Erik erikson


March 15, 2003



I. Biography

A. Reasons for entering the psychology world

1. Sigmund and Anna Freud

2. His own development of identity

B. Examples of life-altering changed caused by Erikson

1. Study of child psychology

2. Study of behavior

II. Theories

A. Steps in ones life

1. 8 stages

2. Morals vs. values are reached

B. Values and virtues are gained

1. Going through each stage reaches a new height and challenge in ones life

2. Finally reach self-concept

III. Criticisms

A. Dislikes of Erikson

1. Thought theories were vague and literary

2. Believed theories followed the “libido” analysis

B. Likes of Erikson

1. Erikson is much more society and culture-oriented than most Freudians

2. Often pushes the instincts and the unconscious practically out of the picture

Conclusion: Erikson is the best-known example of an ego-psychologist. He is popular among Freudians and non-Freudians alike.


15 March 2003

ERIK ERIKSON Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 15, 1902. There is a little mystery about his heritage. During his childhood, and his early adulthood, he was Erik Homberger, and his parents kept the details of his birth a secret. The development of identity seems to have been one of the greatest concerns in Erikson’s own life as well as in his theories (Miller 121). Erikson did not prefer the atmosphere that formal schooling produced, so instead of going to college, he traveled around Europe and kept a diary of his experiences. After doing this, he returned to Germany and fellow friend Peter Blos suggested he apply for a teaching position at an experimental school for American students run by Dorothy Burlingham, a friend of Anna Freud. Besides teaching art, in Vienna, he gathered a certificate in Montessori and one from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. He was psychoanalyzed by Anna Freud herself (Boeree 2).
Sigmund and Anna Freud had decided that the young schoolteacher would make a good child psychoanalyst, and Erikson accepted their invitation to begin his training analysis with Anna (Article 1).

Eriksons\' interests were spread over a wide area. He studied combat crisis in troubled American soldiers in World War II, child-rearing practices among the Sioux in South Dakota and the Yurok along the Pacific Coast, the play of disturbed and normal children, the conversations of troubled adolescents suffering identity crises, and social behavior in India (Santrock 132). Erikson was also concerned with the rapid social changes in America and wrote about issues such as the generation gap, juvenile delinquency, racial tensions, the danger of nuclear war and changing sexual roles (Santrock 134).

Erikson was also influenced by three different principles. The rise of ego psychology which believed that ego exists from birth and that behavior is not totally defensive. This places more emphasis on the external world. Ethos, which is the influence created by culture. Epigenetic Principle is the course of development which is genetically programmed (Erikson).

Among the Oglala Lakota, it was tradition for a young boy to go off on his own on a dream quest. The boy would be expected to have a dream on the fourth night. This dream was expected to reveal to him his life’s path. By the time the Oglala Lakota were visited by Erikson, things had changed some. As time went by, their original culture disappeared, and the new culture that the efforts of the government tried to overturn, did not provide the necessary substitution. Erikson became aware of the massive influences of culture on behavior, or ethos. This moved Erikson to consider through life’s contradictions (Boeree 1).

Erikson believed that the world gets bigger and failure is increasing. In Eriksons’ stages, many different values and virtues are gained. Some included are: hope/faith, will/determination, purpose/courage, competence, fidelity/loyalty, love, care and wisdom.

Erikson believed that a person’s personality continues developing throughout their whole life. He broke life up into eight distinct stages. He stated in each of these stages how a person deals with certain issues and the outcome of these issues determines certain traits in their personality (Boeree 4).

Stage one is infancy (0-1) which deals with trust vs. mistrust. In this stage, a child’s mother is their most significant relationship. The mother must provide a familiar and consistent environment so that the child can develop a sense of security. If the other is inadequate or unreliable the child will develop apprehension and suspicion. Ideally, the values of hope and