Abstract: This paper will discuss the eight stages of development. these eight stages include trust vs untrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation and integrity versus despair. This paper will also discuss the ultimate goals for each one of those stages of development and what the outcome should be in each stage. Additionally this paper will discuss some of the recent developments and applications of Erickson’s eight stages of development theory. Some those developments and applications include the eight stages of recovery model, a correlation between unmet expectations in one stage of development and how that could possibly contribute to personality disorders of certain types. This paper also will discuss how these stages are being applied to nursing education. Also this paper will discuss how these eight stages of development are now being applied to school guidance counselor training and being compared to stages of development in leadership roles. This paper will also discuss how these developmental stages are different for the homosexual male. This paper will also discuss some of the different obstacles that homosexual males must face during some of these stages.
Thesis statement: This paper will discuss Erick Erickson’s eight stages of development along with the history of Erickson and the dilemmas of the eight stages.
Erickson’s history: Acording to Cornett, C. (2000), Eric Erickson was born in 1902 in Frankfurt Germany (Cornett, C. 2000). He began his studies as an art student in Europe. He was invited by Anna Freud to teach art, history and geography at a small school of Vienna. He later began training to become a psychoanalyst as well. During this time he became interested in children and in 1930 he published his first paper regarding children. In 1933 he was elected to the Vienna psychoanalytic institute at the time of completing psychoanalytic training.
Later in 1933 he immigrated to United States where he joined the faculty at Harvard medical school. He also began to practice child psychoanalysis in Boston. Erik H. Erikson. (2014) tells us that Erickson left Harvard in 1936 to join The Institute of Human Relations at Yale (Erik H. Erikson. 2014). There he began his studies of cultural influences on psychological development while working with the Sioux Indians in South Dakota. During these studies is when Erickson began to form his theory of the eight developmental stages. This is when he noticed that different cultures and different societies come across similar patterns of problems that need to be negotiated at different stages of development.
In 1939 Erickson moved to San Francisco where he became a professor of psychology at the University of California in 1942. According to Cornett, C. (2000), During this time at the University of California he produced several essays that discussed childhood and society (Cornett, C. 2000). These were the first major writings and discussions of Erickson’s eight stages of development. Erickson believed that each of the eight stages presented its own challenges that needed to be overcome if you were going to be successful in the next stage of life. Each of the stages had its own moral dilemmas and each stage continued from one to another as the personality developed. These eight stages can also overlap each other for short periods of time between one stage to another. Erickson left the University of California in 1950 because he refused to sign a letter of loyalty with the university. He left the University of California and went to Stockbridge Massachusetts where he joined the Austin Riggs canter. Erikson (2014), states that he later returned to Harvard as a lecturer and professor where he finished his career from 1970 till the time of his death (Erik H. Erikson 2014). Eriksson’s history contributed greatly to his moral views which are heavily depicted in his theories of developmental stages. This paper will now discuss the eight stages in more detail.
Erikson’s eight stages: According to Balswick and Balswick (2007) Erickson states That Erikson’s model contains eight developmental stages, the last emerging at approximately age 45. Erickson focuses on how parents and wider historical factors affect a person’s learning each stage’s developmental tasks. According to Balwick and Balswick (2007) overcoming the developmental tasks at each stage is vital to the successful achievement of the tasks at the next stage. Berger, states that the eight stages that a person comes across in their lifetime are trust versus untrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation and integrity versus despair (Berger) . The trust versus mistrust stage occurs in infancy between birth and 18 months. In this stage babies must learn to trust their parents care and affection. If the babies do not learn trust they could develop a distrusting view of the world. The autonomy versus shame and doubt stage occurs in the toddler age from 18 months to three years. The child learns basic things like how to feed themselves and do other things on their own. They start feeling ashamed if they do not start developing these basic abilities. The next stage is an initiative versus guilt. During the initiative versus guilt stage children are 3 to 5 years old, typically at the preschool age, and start taking initiative and carrying out plans and planning things or they develop a sense of guilt over their misbehavior. The industry versus inferiority stage occurs between the ages of five and ten. During this stage children learn to follow the rules at home, school, church or other places. The child can start believing they are inferior to others if they do not learn to follow the rules. The next stage is identity versus role confusion. The identity versus role confusion stage occurs in adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 years of age. During this stage they acquire a sense of identity of who they are starting to become or they become confused about whom they are and what the role is in life. The next stage is intimacy versus isolation. During this stage the children are no longer children they become adults. The intimacy versus isolation stage occurs between ages 18 to 40. During this stage young adults often develop relationships and joint identities or they can become isolated and stay away from meaningful relationships. After the intimacy versus isolation stage is the generativity versus stagnation stage. This stage occurs at middle adulthood between 40 and 65 years of age. During generativity versus stagnation stage a person makes use of time and have concerns with helping others and guiding the next generation or they become self-centered and stagnant not helping to further the next generation. Finally in the integrity versus despair stage of development is in the late adulthood from age 60 on up. During integrity versus despair stage a person understands and accepts the meaning of temporary life. . In other words understanding that life is temporary not permanent or they complain about regrets such as not having enough time and not finding their meaning throughout life. Salkind, N. J. (2005) states, that the younger children can benefit from the lifelong experiences of the elders (Salkind, N. J. 2005).
According to Sacco, R. G. (2013), to reach the final stage of maturity and development with a sufficient sense of achieving integrity one must have achieved trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, identity, intimacy, and generativity during the previous seven sequential stages (Sacco, R. G. 2013). This paper will now consider how the eight stages are being applied in counseling and therapy today.
Areas of interest today: There are many ways that Erikson’s eight stages are being applied to therapy and other areas of psychology today. According to Vogel-scibilia, S., Mcnulty, K. C., Baxter, B., Miller, S., Dine, M., & Frese, F. J. (2009), one of the many areas of interest today is in the area of addictions recovery. There is a recovery model that is liner to the eight stages of development (Vogel-scibilia, S., Mcnulty, K. C., Baxter, B., Miller, S., Dine, M., & Frese, F. J. 2009). The idea is to for the patient in recovery to overcome the fundamental steps in each of these stages, and just like Erickson’s eight stages, you have to overcome one stage of recovery before moving onto the next stage just as you would in the stages of development.
Today there is experimentation with the idea of re-addressing stages in patients’ lives that may not have been negotiated properly and may have hindered their psychological outlook today. This is being researched and applied to patients with personality disorders. According to Crawford, Cohen, Johnson, Sneed & Brook, (2004),this research was based on the premise that personality disorders are often a continuation of identity confusion earlier on in life during adolescents (Crawford, Cohen, Johnson, Sneed & Brook, 2004). Also this experimentation with readdressing the eight stages of development only applies to cluster B personality disorders. It cannot automatically be assumed that you can apply this type of therapy to cluster A or cluster C disorders. This type of therapy is a little bit difficult when you get to the intimacy versus identity stage. One of the difficulties is that Erickson’s theory does not necessarily identify the exact timing when individual should overcome the identity verses intimacy crisis in their lives. Future research will have to investigate this further and also adjustments may have to be made to this type of therapy in the future.
Another area of interest as far as the Erickson’s stages of development would be in nursing. Today nurses are getting acquainted with the developmental stages of psychosocial development. According to Newton DS, Newton PM, (1998), the theory is that this will help them understand the behaviour of the patient in context to their dramatic past experiences and their current developmental task (Newton DS, Newton PM, 1998). This is important because when a patient fails to resolve the previous psychosocial stage it may seriously compromise their adult development. Having an understanding of this gives the patient opportunity to rework a previous developmental stage with the assistance of a therapist. The object of this type of psychotherapy is to assist patients in overcoming each crisis in each developmental stage with an increased sense of good judgment and well-being according to their own standards and standards of their loved ones. When nurses understand underlining factors about the patient they may be able to understand the patient better.
According to Studer, (2006), Erikson’s eight stages are being applied to guidance counsellor training. The guidance counsellors study the eight stages of development and use it to model different stages of development as a leader (Studer, 2006). They can relate the stages of development to their identity as a leader because it is a lengthy process from when the trainee takes over the course work of counselling to the time that he or she is fully developed as a leader or counsellor. This model helps them develop overtime. This helps the future guidance counsellor stay on track as to where he or she should be during each time frame throughout several years of training as a counsellor and leader.
This paper will now go into a more controversial topic of discussion. This paper will now discuss how it is possible for gay men to have a harder time negotiating Erikson’s identity verses role confusion stage. According to Macatee (1999) gay men go through a different developmental process when it comes to identity formation. The belief is that this can complicate the completion of the identity verses role confusion stage. The study also declares that the difference in this stage is complicated by the homosexual individual feeling socially isolated and trying to perform roles more culturally accepted (Macatee 1999). These feelings of isolation can negatively effect adjustment to their roles, cause problems with intimacy and negatively affect their self-image. During this identity verses role confusion stage some homosexuals will deny their feelings for members of the same sex and take extreme measures to cover up and ignore their feelings. Some even go as far as participating in hetero sexual marriages to supress these feelings. Often times these are the very same individuals that will have problems negotiating the identity verses role confusion stage because they do not deal with their real image of themselves. By not dealing with their true feelings of who they are they get stuck in this stage of development because sooner or later they will have to deal with the truth.
Conclusion: In conclusion this paper has discussed Eric Erickson’s eight stages of development. This paper went into great detail of the history of Eric Erickson and how that history contributed to the development of the eight stages. Discussing his history we discussed where he went to school and when he discovered his interest in children and began writing about his theories update stages.
This paper discussed at great length the eight stages of development. these eight stages include trust vs untrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation and integrity versus despair. This paper later went on to discuss the ultimate goals for each one of these stages of development and what the outcome should be for healthy individual going into the next stage.
Additionally this paper went on to discuss some of the recent developments and applications of Erickson’s eight stages of development theory. Some these recent developments and applications include the eight stages of recovery model which is linear to Erickson’s eight stages of development, a correlation between unmet expectations in one stage of development and how that could possibly contribute to personality disorders of certain types. This paper also discussed how these stages can be applied to nursing education giving them a better understanding of the patients and some other things that they may or may not have been able to overcome in their lives. Also this paper discussed how these eight stages of development are now being applied to school guidance counselor training and how these stages of development resemble potential stages of development in leadership roles. This paper also discussed that homosexual men go through different stages of development. This paper also discussed some of the different challenges that a homosexual man faces in the identity verses role confusion stage. This paper also explored some of the complications with peer acceptance and going to great lengths to cover up their identity. This paper then finished with discussion of the importance of self-acceptance.
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