Kalesha “Erikson never knew his own father; he

                                                    Kalesha PowellErik Erikson was a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst. He’s best known for his work in his theory that each stage of life is linked to a particular struggle, which contributes to a huge part of personality.

He was born in Germany on June 15,1902, he died on May 12, 1994 in Harwich, MA. According to goodthreapy.org “Erikson never knew his own father; he was raised by his mother and stepfather”. He struggled with ‘his identity’ as a child. He felt that his stepfather did treat or accept him as his own child.

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He adopted his stepfather’s last name in 1939 hence why his last name is Erikson. Erikson studied child development in Vienna psychoanalytic institute, but he never earned a degree, just knowledge based on reading. He married got married in 1930 to Joan Serson, who helped him, develop his developmental theory. He became the first male in Boston to practice child psychoanalysis. From nineteen thirty-six to nineteen thirty-nine he worked at the university of Yale as a professor. “while there he conducted a year-long study of Sioux children at a South Dakota Indian reservation”. He then moved to California and worked with the institute of child welfare.” He continued studying native American children, and worked with the Yurok tribe (native American group of people).

Erikson made an impact on psychological theories by enlarging “Sigmund Freud’s original five stage of development”. He took a “lifespan approach to personality development, assigning importance to individuals lives after early childhood”. According to erikson.edu “by focusing on the social as well as the psychological, Erikson’s represented a quantum leap in Freudian thought, which had emphasized the psychosexual nature of development.

Erikson divided the development of personality into eight stages. He believed that the environment contributed to “self-awareness, adjustment, human development, and identity”.  He characterized each stage with its own crisis and two possible outcomes. As written in the test book he believed that “broad similarities between people can be found in the life stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and old age. His first stage is “first year of life”, during an infant’s first year of life they depend on their parents or others.

“Erikson believed that a basic attitude of trust or mistrust is formed at this time”. An infant will either form trust for his/her primary caregiver or they’ll form mistrust. Trust is developed when babies receive affection and physical care. If babies aren’t properly cared for they’ll develop mistrust and look at the world as a dangerous place. If the babies ‘parent or caregiver is cold or rejecting that contributes to their mistrust. It may cause “insecurity, suspiciousness, or an inability to relate to others accidents”.

Stage two of his theory is one to three years old. In this stage (“early childhood”) children develop “autonomy or shame and doubt”. this is where children curiosity starts from (I believe) they start growing self-control by doing things such as climbing, touching, and exploring, and attempt to do things on their own. At this stage “children can either develop a sense of competence and independence or deep shame”.

His third stage is preschool years “initiative or guilt” he believed that children assimilate plans and fulfill tasks. Parents promote “initiative’ by giving them the freedom to be inquisitive and using their imagination. Children will develop feelings of guilt if they receive bad criticism from their parents. Middle childhood, stage four from age six to twelve years old. “Industry vs inferiority” during stage four of life Erikson presume that “children begin to learn skills valued by society, and success or failure can affect a child’s feelings of industry or inferiority”.

Kids sustain a feeling of “industry” is they are rewarded for good behavior or ding something productive such as, doing their chores or doing well in school. At age twelve to nineteen (“adolescence”), adolescents develop “identity or role confusion”. Adolescence mature mentally and physically, they “develop new feelings, new body, and new attitudes”. They’ll form relationships and learn life lessons. Those who struggle to figure out who they are “suffer from role confusion”. According to goodtherapy.org “if parents allow youth to explore the world, they’ll develop their own identities, but those who are punished for autonomy may develop role confusion”.

His 6th stage is young adulthood, intimacy vs isolation. After a person figures out who they are more willing to develop intimate relationships and friendships. Erikson’s definition of intimacy is the “ability to care about others and share experiences with them. When a person does not develop intimacy, they tend to isolate his or her self from other people. Another one of Erikson’s stage is “middle adulthood” from age thirty-five to sixty-four, “generativity or stagnation”.

Generativity is formed through emotional balance “by caring for one’s self, one’s children, and future generation”. Stagnation is when a person’s worried about their own needs and comfort. Persons who are like that tend to feel bitter and trapped. Erikson’s last stage is stage eight “late adulthood” age sixty-five and up. In late adulthood people reflect on their lives leading to “integrity and despair”. People look back over their lives and feel good or bad about the decisions that they made in life. “people who have lived richly and responsibly develop a sense of integrity, or self-respect”.

Although “if pervious life events are viewed with regret, the elderly person experiences despair, or heartache and remorse”. Stated in an article I read “Erikson’s wife added a ninth stage based on the couple’s experiences in very late old age. she argued that as the body breaks down, autonomy may no longer be possible”. The challenge during this stage is to begin to see oneself as connected to others and to see death as a natural part of the process of life”. Erikson also developed “ego psychology” by highlight that ego “ego is not merely an avenue for the id to fulfill its desires as Freud claimed, but an important psychological structure in its own right. Erikson’s theory “has had a major impact on the field of developmental psychology”.

One of Erikson’s quote that I found intriguing is “healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death”.


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