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Stages of Development: Comparison Between Freud and Erikson

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Stages of Development: Comparison Between Freud and Erikson

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  • October 2008
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In order to compare Freud’s theory of psychosexual development with Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development an overview of each will first be discussed, followed by a comparison of similarities and differences.

Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development
Freud believed personality was crystallised in childhood thus proposing a series of developmental stages progressing from birth to puberty. As with other stage theories Freud’s psychosexual stages of development occur in a predetermined sequence which may overlap with each stage identifying a particular notable behaviour. Whether the individual progresses through the stage successfully without fixation he/she may develop a healthy personality; however should the individual progress unsuccessfully a fixation or regression may result in an unhealthy personality in later life (Kahn, 2002; Heffner, 2001).

The various stages are: the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latency stage, and the genital stage. The initial stages are auto-erotic as the erogenous zones require primary stimulation, however as the child enters the phallic stage interest in genitalia of the opposite sex and fondling of others erogenous zones begins. Birth was also proposed as a stage of development, however not psychosexual (Kahn, 2002; Heffner, 2001).

The oral stage begins at birth and ends at approximately 18 months of age. As our primary need for interaction with our caregiver is oral nourishment it is understandable the initial erogenous zone would be the mouth. During this period the child focuses on oral pleasure through sucking and biting. If a child focuses too greatly on this action a fixation may occur creating an oral personality later in life; oral personalities are often occupied with oral activities such as tobacco smoking and nail-biting. Alternately an individual may rebel against oral activities and display pessimistic and aggressive traits in contrast to the stereotypical dependent, submissive...

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