From trust to despair
Miami Dade College
Prof. Evymary Bidot
From trust to despair
Asking, what factors influence a good development? What makes people act of certain in a specific way? These and many other questions try to be explained from a perspective of psychosocial development by Erick Ericson, which focuses on different stages that According to him, they give an explanation to the development during the whole human life cycle. Moreover, by putting into practice the positive contributions of his theory, we can generate a good development in the children so that their future is not affected by factors that have damaged its first stages. Additionally, we will notice how one stage leads to another and how they are intertwined and what can happen if one of them is not properly developed.
His theory begins with the reinterpretation of the psycho-sexual phases developed by Sigmund Freud in which he emphasized the social aspects of each of them in the four main phases. First, he pointed out the understanding of the self as an intense strength as an organizing capacity of the person able to reconcile the dystonic and syntonic forces, as well as to solve the crisis as a result of the genetic, cultural and historical context of each person. Second, he highlighted the stages of Freud’s psychosexual development, integrating the social dimension and the psychosocial development Third; he proposed the concept of personality development from childhood to old age. Fourth, he investigated about the impact of culture, society and history on the development of personality.
Consecutively, Erickson tells us that if in each of the new stages of life the person has achieved the competence corresponding to that vital moment, that person will experience a sense of domination, which he conceptualizes as ego force. This means that having acquired competence helps to solve the goals that will be presented during the next vital stage. Additionally, other of the fundamental features of his proposal is that each of the stages is determined by a conflict that allows individual development. For instance, when the person manages to resolve each of the conflicts, grows psychologically. That is, in the resolution of these conflicts the person finds great potential for growth, but on the other hand they can find great potential for failure too, if they do not achieve overcome the conflict proper to that life stage.
In addition, the psychology of Erickson’s Self, unlike Freud, which focuses on the unconscious and the Ego, has a great importance within the development of the dynamics of the personality. So, part of this Self is capable of improving itself and overcome the superego promoting mental health, keeping in mind that for Erickson psychosocial factors are always present and play an important role in human development. Based on this, Erickson elaborates his theory, composed of eight stages of the life cycle. Each of these stages refers to two opposite results in which one is adaptive, and another is non-adaptive, concluding that not necessarily the adaptive quality always overcomes the non-adaptive.
In short, these states are: basic trust versus mistrust where their positive effect comes from the reliability in the support of the people around you. For example, the mother is the baby’s need; he or she depends totally of her and they must receive physical contact and love so that they have confidence but if they do not have this, then mistrust is generated, this stage is manifested from the moment the child is newborn until 18 months. Second, Autonomy vs. shame and doubt, self-sufficiency of the exploration is motivated. In this case, the child already believes that he can do things with some autonomy and goes from crawling to walking, it is important that this happens, Erickson says, as a natural process. Also, they acquire control of their elimination functions, learn to eat by themselves. On the other hand, if the people, who care about him or her, restrict them a lot, they may develop a sense of shame and doubt about their own abilities. This stage covers from 18 months to 3 years of age. Third, initiative vs guilt, in this phase the child’s intellectual and motor abilities continue growing, he keep up to explore his environment and experiences new things assuming greater responsibility to carry out activities. The child’s care that does not accept his initiative leads him to feel guilt for his bad behavior. This phase develops from 3 to 5 years of age. Fourth, Industry vs. Inferiority in this, Erickson indicates the development of logic in the thinking of the child. He becomes more competitive, comparing himself with others, learns to comply with the rules of home and school, develops a sense of value after obtaining his achievements and the interaction with others or on the other hand they may feel inferiority, this happens from 5 to 13 years of age. In the fifth stage, identity competes with the confusion of roles in which the child already seeks its own identity, experiences imitating others. This is the struggle between the search and an identity crisis, characterized by self-confidence, role experimentation, sexual interest and ideological commitment.
Next, the sixth stage that covers from the 20 to the 30 years of age already they are created relations of friendship for all the life and they are relations more narrow. This supposes the possibility of being near others if it is not afraid to lose itself and this can be added that if young people had a poor adaptive development, then it can become very open easily and without respect to their privacy to what Erickson calls promiscuity. The seventh stage refers to generativity vs. the stagnation, as adults from 40 to 45 years assume responsibilities in their community, work and home and tasks such as guiding the next generations becomes one of their priorities or remain personally impoverished and self-centered. Finally, in the eighth phase Erickson puts the integrity against the despair for the age of 60 and over where the person ends up evaluating his life and accepts it for what it is, or he can fall into despair because he does not find a meaning to his lifetime.
In conclusion, each psychosocial stage involves a crisis and a conflict centered on a specific content. It can be inferred that Erickson’s theory follows the personality through life, emphasizing the social and cultural influences on the Ego in each of his periods. If a person does not have a good development of the first stages, the following ones are harmed or the limit is reached in which the person skips some stage or returns to one that was not well lived. In my opinion, the purpose of this theory is to understand and identify the mental processes and through them try to describe the methods so that the instruction is more effective.
1. Allen, Eileen; Marotz, Lynn (2003). Developmental Profiles Pre-Birth Through Twelve (4th Ed.). Albany, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. pp 80-96. ISBN 978-0-7668-3765-2. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
2. Stevens, Richard (1983). Erik Erikson: An Introduction. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. pp. 48–50. ISBN 978-0-312-25812-2. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
3. Erik H. Erikson, Joan M. Erikson, the Life Cycle Completed: Extended Version (W. W. Norton, 1998), 106-107. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
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