Topics: Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson Pages: 14 (5673 words) Published: September 10, 2011
This paper explores Erik Erikson’s theory of personality. Erikson believes that personality develops within eight stages that spans an individual’s lifetime. He calls his theory the psychosocial stages of development which places emphasis on gaining virtues that strengthen the ego. Three articles are used to give more insight to Erikson’s theory of development. Each article agrees that Erikson makes many great contributions to psychology as well as other fields. This paper uses mainly Hergenhahn and Olson (2007) findings to help relate Erikson’s theory to the life of Marie Lockhart. All names within this paper have been changed to protect the individual’s privacy. Marie was interviewed to gain information about her life. Also, since Marie is a close friend, much information came from personal knowledge and observation. For the most part Marie’s life follows Erikson’s stages of development. There are a few events that occur before Erikson’s theory plans for them, but Erikson allows for this in the overview of his theory.  

The Life of Marie Lockhart in Relation to
Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development
Many theorists have studied personality and developed their own theories. Hergenhahn and Olson (2007) find that there are many different theories of personality because personality has such complexity that it is impossible to cover all aspects of personality within one theory. Likewise, personality study can be taken in a number of directions, that which can be related to the biography of each theorist. (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2007). Due to the numerous theories on personalities, which theory is the most correct? According to Hergenhahn and Olson (2007), all personality theories are important. Much about personality is desired to be known. It is essential that to grasp a complete understanding of personality that one must take portions from all the theories provided about personality after deciding which aspect of personality is being studied (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2007). This paper examines Erik Erikson’s theory of personality and then relates his theory to an individual’s, Marie Lockhart’s, life. Each of Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development is related to Marie’s life. However, Erikson’s stages start from birth and extend to death. Marie’s life is related to Erikson’s theory starting at her earliest recollections through her present developmental stage and discusses each crisis and how it was resolved resulting in the gaining or not gaining of the specific virtue associated with each particular stage. For the earlier years in which Marie does not recall, I make speculations based on my personal knowledge of the subject and through the information acquired through a personal interview with the subject. This paper discusses how the earlier stages of Marie’s life are tied to her present life and how these stages affect her still today.

Erikson’s theory of personality is defined as psychosocial stages of development and includes eight stages which cover a complete lifespan from birth until death (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2007). As noted by Hergenhahn and Olson (2007), associated with each stage is a crisis which is viewed as a turning point within the particular stage of development. The crisis can have either a positive or negative resolution. If positively resolved, the individual will gain a specific virtue. Also, related to each stage is a ritualization or ritualism. Ritualizations are aspects of personality that aid an individual in becoming an acceptable member of society through culturally approved behaviors related to everyday life; whereas, ritualisms are exaggerated ritualizations and are not found culturally appropriate. Respectively, the eight stages and the crisis associated with each developmental stage are as follows: Infancy: basic trust versus basic mistrust; Early Childhood: autonomy versus shame and doubt; Preschool Age: initiative versus...

References: Chatterjee, P., Bailey, D., & Aronoff, N. (2001). Adolescence and Old Age in Twelve Communities. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 28 (4). Retrieved from
Douvan, E. (1997). Erik Erikson: Critical Times, Critical Theory. Child Psychiatry & Human Development , 28 (1). Retrieved from
Hergenhahn, B. R., & Olson, M. H. (2007). An Introduction to Theories of Personality (7th Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Massey, R. (1986). Erik Erikson: New Adlerian. Individual Psychology: The Journal of Adlerian Theory, Research & Practice , 42 (1). Retrieved from

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