The purpose of this paper is to describe the underlying principles of Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychological Development. In describing the underlying principles of each stage, the writer includes an analysis of a character that best represents that stage. In each stage, the essayist discusses how the character is doing at resolving the crisis.
Erik Erickson (1902-1994) maintained that people, during their lifetimes, experience turning points, or crisis; and go through eight stages “the outcome of which partly determine the course or future personality development “(Lahey, 2009, p. 322). The eight stages are; “basic trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority vs. identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair”.
Stage one is “Basic Trust vs. Mistrust”. The life span is from birth to about 18 months of age. Caregivers are especially important during this time. Infants with caregivers that provide care, affection, shelter, and food help the child to develop a sense of trust. Caregivers not providing enough food, little or no love or affection, poor shelter leads the infant to mistrust. According to (Lahey, 2009, pp. 322–323) “if infants’ parents provide consistent, warm, and adequate care, infants will learn to trust the world as basically a safe place”. The character that best represents this stage is the 11-month-old daughter of the next door friends. Maria smiles and coos constantly and appears to be successful learning to experience trust. She rarely cries and appears to be ready for the next stage in her life.
Stage two is “Autonomy vs. shame a...
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...e I have always been that way because my Dad started beating me when I was six years old, I had to be mean to survive”. The coach does not have any friends or children. Sadly, he is stagnant and refuses to do anything or associate with anyone that may bring him happiness.
The eighth and final stage is “Integrity vs despair”. The age span is about the age of 65 and on. At this stage people reap the benefits of life from the first stages. They understand and accept the fact that this stage is temporary. The crisis is “despair over ever being able to find meaning in life”. The character that best fits this stage is the singer, Frank Sinatra. In his song, ‘I Did it My Way” leads the essayist to be able to apply the experiences in one’s life span from the beginning to the end. Happily, I understand The Stages of Erik Erickson’s Stages of Personality Development.
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