Erik Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development

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Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development explains how the human identity develops and evolves in eight stages from birth to death. Each one occurs in a predetermined order; the current stage builds upon the previous one and lays the groundwork for future stages (Wikimedia). Each stage has a specific “crisis” or conflict, a turning point in the individual’s life which must be reconciled before moving on to the next. If the conflict is handled well, the individual gains “ego strength” in the form of a corresponding virtue. If the conflict is handled poorly, the individual not only fails to develop that virtue, but his/her ability to complete later stages is hindered resulting in diminished “ego quality” or psychosocial health (Erikson, 188-225). We face the crisis of trust vs. mistrust during infancy, attaining the virtue of hope. We face the crisis of autonomy vs. shame and doubt during toddlerhood, attaining the virtue of will. We face the crisis of initiative vs. guilt during early childhood, attaining the virtue of purpose. We face the crisis of industry vs. inferiority during adolescence, attaining the virtue of competence. We face the crisis of identity vs. role confusion during adolescence, attaining the virtue of fidelity. We face the crisis of intimacy vs. isolation during young adulthood, attaining the virtue of love. We face the crisis of generativity vs. stagnation during middle adulthood, attaining the virtue of care. We face the crisis of ego integrity vs. despair during late adulthood, attaining the virtue of wisdom (Wikimedia). According to Erikson, someone of my age should be facing the crisis of intimacy vs. isolation. A positive outcome brings the virtue of love and is characteri... ... middle of paper ... ... a much more protean nature than Erikson accounts for. No matter how positively your conflicts are resolved, there are certain rare events that are so impactful they can shake up your psychosocial foundation, forcing you to take a step back and revisit previously completed stages. Works Cited Erikson, E. H., & Coles, R. (2000). Human Strength and the Cycle of Generations. The Erik Erikson reader (pp. 188-225). New York: W.W. Norton. McKay, A. (n.d.). Intimacy versus Isolation Stage: Lesson, Examples, & Quiz. Retrieved April 6, 2014, from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/intimacy-versus-isolation-stage-lesson-examples-quiz.html#lesson Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. (n.d.). Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson%27s_stages_of_psychosocial_development
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