Born Erik Homberger Erikson June 15th, 1902 in Frankfurt Germany to his Jewish mother and unnamed Danish man. Erikson’s biological father abandoned him before he was born. His mother went on to marry Dr. Theodor Homberger, who was also Erikson’s pediatrician ( Boeree, 1997). Erikson never enjoyed formal schooling, therefore he decided against going to college (Sharkey, 1997). When Erikson graduated high school he became interested in becoming an artist. Around 1920 he decided to travel to Europe to pursue his interest in art, where he slept beneath bridges. He became an art teacher at a psychoanalytically enlightened school for children originated by Anna Freud(“Erikson Institute,” 2017). The move transformed his life and career. He embarked on psychoanalytic practice at the Institute. In 1933 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts and filled a position at Harvard medical school as America’s first child analyst (Sharkey,1997). Erikson formally changed his name to Erikson when he became an American citizen (Boereer, 1997).
Though Sigmund Freud influenced Erikson significantly, He believed that humans developed throughout their lifespan, unlike Freud who believed that our personality was developed by the age five (Sharkey, 1997). Erikson’s major contribution to psychology was his theory that each stage of life correlated with a specific psychological struggle, a struggle that contributes to a significant aspect of personality (“Erik Erikson,” 2017).
The first four stages include the years from birth through elementary school. First, the nature of the relationship between the infant the primary caregiver is essential in the first stage, trust vs. mistrust (Hurst, 2017). The second stage, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, advances through the third year. The significant...