THE THEORY OF ERIK ERIKSON

PROF LEENA CHATTERJEE

died 1994 ‡ Little formal education: High school graduate who took up painting ‡ In Vienna taught art in school established for the children of Freud¶s patients and friends ‡ Enrolled in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute ‡ Devoted follower of Freud .BACKGROUND ‡ Born 1902.

merges Freud¶s physical yearnings with cultural forces ‡ Retained concept of id. ego and superego but focussed more on ego development ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ .BASIC THEMES AND ASSUMPTIONS Self described Freudian De-emphasizes sexual motivation Stressed search for identity Psychosocial theory.

Basic Themes and Assumptions ‡ Development ± Continues throughout lifetime ± Emphasizes developmental crises ‡ Epigenetic Principle ± The sequence of each stage is genetically determined in terms of a blue print ± Personality is an outcome of the interaction between one¶s physiological capabilities and social expectations at any particular stage which lead to psychological experiences of oneself .

Mistrust ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Infancy (birth -1 year) Infants need for nourishment and closeness Infant introjects experiences of the environment Dependent on parent to survive ‡ Basic strength or virtue: hope .Eight Ages of Man ‡ Trust vs.

Shame & Doubt ± 1-2 years of age ± Development of the ability to act on the environment ± Focus on the modality of holding on and letting go (eg.Eight Ages of Man ‡ Autonomy vs. toilet training) ± Basic strength or virtue: self will .

Passivity/ Guilt ± Ages 2-5 years ± Child is active. curious and interested in exploring his environment (on the make) ± Practices skills learned in previous stage ± Development of social trust versus mistrust ± Basic virtue or strength: Purpose .Eight Ages of Man ‡ Initiative vs.

acquiring skills and education that connect to occupational prototypes ± Becomes aware of colour of skin.Eight Ages of Man ‡ Industry vs. Inferiority ± Focus is on producing or making things ± Preparatory for adult role. status of family and other criteria for social comparison ± Competitive strivings replace autonomous strivings ± Development of rudimentary work ethic ± Virtue: Sense of Competence .

Identity Confusion ± Adolescence ± Takes stock of skills and interests to make choices: period of questioning and confusion ± Caught in a double bind ± Need a sense of identity to branch out into adulthood ± Virtue: Fidelity/Commitment .Eight Ages of Man ‡ Identity vs.

Eight Ages of Man James Marcia¶s (1966) Expansion of the Identity Crises ‡ Possible outcomes to the Identity Crises ± Identity Achievement ± Identity Diffusion ± Moratorium ± Foreclosure .

Isolation ± Young adulthood ± Movement away from family and toward having a family of one¶s own ± Seek intimate relationships ± Seek a mutual identity with a loved one ± Basic virtue or strength: Love .Eight Ages of Man ‡ Intimacy vs.

Stagnation ± Early thirties up to retirement ± Care and involvement in future generations ± Period of creativity ± Mid life crisis triggered by boundaries of retirement and death ± Career clock starts ticking: taking stock looking back to compare achievements to the dreams and aspirations of one¶s youth ± Basic virtue or strength: Caring .Eight Ages of Man ‡ Generativity vs.

Despair ± Old age ± Live in one¶s memories ± Reviewing and accepting one¶s life ± Attitude towards death ± Basic virtue or strength: Wisdom .Eight Ages of Man ‡ Ego Integrity vs.

Problems in Adjustment ‡ Result from ± Unresolved conflict ± Fixation in a stage ± Negative crises resolution ‡ Saw pathology as a matter of degree not as types .

identity crises and ego strength ± Developed interest in life-span psychology ± Stressed positive influence of society on development ± Promoted integration of psychology with other areas such as sociology and anthropology .Contributions & Criticisms ‡ Contributions ± Introduced terms and concepts such as psychosocial development.

Contributions & Criticisms ‡ Criticism ± Little empirical support ± Assumed universality of his stages ± Excessive moralizing in describing what ³ought to´ occur in each stage ± Failed to acknowledge the importance of his theory (saw self as Freud¶s disciple) .

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