Analyzing Erikson's Eight Stages Of Human Development

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“A man’s conflict represents what ‘he’ really is.” (Erikson, n.d.). Perhaps no other quote, then this statement by prominent developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, can summarize his beliefs and theories regarding human development so well. Erik Erikson was a German-born American developmental psychologist, whose theories and findings on human development from childhood and beyond have spread all over world. He believed strongly in the Epigenic principle, and stressed the importance of psychosocial stages in relation to the development of one’s self and personality, each stage with a crisis that needs to be resolved. Ultimately, Erikson changed the way much of the world viewed human development, and his impact reached far beyond the field …show more content…
Though Sigmund Freud was a huge influence on Erikson, Erikson focused on social development in contrast to Freud who placed so much emphasis on sexual development. Erikson essentially states that one’s ego develops throughout a series of crises that take place in 8 stages. The eight distinct stages of Erikson’s Psychosocial theory are Trust vs. Mistrust, Autonomy vs. Shame, Initiative vs. Guilt, Ego Identity vs. Role Confusion, Industry vs. Inferiority, Intimacy vs. Isolation, Generativity vs. Stagnation, and lastly, Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Each stage takes place from a certain time period, where one faces a crisis that upon solving, they walk away with a basic virtue, such as Purpose, Competency, Love, and Wisdom. These virtues one has gained will help them solve future crises. If an individual can’t complete one stage successfully then it will make completion of the ones after that much harder and failure results in negative aspects of one’s personality, and perhaps an ‘identity crisis’. Much later on in life was a 9th stage added, actually from Erikson’s wife, Joan Erikson. The 9th stage deals with challenges faced by those in very old age, their 80’s and 90’s. Ironically the 9th stage is the “Mistrust vs. Trust” stage, the negative of the first stage encountered in the beginning year of life. However the 9th stage is also …show more content…
Erikson enlightened the psychological world with his theories and research. Erikson stressed that people and personalities are not just products of biology, but also societal factors and challenges one must face, and helped reinforce the notion that people and personalities are ever-changing. Erikson’s contributions reached far beyond just the world of psychology, his research and work also impacted childhood education. Erikson’s concepts have been utilized the teachers in creating teaching strategies that work, especially in regards to adolescents. Erikson stressed the adolescent period of life, and identified it as a time that adolescents look for what matters and what does not. Erikson not only contributed to education strategies in the adolescent stage, but also in the pre-school era. Erikson maintained that children in that age should be making many of their own choices in how to spend free-time, partaking in make-believe games, and for teacher or adult figures to react positively when a child is attempting to do something by themselves, even if accidents or mistakes occur. Be it in regards to Psychology, Sociology, or Education, Erik Erikson’s research and theories will forever pave the way future generations think, in regards to human

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