Stages of Ego Development
June 13, 2014
According to Loevinger’s “Theory of Ego Development”, the ego is the struggle to comprehend, understand, and organize the experiences of life; the sense of self or ego changes, based on experiences and challenges faced throughout life, therefore, the ego is in constant conflict. Loevinger developed a theory based on the stages of cognitive development and how it influences the personality. There are three primary stages: impulse control, interpersonal mode, and conscious preoccupations; Loevinger measures ego development through a verbal sentence completion test, so infants are unable to take the test. The pre-social and symbiotic stage; this is the stage that the ego is typically in during infancy. A baby has a very id-like ego that is very focused on gratifying immediate needs. The impulsive stage, while this is the stage for toddlers, at this stage the ego continues to be focused on bodily feelings, basic impulses, and immediate needs. The self-protective stage; they are still using their greater awareness of cause and effect, of rules and consequences, to get what they want from others. The conformist stage; conformist individuals are very invested in belonging to and obtaining the approval of important reference groups, such as peer groups. The self-aware stage; the self-aware ego shows increased, but still limited awareness deeper issues and the inner lives of themselves and others. At the individualistic stage, the focus on relationships increases; the autonomous stage there is increasing respect for one’s own and others’ autonomy. The autonomous ego cherishes individuality and uniqueness. At the final stage, the integrated stage, the ego shows wisdom, and broad empathy towards oneself and others.
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