Theory

Theory: Erikson’s second stage of psychosocial development is referred to as Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt, it occurs between the ages of one to three years old. In this stage a child begins to practice independence and works towards the development of their skills. During this time it is ideal for parents to allow and encourage their children to do things on their own accord and develop as individuals. If a child is overly controlled and not given the opportunity to assert themselves, they will have a hard time with decision making later on in adulthood.
Example: I am a very indecisive person, at times I just agree with whatever someone else decides for me. Being the youngest of three siblings, I was always babied a lot. However, that also meant my mom was really controlling. My mother mostly picked out my clothing as a child, and would criticize any outfits she’d allow me to choose. Based on Erikson’s theory, my mother did not allow me many liberties to be independent as a child, therefore I now feel inadequate when it comes to decision making.
Theory: Erikson’s sixth stage of psychosocial development is known as Intimacy vs Isolation, it begins during young adulthood and lasts between the ages of nineteen to thirty-nine years old. During this stage we explore intimate relationships with others and are driven by the desire to share a long-term commitment with someone. Failure to complete this stage will have an individual feeling isolated and lonely.
Example: John Doe is a bachelor in his late-twenties. Even though he has the desire to find a life-long partner, due to his introverted personality he hasn’t had much luck in the dating scene. As time ticks on, John begins to feel isolated and lonely.
Theory: The Latency Period is part of Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stages. It begins at the age of six years old and lasts until an individual hits puberty. According to Freud, during the Latency Period a child’s libido lies dormant and they are more interested in schoolwork and hobbies.
Example: Jen is six years old, she is convinced boys have cooties and wants nothing to do with them. She occupies her by diligently doing all her schoolwork and having tea parties with her best friends.
Theory: Trust vs Mistrust is Erikson’s first stage of psychosocial development, it begins from the moment someone is born to the first year of their life. Erikson theorized that infants who are cared for would grow up to be trusting adults, and those which are neglected will develop trust issues later on in life.
Example: Daisy is a very reserved person, she has a friend group consisting of two people and is wary about who she places her trust in. As an infant, her parents did not provide her with sufficient attention, and this was later reflected in her guarded persona as an adult.
Theory: The third stage in Freud’s psychosexual theory is the Phallic Stage, it ranges from the ages of three to six years old. A child learns the differences in anatomy between a male and female, and this in turn starts a conflict. A boy develops feelings for his mother and views his father as an opponent – this is known as the Oedipus Complex. Alternatively, a girl would develop feelings for her father and hold a grudge against her mother – this is referred to as the Elektra Complex. Both conflicts are resolved when the child is able to identify themselves with the parent of the same sex.
Example: Timmy is four years old, he is very fond of mother but seems to resent his father. The only time time Timmy seems to take a liking to his father is when they are discussing cars. Eventually, through their mutual love of vehicles, Timmy begins to warm up to his dad.
Theory: Identity vs role confusion is the fifth stage in Erikson’s psychosocial stages, it starts at eleven years of age and ends at nineteen. In this stage adolescents are known to experiment and explore different roles, with the end game of eventually commiting to one. Should an individual not succeed in ‘finding themselves’, they will continue their search throughout other developmental stages.
Example: Alan is a trans male. In his early teenage years he struggled with body dysphoria and felt overall uncomfortable in his own skin. After changing his birth name and fully transitioning at the age of twenty-four, he is now confident in his gender identity.
Theory: The seventh stage in Erikson’s psychosocial stages is Generativity vs. Stagnation/Self-absorption. This stage lasts approximately from forty to sixty-four years of age. During this time another crisis presents itself; adults are faced with the option of either sharing their knowledge and helping out future generations, or becoming self centered and not caring what happens to them.
Example: Gwendolyn is fifty-five year old successful business owner. On her free days she likes to visit classrooms and teach kids about a what to expect in life. She also enjoys donating to local schools and believes that children are the future.
Theory: Freud’s first psychosexual stage is the Oral Stage, it begins from the moment a person is born and continues until their first year of life. Freud believed that
Infants receive satisfaction from putting things into their mouths, and that too much or too little oral stimulation could later lead to a fixation.
Example: Nathan is sixteen and absentmindedly sucks on his thumb when he’s concentrating. His parents had a hard time taking away his binky when he was a toddler, and they were forced to put up with him using one until the age of seven. Nathan now sucks his thumb as a teen.
Theory: The last stage in Freud’s pyschosexual theory is the Genital Stage, it lasts from an individual’s puberty and onward. In this stage a person rejects the idea of incest and goes onto to pursue sexual intercourse with another person of the opposite gender.
Example: Timmy’s sexual attraction has shifted from his mother onto another person of his opposite sex. Now he seeks sexual contact from them.
Theory: Erikson’s final psychosocial stage is Ego Integrity vs. Despair, it starts at the age of sixty-five and lasts until death. In this stage an individual begins to question is they have lived a meaningful or satisfying life. If they manage to overcome this crisis successfully, the person will be able to look back on their life with contentment and earn the virtue of wisdom.
Example: Dorthy recently turned seventy-five. As she sits down and reflects on her life, she begins to feel regretful about some of the choices she’s made in the past – about some the opportunities she’s allowed to slip from her grasp. However, she understands that there’s no going back and becomes overall satisfied with accomplishments she’s made.

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