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Guid Essay

Erik Erikson and the Theory Of Epigenetic Principle: Analytical Essay – Free Essay Example

Erik Erikson was a psychologist that came up with a theory that was divided into eight different stages. His theory is based on the epigenetic principle. Erikson believed that we continue to go through development and stages throughout our lives. His theory was that there were eight psychosocial developmental stages that everyone goes through. They go through each of these stages from the time they are an infant all the way into adulthood.

Erik felt that infants had a developmental issue where they learned to trust or not trust others. He believed that if caregivers took good care of an infant that they would gain trust and would be able to use this trait as they grew older. It was thought that if the infant could develop trust from being treated fairly and nurtured properly that it would contribute to their social interactions later on in their adult life. If the child was mistreated and not nurtured well then. They would most likely have a difficult time moving on to the next stage and issues as an adult with their social interactions and trust in the world.

The next stage that Erickson believed came next was in toddlerhood. He felt this was the stage when children became more independent from their parents and wanting to try new things on their own. Many frustrations would occur at this stage as they learned to accomplish things on their own. Erik Erikson believed that at this stage the child learned shame and doubt and How to come up with the coping skills to deal with this stage in life. His next stage in his theory was in early childhood and it was during this time that the child would want to explore more of the environment and what was around them. Children at this stage sought independence and learned new skills that would help them go on to the next stage in life.

The next stage that Erik Erikson thought came next was during the middle of childhood when a child would learn about guilt and depending on how they are affected would help them to go onto their next stage in life and cope as an adult. In this stage, certain factors can cause them to have a hard time interacting with others. How they deal with Interaction with their peers can leave them wondering if they have a purpose in life. Erik also believed it affected how they carry out their control over choices as adults.

Erik’s theory was that the next stage of development was based on the period of time as an adolescent. During this developmental stage, the individual learns how to form his or her personality. The person learns to decide how they will exist in their society. At this stage in the development, they use other factors and experiences from the previous theories they have gone through to help guide them as they journey through this point in life. He believed that this stage helped set up a platform to be able to pass on to the next stage of development as a young adult.

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The next stage after adolescence was based on a person’s ability to form close relationships with others. Erik Erikson believed that in the period of time that an individual was a young adult they gained skills to either positively interact and gain and maintain relationships.

If the person had a bad experience or was unable to gain the skills necessary at this stage they would struggle with forming close relationships and bonds with other people. If the individual had difficulty during this stage it could cause fears and avoidance of certain relationships with other individuals. Erik Erikson’s theory at this developmental moment was that if the person was unable to form close relationships and trust they would struggle with intimacy and could possibly isolate themselves from future relationships with others which could make them uncomfortable due to not being able to gain the skills they needed to go onto to the next stage in their development as a human being.

There are two more stages that Erik Erikson felt occurred in the development of a person. In his theory, he theorized that the next stage after early adulthood was the transition into middle adulthood. It was a time when the individual either wanted to help other people or contribute to the community. They would either have a family and leave a legacy or possibly do something of meaning that would help others. If they did not choose this then their other path might lead them to tend to their own needs and wants. At this point, if the person feels

If they are unable to contribute and succeed they can feel disconnected with society and Other individuals and it would be hard for them to move on to their next and final stage in life. Erik’s theory of the final stage of development in later adulthood. During this stage in his theory, he believed that this was the time in life that a person would gain a sense of meaning in life and if they had a successful life with value or if they hadn’t accomplished anything worthwhile during their lifetime. At this time, being their last stage of development as a person the individual would reflect on their contributions to society and if they had made a positive or negative impact on others, and how it had affected those individuals involved. they could either feel that they had a sense of accomplishment and integrity or the complete opposite and feel bitter and resentful of how they had handled their life and circumstances and the action they had taken to help or not help others.

Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany in June 15th, 1902. He was raised by His mother and a physician father, whom he later found out was not his birth father. Erik’s mother was a young Jewish woman and his birth father was not present in his life. He grew up without his birth father and was not informed about the situation until he was older. The truth seems to rattle him as an individual and cause some identity crisis issues. These identity issues directed him into the path he took to study psychoanalysis. Upon choosing this career it opened doors for him to explore this field and essentially begin his theory on the development of human Beings.

Despite the impact that Erik Erikson’s theory has had on child development and his insight on how we grow as individuals throughout our lifetime, there are critics. I guess there always has to be at least one disagreeable party in every theory that someone has made available. After extensive research, I was unable to find any credible source that was biased against Erik Erikson’s theory of development. I am sure there have to be critics out there somewhere.

Upon trying to research ethical issues about Erik Erikson’s theory I also hit a stone wall as I had to try to research critics of his work. I feel that his theory and views on development have helped people in many ways. During my research efforts, I discovered that his theory seemed to be posted on a lot of mental health sites and he seemed to have more positive feedback rather than negative feedback.

I think that Erik had a wonderful viewpoint on development and his theory is very unique and useful in modern times. I believe he decided to go outside the box of other theorists and was quite successful in doing so. Erik Erikson’s theory contributed to the study of child development along with other studies of psychology.

Work Cited

  1. Cherry, Kendra. ‘Erik Erikson Biography (1902-1994).’ VeryWellMind, Dotdash publishing family, 23 May. 2018,
  2. McLeod, Saul. ‘Erik Erikson’s Stages Of Psychosocial Development’, SimplyPsychology, Creative Commons, 3 May. 2018,
  3. Levine, E. Laura. Munsch, Joyce. Child Development An Active Learning Approach, SAGE Publications, Inc. 2018

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