The Application Of Erik Erikson's Theories

2408 words - 10 pages

Erik Erikson was a researcher of the Psychodynamic perspective who lived through the years 1902 to 1994. He developed a theory that dealt with the stages of human development and was referred to as a Neo-Freudian. A Neo-Freudian are those “who have revised Sigmund Freud’s theory” (Massey, 1986). His theory argued that “both society and culture challenge and shape us” (Feldman, 2011). Erik Erikson’s theory of psychological development does not specify specific ages, so the age categories can only be guessed upon. It is my personal thought that this was a smart move due to different age milestones for different cultures. The essay titled Erik Erikson: Ages, stages, and stories argues that the stages “are organized into a system of polarities that tempt us to think about psychological dynamics in a form that is more binary than Erikson intended.” Each stage has a ‘resolution’ or goal. Each stage presents a “crisis or conflict that the individual must resolve” (Feldman, 2011, p.16)
The purpose of this paper we will be applying Erikson’s eight stage theory to our research subject Belinda Hickman and projecting what the subject will encounter in later life stages. Belinda Hickman is a 21 year old female of mixed Hispanic/Caucasian decent living in Lincoln, Nebraska. She was born and raised in the same town by her parents Rob and Patricia Hickman. The subject’s parents are married she still lives at home while going to school.
Infancy: Trust v. Mistrust.
The first stage of Erikson’s theory occurs in infancy, which occurs roughly from birth to 18 months. Infancy is an important stage according to Erikson’s theory. In this stage, the individual learns how to trust other individuals. If all the individual’s needs are met in this stage trust is established. Trust is the “foundation in which the trainee feels comfortable in risk-taking as a result of his or her relationship with others” (Studer, 2007). If the individual’s needs are not met in this stage the individual will most likely develop a mistrust that will hamper relationship in the future. The relationship between parent and caregiver is vital. “It is during the first months of life that the baby comes to trust or not, to have faith or not. Whether trust and faith are developed has direct implications for identity formation” (Goodwin, 1998) The goal of this stage is to gain ‘Hope’.

Our subject Belinda was born prematurely on May 23, 1990. During the early part of life the subject was very sickly as an infant. This did not seem to effect Belinda’s formation of Trust. According to the subject’s mother, Patricia Hickman, Belinda was “a very trusting and happy baby, besides being colic.” (P. Hickman, personal communication, May 29, 2011).
Early Childhood: Autonomy v. Shame.
Early Childhood is roughly from 18 months to 3 years. During early childhood, the second stage of Erikson’s theory manifests; this stage is called Autonomy v. Shame. In this stage, “the psycho social theme of...

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