Psychosocial Theory Of Erikson's Five Stages Of Development

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Erik Erikson who was one of Freud’s followers became very famous in his own right. In the early 1900’s, he spent much of his early life wandering. He spent his childhood in Germany, adolescence in Italy and his young adulthood in Austria where he studied with Freud’s daughter until fleeing to the United States where he continued his interest in various cultures. He studied Harvard students, Boston children at play and Native Americans (Feist, 2013, p. 219). He was very interested in cultural diversity, social change and psychological diversity. Where, Erikson is known for his eight Psychosocial stages which is also part of the psychoanalytic perspective Freud is known for his five stages that focus on the development of life with each stage…show more content…
Erikson’s first five stages followed the same sequence and core concepts as Freud’s and the element that bonds both their theories is that if someone has a difficulty in adulthood it is because they may not have resolved it in an earlier childhood conflict. For example, a child who does not resolve Erikson’s first stage of trust vs. mistrust will have problems trusting in adulthood. In Erikson’s third stage entitled initiative vs. guilt which takes place between the ages of 3-6, children internalize or accept responses from parents and peers and those internalized reactions follow them throughout their lives, and in turn, affect how they interact in society. For example, in a society where being assertive is valued an assertive child will get positive feedback and thrive. On the other hand, in a society where assertiveness is viewed negatively, the child will get negative responses from parents and peers and this will affect his development into an adult. Erikson believed that each crisis depends on the interactions between the individual and the social environment as family and culture construct…show more content…
Furthermore, Erikson’s psychosocial theory, which perceives conflicts between the individual and society as necessary instigators of growth, states that conflicts that are attended to and resolved, allows one to move to a higher stage of development as we just saw. We just spoke about all the positive effects that one can have when successfully navigating Erikson’s stages, but what if one was not successful? negative effects can occur, leading to increased behavioral problems throughout life. These issues can lead children to develop identities into adulthood that are filled with feelings of guilt, inferiority, confusion, isolation, stagnation, and finally, despair. Erikson has influenced an array of developmental theorists, researchers, and psychotherapists and continues to be a major force in the psychological world (Feist, 2013, p. 239). To conclude the stark contrast between Erikson and Freud really is their approach. Erikson’s travels, studies and experiences were very different than Freud’s which would help define who he was and explain his creation of the stages. Where Erikson emphasizes family and culture, Freud emphasizes sexual urges. Additionally, Erikson’s stages continue throughout adulthood, whereas Freud’s stages seem to end at adolescence (Feist, 2013, p.

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