Saturday, August 15, 2015

On Erik Erikson's Personality Theory

On Erik Erikson's Personality Theory: Building on Sigmund Freud's ideas concerning psycho-social development, Erikson concocted a comprehensive series of "stages" that depict personality growth. Regarding Freud, the id represents the irrational, unconscious, and pleasure-seeking aspect of an individual while the ego reflects reality, as it rationally/consciously tries to pursue what the id desires. Lastly, the superego symbolizes an individual's conscience, which attempts to mediate whatever conflicts occur between the id and ego. For Erikson, however, a personality consists of more than Freud's three basic components. In fact, Erikson's personality theory contains eight stages, as it describes how a person should psycho-socially develop from infancy to late adulthood. To simplify Erikson's stages, existential questions can be proposed to capture the gist of what each stage represents. For example, two questions of the adolescent stage (years 15 to 25) might be "who am I?" or "how can I become a contributing member of society?" And two questions of the middle-adulthood stage (years 35 to 55) could be "can I love another person?" or "how can I make life worth living?" Nevertheless, completion of each stage is NOT necessarily contingent upon answering its questions.

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