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Erik Erikson: Psychosocial Development:

Erik Erikson: Psychosocial Development Theory

Biography :

Biography born on June 15, 1902 in Frankfurt, Germany studied art and a variety of languages during his school years instead of going to college he travelled around Europe, where he kept a journal of all his life experiences along the way after traveling he then went to art school in 1927, where he then began to teach art and other subjects to children of Americans who had come to Vienna for Freudian training after teaching the children in Vienna he then was admitted into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute 1933 moved to the United States There he became Boston’s first child analyst and received a position at the Harvard Medical school Moved to California to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences at Palo Alto and later Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco where he was a clinician and psychiatric consultant

….continued :

….continued Erik Erikson's early work focused chiefly on testing and extending Freudian theory in relation to the effect of social and cultural factors upon human psychology, in addition he focus more on how society affects childhood and development. 1950 moved to Massachusetts, where he taught and worked for ten years In the same year he wrote his first book, which is said to be his most important one called Childhood and Society, it was in this book he first explained his eight stages theory of human development He also wrote many other books that talked about his interest in humanistic and society perspectives He later retired from clinical practice but did not stop his research and his writing Died on May 12th 1994 at the age of 91

Psychosocial Development Theory :

Psychosocial Development Theory Psychosocial development theory is based on eight stages of development Erikson’s theory is based on the idea that development through life is a series of stages which are each defined by a crisis or challenge The early stages provide the foundations for later stages so Erikson says that if a child does not resolve a crisis in a particular stage, they will have problems in later stages For example, if an adolescent does not establish their own identity, they will have difficulty in relationships as an adult

The stages are as follows: :

The stages are as follows: Stage 1 – Oral Sensory Stage 2 – Muscular-Anal Stage 3 – Locomotor Stage 4 – Latency Stage 5 – Adolescence Stage 6 – Young Adulthood Stage 7 – Middle Adulthood Stage 8 – Maturity

Stage 1 – Oral Sensory :

Stage 1 – Oral Sensory birth to 1 year (infancy) basic conflict is trust vs. mistrust the important event is feeding and the important relationship is with the mother the infant must develop a loving, trusting relationship with the mother/caregiver through feeding, teething and comforting failure to resolve this conflict can lead to sensory distortion, and withdrawal

Stage 2 – Muscular-Anal:

Stage 2 – Muscular-Anal age 1 to 3 years (toddler) Basic conflict is autonomy vs. shame/doubt The important event is toilet training and the important relationship is with the parents The child’s energy is directed towards mastering physical skills such as walking, grasping and muscular control The child learns self control but may develop shame, doubt, impulsivity or compulsion if not handled well

Stage 3 – Locomotor:

Stage 3 – Locomotor age 3 to 6 years (preschool) basic conflict is initiative vs. guilt the important event is independence and the important relationship is family the child continues to become more assertive in exploration, discovery, adventure and play the child may show too much force in this stage causing feelings of guilt failure to resolve this conflict can lead to ruthlessness and inhibition

Stage 4 – Latency:

Stage 4 – Latency age 6 to 12 years (school age) the basic conflict in this stage is industry vs. inferiority the important event is school and the important relationships are teachers, friends and neighbourhood the child must learn to deal with new skills and develop a sense of achievement and accomplishment failure to do so can create a sense of inferiority, failure and incompetence

Stage 5 – Adolescence:

Stage 5 – Adolescence age 12 to 20 years (adolescent) the basic conflict is identity vs. role confusion the important event is development of peer relationships and the important relationships are peers, groups and social influences The teenager must achieve a sense of identity in occupation, sex roles, politics and religion. In addition, they must resolve their identity and direction. Failure to make these resolutions can lead to the repression of aspects of the individual for the sake of others (fanaticism)

Stage 6 – Young Adulthood:

Stage 6 – Young Adulthood age 20 to 40 years the basic conflict in young adulthood is intimacy vs. isolation the important event is parenting and the important relationships are lovers, friends and work connections in this stage, the individual must develop intimate relationships through work and social life failure to make such connections can lead to promiscuity, exclusivity and isolation

Stage 7 – Middle Adulthood :

Stage 7 – Middle Adulthood age 40 to 65 years the basic conflict is generativity vs. stagnation the important event is parenting and the important relationships are with children and the community this stage is based on the idea that each adult must find a way to satisfy, support and contribute to the next generation; it is often thought of as giving back failure to resolve this stage can lead to overextension or rejectivity

Stage 8 – Maturity:

Stage 8 – Maturity age 65 to death the basic conflict is ego integrity vs. despair the important event is reflection on and acceptance of the individual’s life the individual is creating meaning and purpose of one’s life and reflecting on life achievements failure to resolve this conflict can create feelings of disdain

Application of Stage 3 (initiative vs. guilt) :

Application of Stage 3 (initiative vs. guilt) Students need to understand appropriate social rules and how to work well together. They are learning their own independence and how that applies to being a part of a family, class, etc. In the classroom, teachers can help facilitate this stage (developing initiative) through: active play including fantasy and role playing (puppet shows, skits, house centre, etc.) Centres that allow students to learn how to play appropriately together teacher acting as role model to allow students to have someone to lead them, but also allowing students to take on small responsibilities

Application of Stage 4 (competence vs. inferiority):

Application of Stage 4 (competence vs. inferiority) Students need to master the formal academic skills in order to feel as though they are capable of accomplishments. The child must learn teamwork, an understanding of their potential contributions, and continue to learn to self-discipline to achieve. The teacher and classroom play a vital role in this stage and competence can be fostered through: collaborative approach to classroom expectations and rules of interacting with others (all students make a contribution to this) group projects and assignments that teach students how to contribute to a group working towards a common goal providing a variety of learning opportunities for fundamental skills including addressing all learning styles assigning appropriate levels of homework to give students a sense of accomplishment without overwhelming them- too much homework means students will be unable to finish it, causing them to develop a sense of inferiority hands on projects that emphasize the individual’s strengths

Application to Sara Porter:

Application to Sara Porter Ms. Mercer recognizes that Sara needs to develop “survival skills” This directly relates to stage 4 (the stage Sara is currently in) which includes children developing and mastering new skills at school by the end of the stage. Sara does not seem to have developed an understanding of her role in collaborative learning during the group reading time. Stage 4 calls for students to recognize the process involved in working with a group and collaborating. When Ms. Mercer tells Sara she did not get 100% on her math activity, Sara seems upset and as though she has given up on trying. In stage 4, students should be developing a sense of achievement and accomplishment in regards to their school work. Because Sara seems to be strong in art (shown in the science title page activity), Ms. Mercer should emphasize Sara’s strengths to help her feel as though she is a valuable part of the class and to give her a sense of achievement. Sara is in grade six which puts her at the end of stage 4 and about to enter stage 5. Erikson says that if an individual does not over come the conflict in a particular stage, they will struggle with that conflict in the following stages. In this case, it is essential that Ms. Mercer fosters a sense of achievement, accomplishment and helps Sara master her “survival skills” or Sara may chronically struggle with feelings of inferiority and failure.

References :

References Boeree, C. G., Dr. (1997, 2006). Erik Erikson Retrieved October 23, 2008, from Erik Erikson [Slide show]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2008, from Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development . (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2008, from Gerhardt, K. (2008, September 17). Developmental psychology, chapter two, Erik Erikson . Lecture presented at Nipissing University - Brantford Campus. Stages of social-emotional development . (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2008, from

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