Comparing and Contrasting Freuds and Eriksons Theories


There have been many theories created over the years trying to explain the ways we develop and why we have our unique personalities and traits. These theories have many similarities as well as differences. Two very similar theories are Erik Erikson’s and Sigmund Freud they both break childhood development down into stages that begin around very similar years, but Erik Erikson’s theory differs where Freuds ends. In Freud's theory, the development ends after adolescence but for Erikson, the development continues many years into what we consider adulthood. 

Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson believed that the society we grow up in and the culture we are surrounded by shape how we develop, and what we are challenged within life.  Erikson thought that social interaction is one of the only things needed to become an accepted member of the society you find yourself in. His theory presents us with 8 different stages in our life in which we change and are faced with a new challenge that we have to overcome to continue them down the path of the stages. 

Erikson believed that everyone undergoes a development cycle of 8 stages that starts as early as 11 months and ends in their late adulthood hood this is what makes Erikson’s theory stand out from others. Similar theories usually always end after adolescence. When we enter a new stage we a presented with a new crisis that will be very hard to deal with if the problem from the previous stage wasn’t dealt with properly. These issues that are normally mental are never really resolved just handled enough to be able to handle the next, and that’s why Erik Erikson believes that life is an ever-growing complication for people. The first 5 of these stages explain childhood, specifically ages 0-18 years old, while the next three explain adult stages and I think those are big differences between Erikson’s and Freud’s versions of this theory. I will explain those as my concepts. 

The 6th stage of Erikson’s is called “Intimacy vs. Isolation” according to the article “Erikson’s 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development” by lumen learning this stage is when people ages 20-40 start to share their life with other people and develop very deep relationships. This happens after we developed a sense of who we are and our opinions. Erikson says if previous stages with problems are not resolved that the adult may have trouble with forming relationships and not develop a sense of who they are. 

Generativity vs Stagnation goes from the 40s to about 65 years old. This is when you start to do things that you think make a big impact on your life or others' life. According to the article mentioned before this can include volunteering or taking care of children. People who do not do something like this on the stage may feel like they have done anything important in their lifetime. 

The last stage is Integrity vs. Despair. This rides off of the previous stage. It goes from the mid-60s to the end of life. This stage is when people either feel proud of what they have done with their life or regret what they did with their life. People who feel regret may be bitter or depressed because of the feeling they have wasted their life. 

A real-life application I can get from Erikson’s stages is how the stages have fit me and how they fit the people around me. My nieces are a good example of the first few stages. The first is where the needs are met and the children are happy and feel they can trust the world. I can say my nieces are all very happy because they have and still get when they need. The second is when they want to do things themselves, and I can confidently say that they act like small adults sometimes. The oldest likes to mimic her mother and take care of her sisters, which I think fits this theory and the next stage well. The last stage they fit into is Industry vs. Guilt, the oldest loves to tell people that she can do something someone else her age can not do and is always excited and proud about it. 

In the Identity vs. Role Confusion, I remember not knowing what I wanted to do and I still am not too sure what I want to do, but I did have strong opinions and I felt like I knew who was. This fits into role confusion and I think is a good example of it. Now that I am in the Intimacy vs. Isolation stage, I am forming close relationships with people. 

My grandmother did things that were described in the text during the Generativity vs. Stagnation stage of their life. She was a teacher’s aid and was always helping kids learn and being a mentor. She has never regretted anything about that and is so proud of it. Now that she is in the last stage she doesn’t really regret her life and is happy with what she did, so I think this is a good example of Erikson’s theory.

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