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Triad Counseling Study Group
Triad Counseling Study Group
5414 members
65 questions
127 posts

Welcome to the Triad Counseling Study Group!

This study group is moderated by a coach and exam prep expert who has passed the counseling exams.  The coach and exam prep expert regularly post study and exam-taking tips, practice questions, words of encouragement, and more.

Once you join the group you can:

  • Gain access to test strategies, motivation and inspiration, recommendations, and more, all tailored to your specific Counseling exam.
  • Connect with others studying for the same exam and create or join smaller, focused study groups.
  • Ask questions about the exam, content, or your study plan in the Study Group and get feedback and recommendations from the Triad coach or another community member.
  • Stay up-to-date with exam changes and updates.

DSM-5-TR Changes!

Are you familiar with the changes to the DSM-5? The DSM-5-TR (text revision) came out in March of 2022. Your counseling exam may include updated diagnostic info, depending on when you take it. 

The updated DSM changed some technical language in a handful of disorders and updated some symptoms as well. For example, you can still qualify for a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis, even if one of your depressive episodes was due to psychosis or a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, as long as at least one episode was not due to these. The new DSM also made some inclusive language changes to more accurately describe intersectional gender, cultural, and racial identities. 

The TR also totally switched to ICD-10 diagnostic codes, and it no longer uses other coding systems. It added some conditions for further study including Z code diagnoses for self-harm and suicidal behaviors. 

Finally, the DSM-5-TR includes a new diagnosis: F43.8 Prolonged Grief Disorder. This is somewhat similar to a former Z code diagnosis of Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder (since removed completely from the DSM), but it doesn't include psychotic symptoms. 

What questions do you have about the new DSM? Does anything excite you about it? 


Stage theory spotlight: Donald Super

Speaking of stage theories, an important one to remember is Donald Super's Career Development Theory.

There are a couple lists that you should associate with Super: his list of career development stages, and his list of life spaces. Super was known for his "life-span, life-space" framework. Life-spaces refer to social roles that we may occupy over time. Super identified six: child, student, leisurite, citizen, worker, and homemaker.

Within the life-span, Super identified five developmental stages, each with tasks we must accomplish to progress to subsequent stages. The stages are: growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and decline.

STOP. Before you potentially research each of these five stages and life-spaces in a night-caffeine-fueled-frenzy, take a look at them. I bet you can make an educated guess about the roles associated with each space and stage just by their title and their contrast to the other spaces/stages around them.

For instance, the second stage, exploration, typically occurs in early adulthood. During this stage, the individual experiments with their interests and starts figuring out what they might want to pursue as a career. Pausing for a sec and considering this stage in the context of the others, I bet you figured out at least part of that information. If you want to do a deep dive into each stage, go for it. But I recommend you distill what you learn into ONE OR TWO WORDS FOR EACH STAGE AND SPACE. This will be easier to remember, and you'll understand the basic framework come exam day.... (More)


Stage Models Versus Continuous Models

As you are studying developmental psychology - be it child development, career development, etc. - you'll run into both stage models and continuous ones. It's important to understand the differences between them.

Structural stage theories - such as Erikson's model of psychosocial development or Piaget's model of cognitive development - identify discrete periods or stages through which the individual must sequentially pass. If the individual doesn't complete the tasks or achieve the milestones associated with each stage, they experience a halt in their development. Stage theories are typically considered discontinuous because of this stair-step conceptualization. For instance, a child can't move to the pre-operational stage until they have completed the behavioral tasks and milestones associated with the sensorimotor one. 

By contrast, continuous models imagine human development as gradual and cumulative. I picture a spectrum of color. We can't draw distinct lines where blue stops and purple starts; they blend into one another. Often, we use biological examples to illustrate continuous developmental perspectives. I can't identify a specific time when I grew from 3 feet and 11 inches to 4 feet, but my mom noticed the exact day I started showing signs of language acquisition.

What is the most difficult part of these models to understand? Does anything jump out at you?


Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems

What are your favorite developmental theories? One of mine is Urie Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems model of chid development. Urie hit the scene in the 70s and was one of the first mainstream developmental theorists to really emphasize environment and context as they influence a growing child. In your mental spiderweb of theorists, I'd link Bronfenbrenner to Bandura and Vygotsky because of their emphasis on social influences.

The Big Thing To Remember with Bronfenbrenner's model is its identification of five nested systems located around and influencing the child. Here they are, working outward: 

  • Microsystem - immediate relationships/direct interactions (the kiddo's mom)
  • Mesosystem - connections between microsystem folks (a kiddo's classmate is friends with the kiddo's brother)
  • Exosystem - structures that influence microsystem folks (the neighborhood where the kiddo lives)
  • Macrosystem - cultural influences (the kiddo's race, socioeconomic status, etc.)
  • Chronosystem - time-specific influences unfolding over the course of the lifespan (climate change)

Which of the systems is the most difficult for you to wrap your head around?