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Even though his story received significant influence from psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Erikson’s theory was centered upon the psychosocial development rather…
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Psychosocial Development: Exploring Erickson
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Psychosocial Development: Exploring Erickson Psychosocial Stages Affiliation: Introduction Erik Erikson was the egopsychologist renowned for developing the most popular and influential theory of development. Even though his story received significant influence from psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Erikson’s theory was centered upon the psychosocial development rather than psychosexual development. The theory believed in the development of personality through a series of stages while describing the impact of social experiences through the entire lifespan (Hoare, 2002). The eight stages are as listed below;
Trust vs. Mistrust – it is the first psychosocial stage of Erikson’s theory whereby development will occur between birth and the second year of birth, with its virtue being hope. This stage is also the most fundamental stage in life whereby the infant is utterly dependent while it develops trust basing on the dependability and quality received from the caregiver. If a child is successful at developing trust, he will thus move to the next stage since he or she feels safe and secure in the world. On the contrary, inconsistency from the caregivers, emotional unavailability will result to failure of developing trust, thus resulting to fear and belief of the world being unpredictable (Berk, 2010).
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt – it is the second stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place in early childhood of the child (2-4 years), with its virtue being will. It is the stage where the child develops greater sense of personal control while beginning to gain a little independence, performing basic functions on their own and learning to make simple decisions about their preferences. A child that successfully completes this stage will feel secure and confident while those that fail are left with the sense of inadequacy and self-doubt.
Initiative vs. Guilt – it is the third stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place between 4 to 5 years of growth, with the virtue being purpose. At this stage, the child begins asserting power and control over the world by engaging in directing plays and other social interactions. A child that is successful in completing this stage will feel capable and able in leading other, while those that fail in acquiring these skills remain with the sense of guilt, self-doubt, and lack of an initiative mind (Hoare, 2002).
Industry vs. Inferiority - it is the fourth stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place between 5 to 12 years of growth, with the virtue being competence. At this stage, the child will begin developing sense of pride through their accomplishments and abilities. Children that receive encouragement and positive comments from teachers and their parents end up developing the feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those children that receive little or no encouragement from the parents, teachers and their peers will end up being doubtful on their abilities of becoming successful.
Identity vs. Confusion - it is the fifth stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place between 13 to 19 years of growth, with the virtue being fidelity. It is the adolescence stage where children explore on their independence and developing sense of self. Those children that receive proper encouragement and reinforcement while undergoing personal exploration will be successful at developing a strong sense of self and feeling of independence and control (Berk, 2010). However, those that do not receive adequate encouragement from parents will end up remaining unsure of their beliefs and desires, thus end up being insecure and confused on their abilities and in future.
Intimacy vs. Isolation - it is the sixth stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place between 20 to 39 years of growth, with the virtue being love. At this stage, a young adult is exploring personal relationships, with Erikson believing on the significance of people developing close and committed relationships with others. Those that succeed in going through the step will end up developing intimate relationships, which also relies more on the strong sense of personal identity. Success in undergoing this stage will be marked by forming lasting and meaningful relationships with other people (Hoare, 2002).
Generativity vs. Stagnation - it is the seventh stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place between 40 to 64 years of growth, with the virtue being care. It is the adulthood stage whereby an individual continues building his or her life, focusing on the career and family. Those people that complete this stage successfully will feel to be contributing to the world through being active in their homes and communities while those that these skills will feel to be unproductive and uninvolved in the world.
Ego integrity vs. Despair - it is the last (eight) stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development taking place from 65 years and above, with the virtue being wisdom. It is entirely a stage where an individual reflects back to life, whereby those that are unsuccessful at this stage will be feeling how their life has been wasted and hence experience many regrets (Berk, 2010). An unsuccessful individual will develop the feeling of bitterness and despair. On the contrary, those people that feel proud on their accomplishments will develop the sense of integrity, thus attaining wisdom even when they are confronting death.
Argument on validity of Erikson’s psychosocial stages
At an individual level, I consider Erikson’s theory to be vague in regards to the causes of development. He was not precise at providing the kinds of experiences that people must undergo in order to be successful at resolving various psychosocial conflicts and thus be able to move to the next stage of development. Another irrelevance in Erikson’s theory is that it failed in providing a universal mechanism for finding crisis resolution. On the positive side, I consider Erikson’s psychosocial stages to be relevant in that the theory has the ability of tying together some important psychosocial developments through the entire lifespan of an individual.
References
Berk, L. E. (2010). Exploring lifespan development. Boston, Mass: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson.
Hoare, C. H. (2002). Erikson on development in adulthood: New insights from the unpublished papers. New York: Oxford University Press. Read More
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