Erik Erikson

Developmental Psychologist and Psychoanalyst

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Erik Erikson was born in 1902 in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1933 he moved to the United States with his wife. He later had 4 children. While in the United States Erik Erikson became the first child psychoanalyst in Boston and held positions at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Judge Baker Guidance Center, and at Harvard Medical School and Psychological Clinic. Erik Erikson left Harvard and began teaching at Yale and later worked with University of California at Berkeley's Institute of Child Welfare and later returned to Harvard. Erik Erikson at the age of 91 in 1994 in Massachusetts.

Erik Erikson's Focus

Erikson's main focus of study was the development and ego/personality.

Erik Erikson's Personality Theory

Erikson states that there are eight stages of development in a person's life. In these eight stages we learn virtues. Erikson says that during each stage of life we must learn to understand and accept both extremes in order for us to have a healthy personality and achieve said virtues. Although not everyone will gain these virtues at the time in which they are generally taught, they can be relearned and accepted it just makes learning the stages that come after harder.
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*Stage 1-Hope

  • 0-1 years of age
  • Basic trust vs. basic mistrust
  • Depends on the maternal relationship
  • Failure can result in a feeling of fear and a sense that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable

*Stage 2- Will

  • 1-3 years of age
  • Autonomy vs. Shame (autonomy-independence)
  • Parents must teach to do things "all by his or herself)
  • Failure can lead to the child doubting his or her efficacy

*Stage 3-purpose

  • 3-6 years of age
  • Initiative vs. Guilt
  • Can the child do things on his or her own?
  • If not the child will no be able to function well

*Stage 4- Competence

  • 6-11 years of age
  • Industry vs. Inferiority
  • Child compares self-worth to others

*Stage 5- Fidelity

  • 12-18 years of age
  • Identity vs. Role Confusion
  • Questioning the self. As in who am I? Where do I belong
  • The teen will face identity confusion if parents force their own ideas on the child

*Stage 6- love

  • 18-35 years of age
  • Intimacy vs. isolation
  • First stage of adult development
  • Successfully form loving relationships
  • Failure results in the person to feel isolated and alone

*Stage 7- Care

  • 35-64 years of age
  • Generativity vs. stagnation
  • Either settled in life or questioning
  • If a person is not comfortable with the way their life is progressing, they usually feel a sense of uselessness.

*Stage 8- Wisdom

  • 65 and on
  • Ego integrity vs. despair
  • Acceptance of life