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Post-Freudian - Ericksen

Psychosocial – psychological development occurs through an interaction between the biological needs of the individual and the social forces encountered during the course of daily life, in which the theory covers the whole life-span.

8 psychosocial stages

§  Each stage requires a different level of social interaction: conflict arises at each stage leading to crisis.

§  This can alter the course of personality development either favourably or unfavourably.

Examples of Ericksen’s crises:

1.        During the first year of life the crisis is trust vs mistrust

a.       Child well cared for/safe develops trust

b.      Child neglected/unloved develops mistrust

2.       In adolescence the crisis is identity versus role confusion (the identity crisis)

Ego strength

§  Psychologically healthy individuals resolve the crises arising at each stage and grow in ego strength.

Differences between Freud and Ericksen:

·         Ericksen focuses on relationships whereas Freud focuses on the unconscious effect of the sex instinct.

·         Ericksen focuses on what can strengthen or weaken the ego whereas Freud is more interested in the conflicts the ego has to resolve between the id and superego.

·         Ericksen’s approach is more positive and optimistic as he said you can go back and resolve conflict at stages, whilst Freud’s approach is centred around conflict in which only psychoanalysis resolves conflict.


Psychological crises


Ego strength

Important relationship


Trust vs. mistrust

Learns to feel comfortable and trust parents’ care or develops distrust of the world


Maternal person


Identity vs. identity diffusion

Acquires a sense of identity in terms


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