Psychoanalytic Theory – Freud’s Approach Versus Erikson’s Approach

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The two important psychoanalytic theories on human development are psychosexual development theory by Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development theory. Many researchers use these two major approaches to analyze the human development in different stages of life. Since Freud’s approach was the foundation of Erikson’s psychosocial theory, there are many similarities between them. Even though they are both focusing on phases of life, there are still some differences on the definitions and ideas of life stages. In this paper, I will concentrate on Freud and Erikson’s ideas of different stages of human development because these two approaches always come together and they are mostly overlapping. Yet, there are divergences and transformations between all the stages. Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia in the year of 1856. Crain said that Freud was smart, so his family fully supported him to continue his studies (137). Boring points out, in Freud’s early life, he discovered the medical usage of cocaine (433). Later, his marriage and parenthood brought him contentment, therefore, it was understood that he “was strengthened in support of his own theory of sexuality and in withstanding the odium sexuale that was directed towards him” as his sexual wants to male dominance and to monogamy were conservative and fundamental (Boring 434). In the year of 1902, another famous psychologist was born in Frankfurt, Germany, Erik Erikson, but he was not a psychologist firstly. He was known that he did not graduate from high school because he was not interested in school education (Woolfolk 67). However, the event of meeting with Sigmund Freud changed his life, and he started to study child psychoanalysis (Woolfolk 67). The most... ... middle of paper ... ... of ego integrity versus despair. As time goes by, they lose their jobs, physical strengths, spouses, and friends (Crain 171). The mission for this stage is to bind together all the experiences they have and accept the death (Gross 63). They will be more enjoy their life if they did it, rather than fear death every day. In short, both approaches showed different stages and their own missions in the life cycle of human development. Freud’s approach is more on sexual behavior and the characteristics that we born with, while Erikson’s theory is based on what we are nurtured and taught to be. They both help us to understand the basic idea of identity formation. However, there is weakness of the theory, there is no standardized conditions that can prove whether people has succeeded in a particular stage, it is really depending on personal levels of self-understanding.

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