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Erik Erikson and his Psychosocial Theory Erikson was viewed to be ‘the most important’ person to have contributed in knowing some of the developments in the early years of a man’s life. Such significant developments coincide, not just with the physical state of man being perceived as a toddler or an adult, but also with the ability of the toddler or the adult to think and act based on what a toddler, or an adult thinks. He believed that in every action man makes corresponds to an inert thinking, which was influenced by some events that had happened in the past and the culture where one belongs (Berk, 2006, p. 18; Douvan, 1997, p. 15). A prominent psychoanalyst just like Erikson, Sigmund Freud was the one who first initiated the whole idea into a study and made a point that such developments were basically driven by one’s hidden and innate pleasures that are then guided with the rationality of thinking when one becomes mature, and also by the so-called “conscience” being the man’s highest thinking capability (Berk, 2006, p. 17). Consequently, Erikson’s psychosocial theory emerged when he intently thought that although Freud was correct with his notion about motivating the occurrence of man’s significant developments, those motivating factors Freud had pointed out, for Erikson, are not enough. Erikson, in his theory, had stressed the presence of a “positive” motivation, coining that it is not just the man’s sense of right or wrong, or his/her innate pleasures as a way for changes to occur, but an individual is driven to change because everyone must contribute something to the society (Berk, 2006, p. 18). The Strengths and Limitation of Psychosocial Theory Being psychoanalytic in nature, psychosocial theory suggests that to know two contrasting ideas present in every period of man’s development and identify which of the ideas are suited to the person, based on some past events, can actually determine possible reasons why a person is acting that way or is thinking such, a strength powerful enough for a society to understand the people that it comprises (Berk, 2006, p. 19; Capps, 2012, p. 270). If Freud had identified a gradual change from birth to adolescence, it was Erikson who had pointed out such observation of Freud until the old age, making Erikson the first one to pinpoint the “lifespan” of man (Berk, 2006, p. 18). To know what one has felt when he/she was still a baby and predict the feeling when he/she gets old are part of the process of viewing one’s lifespan, another strength noteworthy to be inculcated in the hearts of people since knowing how one had lived life can lead to improving oneself. With the theory’s strengths come also its limitations. According to many authors (e.g. Cairns, 1998; Thomas, 2000; Westen & Gabbard, 1999) who have proven the point of Berk (2006), Erikson’s theory is limited to only identifying the value, i.e., choosing whether a person had demonstrated “initiative” in carrying out a task when he/she was a toddler or had been guilty towards the task, and is “vague” for individuals who are interested in psychoanalysis to assess the stated values through experiments (p. 19). It is also not reliable in terms of getting numerical data (Prelinger & Zimet, ...Show more

Summary

The Psychosocial Theory of Erik Erikson During the early times of one’s life, when all that a person has to do is sleep, eat, and sleep again, one is most likely not aware of what is changing within his/her whole being. Knowing that something had been constantly changing, becoming aware that one has grown up, developed particular abilities, and shown mastery of skills he/she was not able to master before, happens during early adulthood or earlier, depending on the thinking capacity of the person…
Author : evie74
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