Is personality "in the genes"?

Do our infant experiences matter, even though we can’t remember them?

Why do patterns repeat within the lives of individuals and families?

The Stages of Life provides  answers to these and other intriguing questions, and  presents a  refreshingly readable introduction to human development from birth to death. The book synthesises those theories and research findings that are most helpful in explaining the paradoxes and complexities of human personality and human problems.

The book provides a thought-provoking discussion of several important topics, including:

  • how personality evolves in response to both genetic and social influences
  • how individuals differ and what this means for them
  • how some problems tend to develop at particular stages of the life course, from early childhood through to midlife and old age.

Throughout the book, Hugh Crago relates both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ to the challenges individuals must face from early childhood through to old age. He draws attention to often-ignored clinical findings about ‘cross generational repetition’ in families, and shows how recent developments in epigenetics may supply an explanation for such mysterious phenomena.

Written without jargon, and full of new and provocative ideas, the book will be of great interest to students of counselling and psychotherapy, and it is also has much to offer the general reader. With its engaging examples from history, literature and the author’s own life, readers will find that The Stages of Life illuminates puzzles in their own lives and opens a road to self-acceptance.

chapter 1|12 pages

The End and the Beginning

chapter 2|18 pages

‘Not in Utter Nakedness’

Temperament and attachment

chapter 3|26 pages

‘Heaven Lies about us in our Infancy’

The pre-school years

chapter 4|17 pages

Widening Horizons

Pre-school to high school

chapter 5|22 pages

Discovering Self and Sex


chapter 6|20 pages

‘The Tide is High’

Young adulthood

chapter 7|19 pages

‘The Maker and the Made’

Committed relationship and parenthood

chapter 9|19 pages


Midlife to late adulthood