Main article: Erikson's stages of psychosocial development
Erikson was a Neo-Freudian. He has been described as an "ego psychologist" studying the stages of development, spanning the entire lifespan. Each of Erikson's stages of psychosocial development is marked by a conflict for which successful resolution will result in a favourable outcome, and by an important event that this conflict resolves itself around.
Favorable outcomes of each stage are sometimes known as "virtues", a term used in the context of Erikson's work as it is applied to medicine, meaning "potencies." Erikson's research suggests that each individual must learn how to hold both extremes of each specific life-stage challenge in tension with one another, not rejecting one end of the tension or the other. Only when both extremes in a life-stage challenge are understood and accepted as both required and useful, can the optimal virtue for that stage surface. Thus, 'trust' and 'mis-trust' must both be understood and accepted, in order for realistic 'hope' to emerge as a viable solution at the first stage. Similarly, 'integrity' and 'despair' must both be understood and embraced, in order for actionable 'wisdom' to emerge as a viable solution at the last stage.
The Erikson life-stage virtues, in order of the eight stages in which they may be acquired, are: 1.Basic trust vs. basic mistrust - This stage covers the period of infancy. 0-1 year of age. - Whether or not the baby develops basic trust or basic mistrust is not merely a matter of nurture. It is multi-faceted and has strong social components. It depends on the quality of the maternal relationship. The mother carries out and reflects their inner perceptions of trustworthiness, a sense of personal meaning, etc. on the child. If successful in this, the baby develops a sense of trust, which “forms the basis in the child for a sense of identity“. 2.Autonomy vs. Shame - Covers early childhood -...