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The Erikson Life-Stage Virtues - Essay Example

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In the essay “The Erikson Life-Stage Virtues” the author looks at the life of Erik Erikson, one of the big names in the field of psychology and in the area of developmental psychology. He is the psychologist who coined the term, “identity crisis”…
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The Erikson Life-Stage Virtues
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Erik Erikson held the view that man had to pass through numerous stages, to attain full growth and development. According to his view, about eight different stages helped man attain his full growth. This was an improvement and a diversified opinion, as compared to that of Sigmund Freud's.

Erikson is often described by the adjective, Neo-Freudian since his concept was an extension of that of his mentor and yet, had its distinct quality. His theory of personality is a generic description of human life and the different stages it evolves through. Here is a list of the stages of man's life, as illustrated below

The Erikson life-stage virtues, in the order of the stages in which they may be acquired, are:
1. Hope - Basic Trust vs. Mistrust - Infant stage. Does the child believe its caregivers to be reliable
2. Will - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt - Toddler stage. A child needs to learn to explore the world. Bad if the parent is too smothering or completely neglectful.
3. Purpose - Initiative vs. Guilt - Kindergarten - Can the child plan or do things on his own, such as dress himself. If "guilty" about making his own choices, the child will not function well.
4. Competence - Industry vs. Inferiority - Around age 6. Child comparing self-worth to others (such as in a classroom environment). The child can recognize major disparities in personal abilities relative to other children.
5. Fidelity - Identity vs. Role Confusion - Teenager. Questioning of self. Who am I, how do I fit in Can be observed through cliques one sees at a high school, eg - nerds, preps, emos all dressing the same.
6. Love (in intimate relationships, work, and family) - Intimacy vs. Isolation - Young adult. Who do I want to be with or date, what am I going to do with my life Will I settle down. This stage has begun to last longer as young adults choose to stay in school and not settle.
7. Caring - Generativity vs. Stagnation - the Mid-life crisis. Measure accomplishments/failures. Am I satisfied or not
8. Wisdom - Ego Integrity vs. Despair - old age. Some handle death well. Some can be bitter, unhappy, dissatisfied with what they accomplished or failed to accomplish within their lifetime.
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