems. They are a matter of choice. This is clearly not the case! I would recommend this course to anyone I know because it provides a unique perspective on the human mind, its growth, development, and aging across the lifespan.

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