Psychosocial Development Case Study Analysis

Topics: Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, Erik Erikson, Meaning of life Pages: 6 (1998 words) Published: January 11, 2013
Psychosocial Development Case Study Analysis
Darryl Albarado
Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors

The theory of psychosocial development created by Erik Erikson is perhaps one of the best known personality theories. The theory differs from many others in that it addresses development across the entire lifespan, from birth through death. At each stage, the individual deals with a conflict that serves as a turning point in development. When the conflict is resolved successfully, the person is able to develop the psychosocial quality associated with that particular stage of development (Crain, 2011). Marie is in the eighth and final stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, integrity versus despair. This stage occurs during late adulthood from age 65 through the end of life. During this period of time, people reflect back on the life they have lived and come away with either a sense of fulfillment from a life well lived or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent (Niolon, 2009). Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death (Niolon, 2009). Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness, purposelessness and despair (Niolon, 2009). In the field of addiction counseling, working with Marie would first involve dual diagnosing since she seems to be experiencing memory loss, symptoms of depression, and feelings of anxiousness. Evaluating the entire family and learning more about the family history may also benefit Marie since there are additional issues that seem to be surrounding her family, such as her daughter’s addiction to prescription medication. Problems of external origin that derive from conflicts or internal problems such as depression, denial, and frustration, may hinder the ability to recognize the need for help (Gifford, 2012). Due to Marie’s knee replacement surgery and on-going physical therapy, her feelings of depression may be directly related to her feelings of becoming dependent on her children. Marie’s refusal to take the prescriptions provided to help manage her pain stems from a fear of dependency, most likely from observing and witnessing her daughter’s dependency on pain medications. The psychosocial crisis that seems to be most present for Marie is integrity verse despair, which involves life review, introspection, and self-evaluation. Contemporary factors, such as health, family relationships, and role loss or role transition are integrated with the assessment of past aspirations and accomplishments (Newman & Newman, 2012). Integrity can be described as the ability to accept the facts of one’s life and face death without fear while reconciling life events. The attainment of integrity is a result of the balance of the psychosocial crisis that came early in life, accompanied by ego strengths and core pathologies that have accumulated throughout the course of one’s life. When a sense of integrity is established, the ability to integrate past history with present circumstances produces contentment with the outcome (Newman & Newman, 1991). It appears that Marie may be lacking feelings of integrity and may have various regrets within her life. Although Marie has achieved accomplishments through the course of her life, she may be lacking a sense of purpose. This might be directly related to her retirement, feeling dependent on her children, or even the death of her husband. As a result, Marie may have feelings of anxiety and depression, and, no longer having her emotional support system, may not have been able to deal...

References: Crain, William (2011). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Gifford, S. (2012). Family Involvement is Important in Substance Abuse Treatment. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 18, 2012, from
Infeld, D. L. (Ed.). (2002). Disciplinary approaches to aging: Anthropology of aging (Vol. 4). New York: Routledge.
Newman, B., & Newman, P. (1991) Development through life: A psychosocial approach (5th ed.) Palisades, CA: Brooks-Cole.
Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2012). Development through life: A psychosocial approach (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Niolon, R. (2009). Erickon 's Psychosocial Stages of Development. Retrieved Apr. 12, 2009, from
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