Psychosocial Development Case Study Analysis

Topics: Family, Rehabilitation counseling, Erikson's stages of psychosocial development Pages: 5 (1835 words) Published: July 30, 2014

Psychosocial Development Case Study Analysis

Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors

Instructor: Dr. Rebekah Cole

For this paper, I viewed the movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. I will identify the life stages the three characters I chose are in, what their psychological crisis each is, apply psychosocial theories to the situation presented, discuss the character’s life, how they function as a family unit, and evaluate the significant challenges and strengths related to wellness and resilience.

In this particular movie, there are three characters that I would like to focus on. Gilbert, is an older sibling who is primarily the caregiver in the home. Bonnie, the mother, and lastly Arnie, who is about to turn eighteen and has autism. Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize.

Throughout this course, we’ve studied Erik’s Psychosocial Developmental Stages. Bonnie’s age range is around 40-64, which would put her at the Generativity vs. Stagnation phase. During middle age the primary developmental task is one of contributing to society and helping to guide future generations. When a person makes a contribution during this period, perhaps by raising a family or working toward the betterment of society, a sense of generativity- a sense of productivity and accomplishment- results. In contrast, a person who is self-centered and unable or unwilling to help society move forward develops a feeling of stagnation- a dissatisfaction with the relative lack of productivity. Gilbert’s age range is between 20-39. The Intimacy vs. Isolation conflict is emphasized around the age of 30. At the start of this stage, identity vs. role confusion is coming to an end, though it still lingers at the foundation of the stage (Erikson, 1950). Young adults are still eager to blend their identities with friends. They want to fit in. Erikson believes we are sometimes isolated due to intimacy. We are afraid of rejections such as being turned down or our partners breaking up with us. We are familiar with pain, and to some of us, rejection is painful; our egos cannot bear the pain. Erikson also argues that "Intimacy has a counterpart: Distantiation: the readiness to isolate and if necessary, to destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to our own, and whose territory seems to encroach on the extent of one's intimate relations" (1950). Once people have established their identities, they are ready to make long-term commitments to others. They become capable of forming intimate, reciprocal relationships (e.g. through close friendships or marriage) and willingly make the sacrifices and compromises that such relationships require. This becomes apparent when Gilbert meets a young lady by the name of Becky. They become very close friends and love spending time with one another. Lastly, Arnie is at the developmental stage of 13-19, The adolescent should be newly concerned with how they appear to others. Superego identity is the accrued confidence that the outer sameness and continuity prepared in the future are matched by the sameness and continuity of one's meaning for oneself, as evidenced in the promise of a career. The ability to settle on a school or occupational identity is pleasant. In later stages of Adolescence, the child develops a sense of sexual identity. As they make the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents ponder the roles they will play in the adult world. Initially, they are apt to experience some role confusion—mixed ideas and feelings about the specific ways...

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Harmon Hanson, S. G.-D. (2005). Family Health Care Nursing. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Kosciulek, J. F. (1996). The Circumplex Model and head injury family types: A test of balanced versus extreme hypothesis. Journal of Rehabilitation, 62(2), 49-54
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