Appendix A

Developmental Worksheets

The following three worksheets familiarize educators with developmental concepts related to lifecycle challenges that are both expected and related to unmitigated stress and trauma. These activities are designed to deepen the educator’s

  • familiarity with trauma-informed constructs, grounded in the integration of attachment theory and neurodevelopment;
  • insight into the professional importance of tending to Person of the Educator self-growth processes; and
  • ability to understand the processes of neural network development as they apply to student academic and social-behavioral challenges.


Each worksheet asks you to reflect on either your family’s relationship style or your own lifespan experiences. To prepare for these reflections, take a few moments and write out a brief description of your family, jotting down thoughts on the following topics:

  • Your Family’s Structure: Where did you grow up, and who raised you? What did your caretakers do for a living? How many siblings or other family members lived with you during your K-12 school years? What was your family’s cultural and socioeconomic context? This overview begins to jog your memory of family contextual factors that influenced family relationships.
  • Your Caretakers’ Family Background: For each of your primary caretakers, recall their family context as you did above for your family of origin experience. This overview helps you recall the experiences that shaped your caretakers’ adult relational style.
  • Your Family History: Figure 3.1 shows the ACE Survey. Read through the questions and note your score. What other relationship qualities describe your family that are not captured by the survey? This might include identifying strengths and challenges of significance to you.

Now you are ready to begin.

Worksheet A-1: Your Caretakers’ Attachment Style


  1. Review the basics of attachment theory in Figures 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4.
    • For a more detailed description of adult and child attachment styles (Figure 2.4), read through some of the resources listed at the end of Chapter 2, search Wikipedia, or do an internet search for additional resources describing some of the nuances of these styles.
    • Siegel’s The Developing Mind (2012) provides a rich review of attachment theory, including expanded descriptions of Main and Ainsworth style categories.
  2. Focusing on the description of Main’s adult attachment style, describe each of your caretakers’ style of providing attunement and mentoring.
    • Focus on their responses to you in general, but mostly in times of busyness or distress.
    • How did your caretakers manage emotional closeness and expressiveness?
    • How did they respond to you when you misbehaved or did not do as they wished?
    • Do these qualities match any of the attachment style descriptors?
    • Our attachment style is often a mix of these basic descriptors, and changes when we are under stress. Don’t be surprised if you see parent characteristics across multiple adult attachment styles.
  3. Next, review the descriptors of Ainsworth’s childhood attachment styles.
    • Your childhood attachment style characteristics will reflect how you learned to relate to your caretaker’s style of managing needs for emotional closeness and distance, along with their ability to attune to your needs and respond in a way that felt safe, supportive, and mentoring.
    • To learn more about the distinctives of each style, use the resources referenced above.
  4. And lastly, ponder characteristics of your current adult attachment style. It tends to look different in various types of relationships and depending on current pressures.
    • In general, in adult mutual friendships and intimate relationships, how do you see yourself regulating your need for closeness and distance, sharing or holding back on your inner thoughts and feelings, and tracking the inner experiences of relational others?
    • With your children, dependent adults, or even pets, what is your style of tracking and responding to others’ needs, of being able to decenter your needs to remain in the parent or caretaking role?
    • In mutual and caretaking relationships, what is easy or difficult?
  5. Hold on to these reflections as you chart your encounters with various developmental themes in the next worksheet.

Worksheet A-2: Psychosocial Developmental Review

Erikson views each stage’s challenges as themes we wrestle with across the lifespan, even though we have a critical time period when a particular theme might be most central or crucial given a particular psychosocial demand. The struggle and strength highlighted as central to each challenge are not an either/or, but a both/and experience we each have as relational, higher-ordered thinking human beings. The goal is not to avoid or never experience the negative side of each challenge; that would contribute to stagnation and lack of growth. Rather, it is to have the inner reserves to make sense of it and respond in life-affirming ways, as well as to live our day-to-day lives resting more in the positive outcomes of each stage.


For each of the eight original stages as listed below and discussed in Chapter 2, reflect on the following questions. If helpful, reacquaint yourself with the nuances of each stage’s challenge by referring back to a favorite human growth textbook or searching for internet resources summarizing Erikson’s stages.

  1. Describe your earliest encounters with the central themes and challenges of each stage. Don’t worry about whether your experience corresponds to its critical time period. For example, many of us face regret and the reality of our mortality long before we reach the latter years of our lives.
  2. Describe your current encounters with the central themes and challenges of each stage. For some themes, you will be well acquainted with your ongoing encounter with the challenges and your growth; for others, you may only have had a few iterations with the themes or not many at all. It’s all good!
  3. After you have reflected on each stage, do certain themes arise? What is new, inspiring, or alarming?
  4. Use your own ongoing encounters with developmental (wisdom-making) challenges to deepen your awareness of the challenges faced by each of your students. Also, use this renewed encounter with developmental processes to feed your thinking when designing scaffolded social-emotional learning experiences with your students.

Stage (Life Cycle) Infancy Age (Relative) 0-12 months

Crisis (Challenge) Trust v. Mistrust

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Hope: Enduring belief despite dark urges and rages (fear). I can trust despite risk.

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Withdrawal: Social and emotional detachment.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) Toddler Age (Relative) 1-3 years

Crisis (Challenge) Autonomy v. Shame and Doubt

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Will: Increased judgement and decision in drive application despite shame and doubt. Engage rather than avoid.

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Compulsion: Any behavior we repeat on impulse or to resist impulse to distract against shame & doubt.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) Early Childhood Age (Relative) 3-6 years

Crisis (Challenge) Initiative v. Guilt

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Purpose: Courage to envision and pursue goals despite guilt, fear, self-sabotage impulses.

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Inhibition: Psychological restraint (i.e., ignoring, denying) against freedom of thought, expression, activity.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) School Age Age (Relative) 6-12 years

Crisis (Challenge) Industry v. Inferiority

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Competence: Free use of skill and intellect unimpaired by infantile inferiority (deep sense of inferiority, fear of judgement, failure).

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Inertia: Paralysis of action, thought; prevents work; lack of confidence that it is OK to succeed or fail.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) Adolescent Age (Relative) 12-18 years

Crisis (Challenge) Identity v. Role Confusion

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Fidelity: Sustain loyalties (trustworthiness) freely given despite inevitable value system contradictions. Community is not about sameness.

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Isolation: Lack of connections; withdraw.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) Young Adult Age (Relative) 18-34 years

Crisis (Challenge) Intimacy v. Isolation

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Love: Mutual devotion subduing antagonisms of divided function. “I love you even though you are SO different than me.”

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Exclusivity: Elitist shutting out of others we do not accept or who do not conform to our standards.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) Maturity Age (Relative) 35-55 years

Crisis (Challenge) Generativity v. Self-Absorption

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Care: Widening concern for what generated by love, necessity, or accident.

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Rejectivity: Unwilling to include certain others in one’s generative concern.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Stage (Life Cycle) Old Age Age (Relative) 55 years and older

Crisis (Challenge) Integrity v. Despair and Disgust

Outcome: Ego Quality (A Strength) Wisdom: Detached (it’s not about me and what I want), active concern (care) in face of death (temporality of all things).

Outcome: Core Pathology (A Vulnerability) Indifference: No care; withdraw and inertia. Bitterness: Scorn for self and other.

Your Earliest Encounter Reflections:



Your Current Encounter Reflections:



Worksheet A-3: Your Domains of Neural Integration

Take in all that you have observed about your own functioning as you worked through the questions in Chapter 2, examined Figure 2.5, and read through the remainder of this text. Note a few summary thoughts regarding how well and where you struggle with each domain, remembering that each of these elements contributes to integrated, whole functioning, often referred to as mindfulness. Identify an experience that may have been a catalyst for growth in each domain, as well as a goal you might have for continued growth. Use your reflections as part of your Person of the Educator and Compassion Fatigue Self-Care Plan discussed in Chapter 12. Neural integration is the nuts and bolts of what wisdom-making might look like—something we nurture our entire lives; we are all on a journey with each domain. Where are you?












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Trauma-Informed School Practices by Anna A. Berardi and Brenda M. Morton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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