Erik Erikson was a developmental psychologist known for his theory on psychosocial development. Unlike other theorists of his time Erikson’s theory focused on human development across the lifespan from birth to late adulthood. Erickson believed that development change occurs through out our lives in eight distinctive stages that emerge in a fixed pattern and are similar for all people. Erickson argued that each stage presents a crisis or conflict which results in either a positive or negative outcome (Feldman). In this essay I will identify incidents in my own life that demonstrate each stage of development according to Erickson that I have lived through. I will also interview my Aunt Tami who will share her experiences for the remainder stages of Erickson’s development that I have not gone through thus far.
Erikson’s first stage of development is the Trust versus Mistrust stage that occurs from birth till the first 18 months of life. According to Erickson this is the period in which infants develop a sense of trust or mistrust, depending largely on how well their caregivers meet their needs (Feldman). During this stage of my life I was being taken care of by both Mom and Dad, but primarily by Mom. My mom was a stay at home parent while my dad worked. Both my parents went above and beyond to make sure I had everything I needed food, shelter, clothes and most importantly love and affection. Through my positive experience in this stage I developed a sense of trust.
During the end of infancy, children then enter the autonomy versus shame and doubt stage, which lasts from 18 months to 3 years. This is the period in which toddlers develop independence and autonomy if they are allowed the freedom to explore o...
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...characterized by the process of looking back over one’s life, evaluating and coming to terms with it, is called the ego integrity versus despair stage which occurs during late adulthood. People who are successful in this stage of development experience a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. However, on the other hand some people look back on their lives with dissatisfaction and despair (Feldman). When I asked Tami how she felt about her life looking back at all the things she has been through, she replied:
“ Kelly I have two kids who are both wonderful parents and I have six grandchildren. I worked a long career as a nurse and now I’m a retired grandmother and I wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world, the good and the bad.”
Through Tami’s positive experience in this stage, I believe she has achieved integrity and has fulfilled her life.
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