Erik Erikson: a Psychoanalytical Legacy

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Date Submitted: 07/30/2012 10:20 AM

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The psychoanalytical theory developed by Erik H. Erikson called his eight stages of psychosocial development will be the theory discussed in this paper. There will be three articles that will be used in this paper. The first article will provide the reader with an overview of the beginnings of Erickson’s life and what brought him to develop his eight stages of psychosocial development. The second article will give the briefest of basics on Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development theory starting with trust vs. mistrust and ending with integrity vs. despair. And finally, the third article will discuss an overview of the application of his eight stages of psychosocial theory as it correlates to the five ecological stages pertaining to homeless individuals with mental illness.

Erik Erikson: A Psychoanalytical Legacy

Erik Erikson: Identities Architect

Erik H. Erickson was the son of a Jewish/Danish woman. He did not know who is biological father was and even though he was adopted by his mother’s second husband, Theodor Homburger, finding out who his father was became something he looked for his entire life. Erikson originally wanted to be a painter and it was through his association with fellow painters that he came to meet Anna Freud. He worked with Anna Freud and trained as a psychoanalyst. Although some believe that Erikson’s work began out that of Freud’s work, Erikson’s early writings, those before Freud, show a man who was already thinking about the self and how it related with society, all without having any formal degree (Hopkins, 1995).

Erikson would move to America in 1933 where he began his work as a psychoanalyst. He opened his office in Boston, MA and began his practice as a child psychoanalyst. He went on to become a professor at Harvard University and in 1944 his daughter was born with Down’s syndrome. This proved to be a big turning point in Erikson’s life and was the beginning of the concept of Erikson’s eight stage...