Psycho social development according Erik Erikson

Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany. His original name was Erik Salomonsen. When he finished studying school, he attemped to study painting for an year, which played a big role in his life. While painting children, he had been offeredn employment as a fill in tutor at the Hietzin School by Anna Freud. Immediately after his start working there, it was realized his depth of his compatibility with the children and was wanted to be teached a kid analyst. It is important to say that that school was organized âžorganized according to psychoanalytic principles and geared to cooperation with the analyst". His teacher was Anna Freud, who was simply the sixth and last child of Sigmund Freud. At exactly the same time he attended a Montessori school to get a degree, as well as visiting the meetings of Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, where he bacame a member in 1933. His most significant work actualy is United States, where he wrote his books, & most important - his theory for psycho-social development. There he also became one ot the first child psychoanalysts and an associate of the American Psychoanalytic Association. (Jessica McComas '00).

Erik Erikson had accepted all the theories of Freud. He also added the Oedipal complex to his theories. Erikson's work was more oriented to the culture and the society as it seems in his theory of the psycho-social development. His theory is dependant on eight stages. In them hi expands and refines the Freud's theory. He claims that we pass from one to other stage because of the success, or lack of one in the previous. That he calls the "epigenetic principle". In his theory he has so called "tasks" and "crisis". The tasks are those ideas, which we have to achieve through the stage, and uses the crisis in Freudian tradition. He also offers an optimal time to feed one stage to some other. When the person is obsessed with the success he could miss some stages, i. e. to undergo stages without completing them all. Erikson also tells us about the virtue. Then we manage one or another stage well.

Dr. C. George Boeree putted the eight stages of Erik Erikson in a charge which appears like that:

Stage (age)

Psychosocial crisis

Significant relations

Psychosocial modalities

Psychosocial virtues

I (0-1) --


trust vs mistrust


to get, to give in return

hope, faith

sensory distortion -- withdrawal

II (2-3) --


autonomy vs shame and doubt


to hang on, to let go

will, determination

impulsivity -- compulsion

III (3-6) --


initiative vs guilt


to follow, to play

purpose, courage

ruthlessness -- inhibition

IV (7-12 roughly) --

school-age child

industry vs inferiority

neighborhood and school

to complete, to make things together


narrow virtuosity -- inertia

V (12-18 roughly) --


ego-identity vs role-confusion

peer groups, role models

to be oneself, to talk about oneself

fidelity, loyalty

fanaticism -- repudiation

VI (the 20's) --

young adult

intimacy vs isolation

partners, friends

to lose and discover oneself in a



promiscuity -- exclusivity

VII (late 20's to 50's) -- middle adult

generativity vs self-absorption

household, workmates

to make be, to be mindful of


overextension -- rejectivity

VIII (50's and beyond) -- old adult

integrity vs despair

mankind or "my kind"

to be, through having been, to handle not being


presumption -- despair

He adapted it from Erikson's "Identity and the life span Cycle".

The first stage is first year. 5 from child's life also known as "Oral - sensory stage". The duty is forming of trust. The parents 'part here is very important because they need to learn the child to trust his own body and what to do with his/her biological needs. But the problem is the fact if the child is given everything she or he may starts convinced that the world is such a safe and happy place, where everything is given to you. So that the child (baby) could misunderstand that everyone is as kind, good and loving as the parents.

Otherwise, if the parents don't give enough to the kid, developing mistrust can be done. This means that the child will be suspicious around people. But it doesn't mean that they need to be close to the child all the time because a sensory maladjustment may appear. The kid may develop malignant tendency or even a psychosis.

The parents need to get the proper balance. Then your child will develop virtue hope. He/she would know that even it's going bad; they might help him for an improved end. The sign that the first stage is passed well is the fact that the kid is not overly upset, when it doesn't get what hi/she wants immediately.

The second stage, also called anal-muscular stage. It between 18th month up to the third year. The primary task to achieve is autonomy and also to minimize the feelings of doubt and shame.

The parents need to be "firm but tolerant". That means that they don't have to discourage their child, but at exactly the same time they don't really have to push it. The balance between them is required. Whether it's so, the child will develop both self-control and self-esteem.

This is a difficult, because for the kid is much easier to develop sense of doubt and shame. The parents need to be very careful, because a good simple laugh before child's efforts may cause doubts in his/her own abilities.

Erikson also speak about Impulsiveness, which really is a sort of shameless willfulness, that leads the kid, to jump into some things that the kid don't have the correct consideration of his abilities.

Compulsiveness is worse than impulsiveness. That's too much doubt and shame. Everything they are doing must be perfect and all the mistakes must be avoided at all cost.

Stage three is also known as genital- locomotor stage. It's from three-four to five-six years and the child has to learn initiative and have to prevent the guilt.

The term initiative means "positive response to the world's challenges, taking on responsibilities, learning new skills, feeling purposeful" (Dr. C. George Boeree). Within this stage the parents have to encourage their children to try out their ideas. This is the period where in fact the imagination of the kid is greater as never before. This is the time for games, playing, not formal education. But together with the games parents have to be careful of what their children are doing, because they are not capable of planning their own future. It the time where in fact the moral judgment must arrive. They have to develop guilty because of their actions.

When there is certainly too little guilt and much more initiative, Erikson calls it ruthlessness. This people make their own plans and don't care what's around, no matter of the institution or their career. They don't care who they step on for attaining their goals.

Stage four or latency stage is the time from six to twelve years. The task is to develop industry and avoiding sense of inferiority.

In the life span of the child appear teachers and other person in the community. They must learn the sensation of the success, no matter where these are - in school or on the playground. They must learn the guidelines of the society - how they have to behave and that the success comes because you try hard to attain it.

The Narrow virtuosity appears when the kid is not allowed to be always a child, i. e. when parents push their children into one part of competence, without letting them to become competent in other areas.

Inertia includes all who suffer from the "inferiority complex" ( if at first you do not success don't ever try again).

The best is to build up the proper balance between industry and inferiority. This is called competency.

The adolescence or stage five start with the puberty and ends around 18 or 20 years old. The attaining of ego identity and avoiding role confusion are the tasks here. In fact exactly this stage interested Erikson the most.

In this stage you have to comprehend who you are and exactly how you fit in to the rest of society. You take all you have learned all about life and yourself and put the knowledge into practice in the society.

The society provides clear rites of passage to help distinguish the adult. Those will be the tasks and the tests in the primitive societies. Without this we are confused about our very own put in place the society we stay in and will ask to ourselves the question "Who am I?".

There is issues with the ego identity- fanaticism and repudiation. When there is too much it's fanaticism. They believe that this is actually the only way, everything I black-and-white. When there is insufficient identity is repudiation. Those people repudiate their dependence on and identity. A few of them allow themselves to "fuse" with a group and could involve in destructive activities, drugs and alcohol.

The next stage is the sixth - young adulthood. It's between your 18 and about 30 years old. The duty is to achieve degree of intimacy rather than isolation.

Intimacy is the capability to be close with the others - friends, lover and as part of the society. You already know who you are and what's your house in the society, so it's easier than in childhood. There is a problem called "concern with commitment" - an example of immaturity in this stage. "Everything will be all right whenever i finish school, take up a job, get married" etc.

The main problem comes from the actual fact that our society hasn't done a lot for adults. When you can that age, everyone start having troubles with the isolation of urban living and lack of notion of real sense of community.

When there is absolutely no depth in your intimate relationships and the relation with friends and family and neighbors it's called promiscuity. Exclusion is the tendency to isolate ourselves from love and friendship. But if you successfully negotiate this stage you'll get a psychosocial strength - love. Within the context of Erikson's theory this means having the ability to put aside differences and antagonisms through "mutuality of devotion"".

The middle adulthood stage is the next one. It's difficult to pin a period for this, but it are the period where our company is actively involved with raising children.

Generativity can be an extension of love in to the future. The parents need not be "selfish". There is a reality that if we love someone, and he/she doesn't return the love we don't think about this as true love. It is the same with the parents, who have great ambitions for his or her children and expect a "return on the investment".

The other aspect - stagnation - is self-adsorption, looking after no-one. That kind of person is a productive member of society. These folks care about their problems and their life.

This is also the stage of the "middle crisis". The most common question in that case is "What am I doing all this for?". The focus is on themselves, they are simply requesting whom are they doing everything. Most of the times people separates searching for the solution of that big question.

The last stage - late adulthood or maturity employs the youngsters have gone, at about 60. The duty is to develop ego integrity and minimal amount of despair. It is the most difficult stage of most. Retire from your task, sense of usefulness and biological uselessness and almost all of the parents are coming too near to their children (becoming annoying). The ego integrity means coming to terms with your daily life, and thereby coming to terms with the finish of life (Dr. C. George Boeree).

Those who approaches death without fear, that strength Erikson calls wisdom - because "healthy children won't fear life if their elders have integrity enough never to fear death". He shows that a person must be gifted to be wise.

Erikson makes a revision of Freud's theory for the stages. They both say that the child have to accomplish each stage (according Erikson - tasks) to be part of the society. The difference is the fact that Freud made his theory on the base of clinic research and interviewing parents and discusses the crisis of self-recognize. In his theory he also discusses the condition with the parents, not because of these and the complex, which might appear during growing up. Erikson gives prominence to the role of the parents in children's life. Both theories have certain period of time for each and every stage and explain what types of problems may appear throughout that stage and how to prevent that. In both theories by adolescence, individuals are asked to form a sense of identity. Finally, toward the end of the life, some may be asked to create a feeling of ego integrity according Erikson. Freud gives prominence to the id, ego and superego.

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