Erik Erikson

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Erik Erikson Theory
Social and Emotional Development

Born: June 15, 1902 (Frankfurt)
Died: May 12, 1994 (Harwich)

Erik Erikson thought that personality develops in different series of stages. ‘He believed that the life of a human can be divided into stages.’ (Beaver and Brewster, 2008, pg 59) Unlike Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experiences across the whole lifespan.

One of the main points about Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity. Ego identifies how we can develop through social interactions. According to Erikson, our ego identity is always changing due to new experience and information we get in our daily interactions with others. Erikson also believed that a sense of capability also motivates behaviours and actions. Each stage in Erikson’s theory is worried with becoming skilled in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which he sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality. If the person manages the stage poorly then they will develop with a sense of failure.

In each stage, Erikson believed that people experience a conflict that serves as a turning point in development. In Erikson’s view, these conflicts are centered on either developing a psychological quality or failing to develop that quality. During these times, the potential for personal growth is high and so is the potential for failure.

These are all the psychosocial stages:

Trust vs. Mistrust
The first stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most important stage in life. Because an infant is completely dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child’s carers. If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. Carers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or...
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