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Erik Homburger Erikson (born Erik Salomonsen; 15 June 1902 – 12 May 1994) was a Danish-German-American
developmental psychologist Developmental psychology is the science, scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development, aging, ...
and
psychoanalyst Psychoanalysis (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
known for his theory on psychological development of human beings. He coined the phrase ''
identity crisis In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense sco ...
''. Despite lacking a bachelor's degree, Erikson served as a
professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, highe ...

professor
at prominent institutions, including
Harvard Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly tw ...

Harvard
,
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public university, public land-grant university, land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the University of California ...

University of California, Berkeley
, and
Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States. The term ''Ivy ...
. A ''
Review of General Psychology ''Review of General Psychology'' is the quarterly scientific journal of the American Psychological Association Division 1: The Society for General Psychology. The journal publishes cross-disciplinary psychology, psychological articles that are conce ...
'' survey, published in 2002, ranked Erikson as the 12th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century.


Early life

Erikson's mother, Karla Abrahamsen, came from a prominent
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), suc ...

Jewish
family in
Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2021, the city had a population of 799,033 (638,117 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,677 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 42,670 in Tårnby Municipal ...

Copenhagen
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is the most populous and politically central Constituent state, constituent of the Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, a constitutio ...

Denmark
. She was married to Jewish stockbroker Valdemar Isidor Salomonsen, but had been estranged from him for several months at the time Erik was conceived. Little is known about Erik's biological father except that he was a non-Jewish Dane. On discovering her pregnancy, Karla fled to
Frankfurt am Main Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; : , " on the "; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the of . Its 763,380 inhabitants as of 31 December 2019 make it the in . On the river Main (a of the ), it forms a co ...

Frankfurt am Main
in
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
where Erik was born on 15 June 1902 and was given the surname Salomonsen. She fled due to conceiving Erik out of wedlock, and the identity of Erik's birth father was never made clear. Following Erik's birth, Karla trained to be a nurse and moved to
Karlsruhe Karlsruhe ( , , ; South Franconian South Franconian (german: Südfränkisch) is an Upper German dialect which is spoken in the northernmost part of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a States of Germany, state (''Land'') in s ...

Karlsruhe
. In 1905 she married Erik's Jewish
pediatrician Pediatrics ( also spelled paediatrics or pædiatrics) is the branch of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, pre ...

pediatrician
, Theodor Homburger. In 1908, Erik Salomonsen's name was changed to Erik Homburger, and in 1911 he was officially adopted by his stepfather. Karla and Theodor told Erik that Theodor was his real father, only revealing the truth to him in late childhood; he remained bitter about the deception all his life. The development of
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...
seems to have been one of Erikson's greatest concerns in his own life as well as being central to his theoretical work. As an older adult, he wrote about his adolescent "identity confusion" in his European days. "My identity confusion", he wrote " as at times onthe borderline between neurosis and adolescent psychosis." Erikson's daughter wrote that her father's "real psychoanalytic identity" was not established until he "replaced his stepfather's surname omburgerwith a name of his own invention rikson" The decision to change his last name came about as he started his job at Yale, and the "Erikson" name was accepted by Erik's family when they became American citizens. It is said his children enjoyed the fact they would not be called "Hamburger" any longer. Erik was a tall, blond, blue-eyed boy who was raised in the Jewish religion. Due to these mixed identities, he was a target of bigotry by both Jewish and gentile children. At temple school, his peers teased him for being
Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#North, North Atlantic * Scandinavia, a cultural ...

Nordic
; while at grammar school, he was teased for being Jewish. At Das Humanistische Gymnasium his main interests were art, history and languages, but he lacked a general interest in school and graduated without academic distinction. After graduation, instead of attending medical school as his stepfather had desired, he attended art school in Munich, much to the liking of his mother and her friends. Uncertain about his vocation and his fit in society, Erik dropped out of school and began a lengthy period of roaming about Germany and Italy as a wandering artist with his childhood friend Peter Blos and others. For children from prominent German families, taking a "wandering year" was not uncommon. During his travels he often sold or traded his sketches to people he met. Eventually, Erik realized he would never become a full-time artist and returned to Karlsruhe and became an art teacher. During the time he worked at his teaching job, Erik was hired by an heiress to sketch and eventually tutor her children. Erik worked very well with these children and was eventually hired by many other families that were close to Anna and Sigmund Freud. During this period, which lasted until he was 25 years old, he continued to contend with questions about his father and competing ideas of ethnic, religious, and national identity.


Psychoanalytic experience and training

When Erikson was twenty-five, his friend Peter Blos invited him to Vienna to tutor art at the small Burlingham-Rosenfeld School for children whose affluent parents were undergoing psychoanalysis by
Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian and the founder of , a clinical method for treating through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Freud was born to (from ) parents ...

Sigmund Freud
's daughter,
Anna Freud Anna Freud (3 December 1895 – 9 October 1982) was a British psychoanalyst of Austrian-Jewish descent. She was born in Vienna en, Viennese , iso_code = AT-9 , registration_plate = Vehicle registrat ...
. Anna noticed Erikson's sensitivity to children at the school and encouraged him to study psychoanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute, where prominent analysts August Aichhorn,
Heinz Hartmann Heinz Hartmann (November 4, 1894 in Vienna en, Viennese , iso_code = AT-9 , registration_plate = Vehicle registration plates of Austria, W , postal_code_type = Postal code , postal_code ...
, and
Paul Federn Paul Federn (October 13, 1871 – May 4, 1950) was an Austrian-American psychologist A psychologist is a person who studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting ...
were among those who supervised his theoretical studies. He specialized in child analysis and underwent a training analysis with Anna Freud.
Helene Deutsch Helene Deutsch (née Rosenbach; 9 October 1884 – 29 March 1982) was a Polish American Polish Americans ( pl, Polonia amerykańska) are Americans who have total or partial Poles, Polish ancestry. There are an estimated 9.15 million self-ident ...
and Edward Bibring supervised his initial treatment of an adult. Simultaneously he studied the
Montessori method The Montessori method of education was developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori. Emphasizing independence, it views children as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a sufficiently supportive and well-prepar ...
of education, which focused on child development and sexual stages. In 1933 he received his diploma from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. This and his Montessori diploma were to be Erikson's only earned academic credentials for his life's work.


United States

In 1930 Erikson married Joan Mowat Serson, a Canadian dancer and artist whom Erikson had met at a dress ball. During their marriage Erikson converted to Christianity. In 1933, with
Adolf Hitler's rise to power Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, ...
in Germany, the burning of Freud's books in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
and the potential
Nazi Nazism ( ), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about th ...
threat to Austria, the family left an impoverished Vienna with their two young sons and emigrated to
Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2021, the city had a population of 799,033 (638,117 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,677 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 42,670 in Tårnby Municipal ...

Copenhagen
. Unable to regain Danish citizenship because of residence requirements, the family left for the United States, where citizenship would not be an issue. In the United States, Erikson became the first child psychoanalyst in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
and held positions at
Massachusetts General Hospital Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General or MGH) is the original and largest of located in the neighborhood of , . It is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and has a capacity of 999 beds. With , it is one of the two foun ...
, the Judge Baker Guidance Center, and at
Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School (HMS) is the graduate medical school A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians and surgeons. Such med ...
and Psychological Clinic, establishing a singular reputation as a clinician. In 1936, Erikson left Harvard and joined the staff at
Yale University Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
, where he worked at the Institute of Social Relations and taught at the
medical school A medical school is a tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary education, is the education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowled ...
. Erikson continued to deepen his interest in areas beyond psychoanalysis and to explore connections between psychology and anthropology. He made important contacts with anthropologists such as
Margaret Mead Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901 – November 15, 1978) was an American cultural anthropologist Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, ...
,
Gregory Bateson Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was an English anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
, and
Ruth Benedict Ruth Fulton Benedict (June 5, 1887 – September 17, 1948) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societi ...

Ruth Benedict
. Erikson said his theory of the development of thought derived from his social and cultural studies. In 1938, he left Yale to study the
Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dakota, Georgia, an unincorporated ...

Sioux
tribe in
South Dakota South Dakota () (Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dakot ...

South Dakota
on their reservation. After his studies in South Dakota he traveled to
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...

California
to study the
Yurok The Yurok (Karuk language: Yurúkvaarar / Yuru Kyara - "downriver Indian; i.e. Yurok Indian") are an Indigenous peoples of California, Indigenous people from along the Klamath River and Pacific Ocean, Pacific coast, whose homelands are located in p ...

Yurok
tribe. Erikson discovered differences between the children of the Sioux and Yurok tribe. This marked the beginning of Erikson's life passion of showing the importance of events in childhood and how society affects them. In 1939 he left Yale, and the Erikson's moved to California, where Erik had been invited to join a team engaged in a longitudinal study of child development for the
University of California The University of California (UC) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university, research university system in the U.S. state of California. The system is composed of the campuses at University of Californ ...
at Berkeley's Institute of Child Welfare. In addition, in San Francisco he opened a private practice in child psychoanalysis. While in California he was able to make his second study of American Indian children when he joined anthropologist
Alfred Kroeber Alfred Louis Kroeber (June 11, 1876 – October 5, 1960) was an American cultural anthropologist Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, huma ...
on a field trip to Northern California to study the
Yurok The Yurok (Karuk language: Yurúkvaarar / Yuru Kyara - "downriver Indian; i.e. Yurok Indian") are an Indigenous peoples of California, Indigenous people from along the Klamath River and Pacific Ocean, Pacific coast, whose homelands are located in p ...
. In 1950, after publishing the book, ''
Childhood and Society ''Childhood and Society'' is a 1950 book about the social significance of childhood Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by ...
'', for which he is best known, Erikson left the University of California when California's
Levering ActThe Levering Act is a law enacted by the U.S. state of California in 1950. It requires state employees to subscribe to a loyalty oath that specifically disavowed radical beliefs. It was aimed in particular at employees of the University of California ...
required professors there to sign
loyalty oaths A loyalty oath is a pledge of allegiance to an organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an institution, or an association – comprising one o ...
. From 1951 to 1960 he worked and taught at the
Austen Riggs Center The Austen Riggs Center is a psychiatric treatment facility in Stockbridge, Massachusetts Stockbridge is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criter ...
, a prominent psychiatric treatment facility in
Stockbridge, Massachusetts Stockbridge is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin an ...
, where he worked with emotionally troubled young people. Another famous Stockbridge resident,
Norman Rockwell Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was an American painter and illustrator. His works have a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture The culture of the United States ...
, became Erikson's patient and friend. During this time he also served as a visiting professor at the
University of Pittsburgh The University of Pittsburgh, familiarly known as Pitt, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or ...
where he worked with
Benjamin Spock Benjamin McLane Spock (May 2, 1903 – March 15, 1998) was an American pediatrician whose book '' Baby and Child Care'' (1946) is one of the best-selling volumes in history. The book's premise to mothers is that "you know more than you think ...
and
Fred Rogers Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003), also known as Mister Rogers, was an American television host, author, producer, and Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism Prot ...

Fred Rogers
at Arsenal Nursery School of the
Western Psychiatric Institute The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is a $21billion integrated delivery system, integrated global nonprofit health enterprise that has 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals with more than 8,000 licensed beds, 700 clinical locations includi ...
. He returned to Harvard in the 1960s as a professor of human development and remained there until his retirement in 1970. In 1973 the
National Endowment for the Humanities The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency of the U.S. government, established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 (), dedicated to supporting research, education, pres ...
selected Erikson for the
Jefferson Lecture The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is an honorary lecture series established in 1972 by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). According to the NEH, the Lecture is "the highest honor the Federal government of the United States, fede ...
, the United States' highest honor for achievement in the
humanities Humanities are academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

humanities
. Erikson's lecture was titled ''Dimensions of a New Identity''.


Theories of development and the ego

Erikson is credited with being one of the originators of
ego psychology Ego psychology is a school of psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis (from Greek language, Greek: + ) is a set of Theory, theories and Therapy, therapeutic techniques"What is psychoanalysis? Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things ...
, which stressed the role of the ego as being more than a servant of the id. Although Erikson accepted Freud's theory, he did not focus on the parent-child relationship and gave more importance to the role of the ego, particularly the person's progression as self. According to Erikson, the environment in which a child lived was crucial to providing growth, adjustment, a source of self-awareness and identity. Erikson won a
Pulitzer Prize#REDIRECT Pulitzer Prize The Pulitzer Prize () is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph ...
and a US
National Book Award The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors. The Nat ...
in category Philosophy and Religion for '' Gandhi's Truth'' (1969), which focused more on his theory as applied to later phases in the life cycle. In Erikson's discussion of development, he rarely mentioned a stage of development by age. In fact he referred to it as a ''prolonged adolescence'' which has led to further investigation into a period of development between adolescence and young adulthood called '' emerging adulthood''. Erikson's theory of development includes various psychosocial crises where each conflict builds off of the previous stages. The result of each conflict can have negative or positive impacts on a person's development, however, a negative outcome can be revisited and readdressed throughout the life span. On ego identity versus role confusion: ego identity enables each person to have a sense of individuality, or as Erikson would say, "Ego identity, then, in its subjective aspect, is the awareness of the fact that there is a self-sameness and continuity to the ego's synthesizing methods and a continuity of one's meaning for others". Role confusion, however, is, according to Barbara Engler, "the inability to conceive of oneself as a productive member of one's own society." This inability to conceive of oneself as a productive member is a great danger; it can occur during adolescence, when looking for an occupation.


Erikson's theory of personality

The Erikson life-stages, in order of the eight stages in which they may be acquired, are listed below, as well as the "virtues" that Erikson has attached to these stages, (these virtues are underlined). # Hope, Basic trust vs. basic mistrust-This stage covers the period of infancy, 0–12 months, which is the most fundamental stage of life, as this is the stage that all other ones build off of. Whether the baby develops basic trust or basic mistrust is not merely a matter of nurture. It is multi-faceted and has strong social components. It depends on the quality of the maternal relationship. The mother carries out and reflects her inner perceptions of trustworthiness, a sense of personal meaning, etc. on the child. An important part of this stage is providing stable and constant care of the infant. This helps the child develop trust that can transition into relationships other than parental. Additionally, children develop trust in others to support them. If successful in this, the baby develops a sense of trust, which "forms the basis in the child for a sense of identity." Failure to develop this trust will result in a feeling of fear and a sense that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable. # Will, Autonomy vs. shame—This stage covers early childhood around 1–3 years old and introduces the concept of autonomy vs. shame and doubt. The child begins to discover the beginnings of his or her independence, and parents must facilitate the child's sense of doing basic tasks "all by himself/herself." Discouragement can lead to the child doubting his or her efficacy. During this stage the child is usually trying to master toilet training. Additionally, the child discovers their talents or abilities, and it is important to ensure the child is able to explore those activities. Erikson states it is essential to allow the children freedom in exploration but also create an environment welcoming of failures. Therefore, the parent should not punish or reprimand the child for failing at the task. Shame and doubt occurs when the child feels incompetent in ability to complete tasks and survive. Will is achieved with success of this stage. Children successful in this stage will have "self-control without a loss of self-esteem." # Purpose, Initiative vs. guilt—This stage covers preschool children from ages three to five. Does the child have the ability to do things on her own, such as dress herself? Children in this stage are interacting with peers, and creating their own games and activities. Children in this stage practice independence and start to make their own decisions. If allowed to make these decisions, the child will develop confidence in her ability to lead others. If the child is not allowed to make certain decisions, then a sense of guilt develops. Guilt in this stage is characterized by a sense of being a burden to others, and the child will therefore usually present themselves as a follower as they lack the confidence to do otherwise. Additionally, the child is asking many questions to build knowledge of the world. If the questions earn responses that are critical and condescending, the child will also develop feelings of guilt. Success in this stage leads to the virtue of purpose, which is the normal balance between the two extremes. # Competence, Industry vs. inferiority. This area covers school age children from six to seven. Children compare their self worth to others around them. Friends can have a significant impact on the growth of the child. The child can recognize major disparities in personal abilities relative to other children. Erikson places some emphasis on the teacher, who should ensure that children do not feel inferior. During this stage the child's friend group increases in importance in his life. Often during this stage the child will try to prove competency with things rewarded in society, and also develop satisfaction with his abilities. Encouraging the child increases feelings of adequacy and competency in ability to reach goals. Restriction from teachers or parents leads to doubt, questioning, and reluctance in abilities and therefore may not reach full capabilities. Competence, the virtue of this stage, is developed when a healthy balance between the two extremes is reached. #
Fidelity Fidelity is the quality of faithfulness Eugene Santos or Faithfulness is the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. It may be ex ...

Fidelity
, Identity vs. role confusion—This section deals with adolescence, meaning those between twelve and eighteen years old. This occurs when we start to question ourselves and ask questions relevant to who we are and what we want to accomplish. Who am I, how do I fit in? Where am I going in life? The adolescent is exploring and seeking for her own unique identity. This is done by looking at personal beliefs, goals, and values. The morality of the individual is also explored and developed. Erikson believes that if the parents allow the child to explore, she will determine her own identity. If, however, the parents continually push her to conform to their views, the teen will face identity confusion. The teen is also looking towards the future in terms of employment, relationships, and families. Learning the roles she provides in society is essential since the teen begins to develop the desire to fit in to society. Fidelity is characterized by the ability to commit to others and acceptance of others even with differences. Identity crisis is the result of role confusion and can cause the adolescent to try out different lifestyles. #
Love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and ...

Love
, Intimacy vs. isolation—This is the first stage of adult development. This development usually happens during young adulthood, which is between the ages of 18 to 40. This stages marks a transition from just thinking about ourselves to thinking about other people in the world. We are social creatures and as a result need to be with other people and form relationships with them. Dating, marriage, family and friendships are important during this stage in their life. This is due to the increase in the growth of intimate relationships with others. It is important to note that ego development earlier in life (middle adolescence) is a strong predictor of how well intimacy for romantic relationships will transpire in emerging adulthood. By successfully forming loving relationships with other people, individuals are able to experience love and intimacy. They also feel safety, care, and commitment in these relationships. Furthermore, if individuals are able to successfully resolve the crisis of intimacy versus isolation, they are able to achieve the virtue of love. Those who fail to form lasting relationships may feel isolated and alone. # Care, Generativity vs. stagnation—The second stage of adulthood happens between the ages of 40–65. During this time people are normally settled in their lives and know what is important to them. A person is either making progress in his career or treading lightly in his career and unsure if this is what he wants to do for the rest of his working life. Also during this time, a person may be raising their children. If they are a parent, then they are reevaluating their life roles. This is one way of contributing to society along with productivity at work and involvement in community activities and organizations. Individuals that exercise the concept of generativity believe in the next generation and seek to nurture them in creative ways through practices such as parenting, teaching, and mentoring. Having a sense of generativity can be considered significant for both the individual and the society, exemplifying their roles as effective parents, leaders for organizations, etc. If a person is not comfortable with the way his life is progressing, he's usually regretful about the decisions that he has made in the past and feels a sense of uselessness. #
Wisdom Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a state ...

Wisdom
, Ego integrity vs. despair—This stage affects the age group of 65 and on. During this time an individual has reached the last chapter in her life and retirement is approaching or has already taken place. Individuals in this stage must learn to accept the course of their life or they will look back on it with despair. Ego-integrity means the acceptance of life in its fullness: the victories and the defeats, what was accomplished and what was not accomplished. Wisdom is the result of successfully accomplishing this final developmental task. Wisdom is defined as "informed and detached concern for life itself in the face of death itself." Having a guilty conscience about the past or failing to accomplish important goals will eventually lead to depression and hopelessness. Achieving the virtue of the stage involves the feeling of living a successful life. # For the Ninth Stage see Erikson's stages of psychosocial development § Ninth Stage. Favorable outcomes of each stage are sometimes known as ''virtues'', a term used in the context of Erikson's work as it is applied to medicine, meaning "potencies". These virtues are also interpreted to be the same as "strengths", which are considered inherent in the individual life cycle and in the sequence of generations. Erikson's research suggests that each individual must learn how to hold both extremes of each specific life-stage challenge in tension with one another, not rejecting one end of the tension or the other. Only when both extremes in a life-stage challenge are understood and accepted as both required and useful, can the optimal virtue for that stage surface. Thus, 'trust' and 'mis-trust' must both be understood and accepted, in order for realistic 'hope' to emerge as a viable solution at the first stage. Similarly, 'integrity' and 'despair' must both be understood and embraced, in order for actionable 'wisdom' to emerge as a viable solution at the last stage.


Erikson's psychology of religion

Psychoanalytic writers have always engaged in nonclinical interpretation of cultural phenomena such as art,
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
, and historical movements. Erik Erikson gave such a strong contribution that his work was well received by students of religion and spurred various secondary literature. Erikson’s psychology of religion begins with an acknowledgement of how religious tradition can have an interplay with a child’s basis sense of trust or mistrust. With regard to Erikson’s theory of personality as expressed in his eight stages of the life cycle, each with their different tasks to master, each also included a corresponding virtue, as mentioned above, which form a taxonomy for religious and ethical life. Erikson extends this construct by emphasizing that human individual and social life is characterized by ritualization, “an agreed-upon interplay between at least two persons who repeat it at meaningful intervals an in recurring contexts.” Such ritualization involves careful attentiveness to what can be called ceremonial forms and details, higher symbolic meanings, active engagement of participants, and a feeling of absolute necessity. Each life cycle stage includes its own ritualization with a corresponding ritualism: numinous vs. idolism, judicious vs. legalism, dramatic vs. impersonation, formal vs. formalism, ideological vs. totalism, affiliative vs. elitism, generational vs. authoritism, and integral vs. dogmatism. Perhaps Erikson’s best-known contributions to the psychology of religion were his book length psychobiographies, ''Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History'', on
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
, and ''Gandhi’s Truth'', on
Mohandas K. Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial nationalist politics in the t ...

Mohandas K. Gandhi
, for which he remarkably won the
Pulitzer Prize#REDIRECT Pulitzer Prize The Pulitzer Prize () is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph ...
and the
National Book Award The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors. The Nat ...
. Both books attempt to show how childhood development and parental influence, social and cultural context, even political crises form a confluence with personal identity. These studies demonstrate how each influential person discovered mastery, both individually and socially, in what Erikson would call the historical moment. Individuals like Luther or Gandhi were what Erikson called a Homo Religiosus, individuals for whom the final life cycle challenge of integrity vs. despair is a lifelong crisis, and they become gifted innovators whose own psychological cure becomes an ideological breakthrough for their time.


Personal life

Erikson married Canadian-born American dancer and artist Joan Erikson (née Sarah Lucretia Serson) in 1930 and they remained together until his death. The Eriksons had four children: Kai T. Erikson, Jon Erikson, Sue Erikson Bloland, and Neil Erikson. His eldest son, Kai T. Erikson, is an American sociologist. Their daughter, Sue, "an integrative psychotherapist and psychoanalyst", described her father as plagued by "lifelong feelings of personal inadequacy". He thought that by combining resources with his wife, he could "achieve the recognition" that might produce a feeling of adequacy. Erikson died on 12 May 1994 in Harwich, Massachusetts. He is buried in the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Harwich.


Bibliography


Major works

* ''
Childhood and Society ''Childhood and Society'' is a 1950 book about the social significance of childhood Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by ...
'' (1950) * '' Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History'' (1958) * ''Insight and Responsibility'' (1966) * ''Identity: Youth and Crisis'' (1968) * '' Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence'' (1969) * ''Life History and the Historical Moment'' (1975) * ''Toys and Reasons: Stages in the Ritualization of Experience'' (1977) * ''Adulthood'' (edited book, 1978) * ''Vital Involvement in Old Age'' (with J. M. Erikson and H. Kivnick, 1986) * ''The Life Cycle Completed'' (with J. M. Erikson, 1987)


Collections

* ''Identity and the Life Cycle. Selected Papers'' (1959) * ''"A Way of Looking at Things – Selected Papers from 1930 to 1980, Erik H. Erikson"'' ed. by S. Schlein, W. W. Norton & Co, New York, (1995)


See also

* Erikson Institute


References


Citations


Works cited

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Further reading

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External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Erikson, Erik 1902 births 1994 deaths
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