Erik Erikson


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This is an overview of Erik Erikson's contributions to psychology.

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Erik Erikson

  1. 1. Erik Erikson Development through choices Image: Creative Commons via Wikipedia
  2. 2. Agenda • Background • Impact – Biography – Identity – Timeline – Choices • Contributions – Adolescent psychological – Writing research – Theories – Studies
  3. 3. Background: Biography • Erik Homburger Erikson • Born June 15, 1902 in (1902-1994) Frankfurt am Main, • Heavy influence on our Germany by Danish psychological parents. understanding of the • Married in 1930, to young. Joan MowatSerson, • Some identity crises of who studied education, his own may have arts and crafts, and sparked his interest in writing. study (Boeree, 2006)
  4. 4. Background: Timeline • Went to the United States to escape Nazis • Harvard Medical School (1934-1935) • Yale School of Medicine (1936-1939) • University of California at Berkeley (1939-1951) • Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Mass. (1951-1960) • Visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (1951-1960) • After US citizenship, took the name Erikson, possibly to self determine identity. • Studied Hitler, Luther, Gandhi, (Boeree, 2006)
  5. 5. Contributions: Written Works • Childhood and Society (1950) • Young Man Luther. A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (1958) • Insight and Responsibility (1964) A collection of 6 essays • Identity: Youth and Crisis (1968) • Gandhi's Truth: On the Origin of Militant Nonviolence (1969) • Adulthood (edited book, 1978) • Vital Involvement in Old Age (with J.M. Erikson and H. Kivnick, 1986) • The Life Cycle Completed (with J.M. Erikson, 1987) (Friedman, 2000)
  6. 6. Contributions: Theories (concept of self) • Main task of the adolescent is achieve a state of Identity • Identity is a state towards which one strives • When various aspects of self-concept are in agreement • In choosing an identity, we repudiate (give up) other choices (Thies& Travers, 2005)
  7. 7. Contributions: Theories • In democratic society, where many choices exist, society plays a role in development • In adolescence, (a time-out or moratorium) we experiment with many choices, searching for those that suit us, without considering responsibility for any particular one • Indecision is essential to the moratorium to avoid identity crisis (Erikson) • Adolescent tolerance of the ambiguity of indecision, and avoiding making too quick a choice of identity leads to a better sense of self, and a stronger development. (Thies& Travers, 2005)
  8. 8. Defining Identity: • “A sense of individual identity” • “A striving for a continuity of personal character” • “A criterion for the silent doings of ego synthesis” • “A maintenance of an inner solidarity with a group’s ideals and identity” (Erikson, 1959)
  9. 9. Stage (age) I (0-1)infant Life Cycle and Virtues Psychosocial crisis Psychosocial Significant relations modalities to get, to give in Maladaptations & Psychosocial virtues malignancies sensory distortion -- trust vs mistrust mother return hope, faith withdrawal II (2-3) -- autonomy vs shame impulsivity -- toddler and doubt parents to hold on, to let go will, determination compulsion III (3-6) -- ruthlessness -- preschooler initiative vs guilt family to go after, to play purpose, courage inhibition to complete, to IV (7-12 or so) -- industry vs neighborhood and make things narrow virtuosity -- school-age child inferiority school together competence inertia V (12-18 or so) -- ego-identity vs role- peer groups, role to be oneself, to fanaticism -- adolescence confusion models share oneself fidelity, loyalty repudiation to lose and find promiscuity -- VI (the 20’s) -- oneself in another love exclusivity young adult intimacy vs isolation partners, friends VII (late 20’s to generativity vs self- household, to make be, to take overextension -- 50’s) -- middle adult absorption workmates care of care rejectivity to be, through VIII (50’s and mankind or “my having been, to face presumption -- beyond) -- old adult integrity vs despair kind” not being wisdom despair Chart adapted from Erikson's 1959 Identity and the Life Cycle (Erikson, 1959)
  10. 10. Impact: Identity • Fully developed sense of the stage approach to development • Great tools with which to apply theoretical analysis to psychological case studies and social situations (Boeree, 2006)
  11. 11. Impact: Choices • By the concept of repudiation of choices we can see how Identity is defined. • We can apply the theory in situations where an individual seems stuck between stages, or searching to move to earlier or later stages out of sequence. • If choices have not been fully made, a return to those stages may be predicted. (Thies& Travers, 2005)
  12. 12. References • Boeree, C. G. (2006). Erik Erikson. Retrieved June 10, 2009, from • Erikson, E. H. (1994). Insight and responsibility (p. 256). W. W. Norton & Company. • Erikson, E. H. (1980). Identity and the life cycle (p. 191). W. W. Norton & Company. • Friedman, L. J. (2000). Identity's Architect (p. 592). Harvard University Press. • Thies, K. M., & Travers, J. F. (2005). Handbook of human development for health care professionals (p. 503). Jones & Bartlett Publishers.