Freud vs. Erickson on Stages of Development

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Freud vs. Erickson on Stages of Development

By | December 2012
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Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson are two of psychology's developmental forerunners, each one having his own theory behind personality and the elements of advancing through the stages of life. Erikson is known as a Freudian ego-psychologist. His theories came after Freud's and build on Freud's original work. Both of these psychologists have some common similarities and some differences as well. The theories are separated into stages of a person's life according to age and how well a person will adapt and thrive as an adult if a certain quality or characteristic is acquired during each stage. Both of these theories are very similar, as they both have many of the same dividing age groups for development. However, there are several differences that remain between the names of the stages and the developmental issues that are encountered within them.

There are three ways in which Erikson's stages of development are different from Freud's stages of development. First Erikson placed substantially less importance on the individual's sexual drive as a factor in normal development. Instead Erikson focused his stages on the development and emergence of a sense of identity. Also, unlike Freud, Erikson proposed that a person's sense of identity was not completely developed during adolescents but instead continued to develop and evolve throughout a person's life. Finally, Erikson downplayed the importance of maturation in cognitive development and instead focused on the importance of cultural demands placed on children during specific age transitions in their life. (Bee and Boyd, 2004, 257). For example potty training at an early age was culturally demanded especially in industrialized countries where children need to go to day care or pre-schools where it is easier to have all the children use the toilet as opposed to having to change diapers. While Erikson would take the position that toilet training at an early age was culturally influenced, Freud would say that potty...

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