Essay on Erik Erickson : An Individual 's Self Definition

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Identity is an individual’s self definition that focuses on enduring characteristics of the self (Brogan, 2009). Erik Erickson believed that life was summed up in eight life stages which each consisted of a psychosocial conflict. His theories marked an important shift in thinking on personality; instead of focusing simply on early childhood event, his psychosocial theory looked at how social influences contribute to personality throughout the entire lifespan (Cherry). According to the theory, the outcome of the conflict is based on the relationship with those around them. Now the successful resolution or positive outcome of each conflict can result in a healthy personality and sense of self, ready to move to the next stage. Failure to complete or the negative outcome of the conflict will result in an unhealthy person and an unhealthy sense of self that can carry on to the future stages. Like Freud and many others, Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order, and builds upon each previous stage (McLeod, 2008). Now let’s go into a detailed explanation of each stage.
According to Erikson, the first life stage of life is Infancy which lasts from birth to 18 months. In this stage the infant is solely reliant on the caregiver and depending on the quality of care the child receives from that caregiver will be an important factor in shaping a child’s personality. The conflict during this period is said to be Trust vs. Mistrust. The resolution…

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