Freud V Erickson Essay

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Sigmund Freud is probably the most familiar name that comes to mind when one thinks of famous psychologists. Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia in 1856, but when he was four years old his family moved to Vienna, where Freud was to live and work until the last year of his life. The scope of Freud's interests, and of his professional training, was very broad - he always considered himself first and foremost a scientist, endeavoring to extend the compass of human knowledge, and to this end, rather than to the practice of medicine, he enrolled at the medical school at the University of Vienna in 1873. He concentrated initially on biology, doing research in physiology for six years under the great German scientist Ernst Brücke, who was director of the Physiology Laboratory at the University, thereafter specializing in neurology. Eventually, Freud set up a private practice in the treatment of psychological disorders, which gave him much of the clinical material on which he based his theories and his pioneering techniques.(Amacher)
Freud's theories of development relied heavily on the belief that infantile sexuality must be seen as an integral part of a broader developmental theory of human personality. This had its origins in, and was a generalization of, Breuer's earlier discovery that traumatic childhood events could have devastating negative effects upon the adult individual, and took the form of the general thesis that early childhood sexual experiences were the crucial factors in the determination of the adult personality.(Freud2) From his account of the instincts or drives it followed that from the moment of birth the infant is driven in his actions by the desire for bodily/sexual pleasure, where this is seen by Freud in almost mechanical terms as the desire to release mental energy. This lasts until puberty, when mature genital development begins, and the pleasure drive refocuses around the genital area.(Amacher)
It was also a friend and fellow psychoanalyst of Freud’s, Erik Erickson, who created one of the major theories that open a window to the development of everything that makes us who we are on the inside. It is referred to as Erickson’s Theory of Human Development and it simplifies the complex topic of human personality.(Miller)
First, let’s talk about the man himself. Erik Homberger was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1902. The conditions ...

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...believed that personality continued to develop across the lifespan and describes stages of adult development not considered by Freud. Both theorists emphasized the unconscious, but Erickson went beyond this to discuss the importance of the collective unconscious; an idea Freud particularly rejected. Both theorists had little physical evidence to support their hypothesis, however because of the early stages of development that the field of psychology was in, they were accepted based primarily on merit, and have been later evaluated by evidence, and some parts accepted and others disregarded.


Amacher, Peter. 'Freud's Neurological Education and Its Influence on Psychoanalytic Theory.'Psychological Issues IV, no. 4, monograph 16. New York: International Universities Press, 1965.

Battino, R., & South, T. 1997. Ericksonian Approaches: A Comprehensive Manual. Neuyptology Press
Freud, Sigmund, Brill, A. A., ed. (1938). The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud, New York: The Modern Library
Freud, Sigmund. (1935). An Autobiographical Study., London: Hogarth Press.
Miller, P. (1983). Theories of Developmental Psychology. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company.

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