Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages

April 19th, 2009 by Jashodhara Purkayastha

Human beings are born with some basic capabilities and distinct temperaments. Some of the personalities exist from birth and the behaviour continues till the end of life.These traits remain but some of the feelings either competent or inferior can be acquired by taking a challenge or support from parents, teachers, or caretakers. But these challenges go through dramatic changes on the way to adulthood till old age. According to Erik Erikson (1902-1994), the course of development is determined by the interaction of the body, mind, and culture. He organised life into eight stages called psychosocial stages. Erikson emphasized developmental change throughout the human life span. In Erikson’s theory, eight stages of development unfold as we go through the life span. Each stage consists of a crisis that must be faced. According to Erikson, these crises are not a catastrophe but a turning point of increased vulnerability and enhanced potential. The more an individual resolves these crises successfully, there will be healthier development. 

Infancy — Age 0 to 1: Trust versus mistrust is Erikson’s first psychosocial stage, which is experienced in the first year of life. A sense of trust requires a feeling of physical comfort and a minimal amount of fear and apprehension about the future. Trust in infancy sets the stage for a lifelong expectation that the world will be a good and pleasant place to live.

Positive outcome: If their needs are met consistently and responsively by the parents or caretaker, infants not only will develop a secure attachment with the parents and caretakers but will learn to trust their environment in general as well.
Negative outcome: If not, infants will develop mistrust towards people and things in their environment, even towards themselves. Eg. If Mother leaves the child at this crucial age.

Toddler — Age 1 to 2: Autonomy versus shame and doubt is Erikson’s second stage of development, occurring in late infancy and toddlerhood (1-3 years). After gaining trust in their caregivers, infants begin to discover that their behavior is their own. They start to assert their sense of independence, or autonomy. They realize their will. If infants are restrained too much or punished too harshly, they are likely to develop a sense of shame and doubt.

Positive outcome: If parents encourage their initiative and reassure him/her when he/she makes mistakes, the child will develop the confidence needed to cope with future situations that require choice, control, and independence.
Negative outcome: If parents are overprotective, or disapproving of the child’s acts of independence, it may begin to feel ashamed of his/her behaviour, or have too much doubt of his/her abilities. Eg. Parents or caretakers insult them or crack jokes in front of others.

Early Childhood — Age 2 to 6: Initiative versus guilt is Erikson’s third stage of development, occurring during the preschool years. As preschool children encounter a widening social world, they are challenged more than when they were infants. Active, purposeful behaviour is needed to cope with these challenges. Children are asked to assume responsibility for their bodies, their behaviour, their toys, and their pets. Developing a sense of responsibility increases initiative. Uncomfortable guilt feelings may arise, though, if the child is irresponsible and is made to feel too anxious. Erikson has a positive outlook on this stage. He believes that most guilt is quickly compensated for by a sense of accomplishment.

Positive outcome: If parents are encouraging, but consistent in discipline, children will learn to accept without guilt, that certain things are not allowed, but at the same time will not feel shame when using their imagination and engaging in make-believe role plays.
Negative outcome: If not, children may develop a sense of guilt and may come to believe that it is wrong to be independent. Eg. Over-ambitious and over-protective parents.

Elementary and Middle School Years — Age 6 to 12: Industry versus Inferiority is Erikson’s fourth developmental stage, which takes place from age 6 to 11, involves the shift from whimsical play to a desire for achievement and completion. A child learns that he receives praise and recognition for doing well in school and completing tasks and also realizes he can fail at these tasks as well.

Positive outcome: If children can discover pleasure in intellectual stimulation, being productive, seeking success, they will develop a sense of competence.
Negative outcome:
If not, they will develop a sense of inferiority. Eg. Teacher or parent use the negative adjective of discouragement

Adolescence — Age 12 to 18: Identity versus Identity Confusion is Erikson’s fifth developmental stage, wherein adolescents begin to seek their true identities and a sense of self. The central question of this stage is of course, “Who am I?”.

Positive outcome: If the adolescent solves this conflict successfully, he will come out of this stage with a strong identity, and ready to plan for  future.
Negative outcome: If not, the adolescent will sink into confusion, unable to make decisions and choices, especially about vocation, sexual orientation, and his role in life in general.

Eg. a Teacher or parent to be a friendly and Faithful guide to reason life analytically.

Young Adulthood — Age 19 to 40: Intimacy versus isolation is Erikson’s sixth developmental stage, which individuals experience during the early adulthood years. At this time, individuals face the developmental task of forming intimate relationships with others. Erikson describes intimacy as finding oneself yet losing oneself in another. If the young adult forms healthy friendships and an intimate relationship with another individual, intimacy will be achieved; if not, isolation will be the result.

Positive outcome: Adult individuals can form close relationships and share with others if they have achieved a sense of identity.
Negative outcome: If not, they will fear commitment, feel isolated, and unable to depend on anybody in the world.
Eg. One-sided love affair and fantasy. Young adults fall prey to adulteration and support charismatic forms.

Middle Adulthood — Age 40 to 65: Generativity versus stagnation is Erikson’s seventh developmental stage, which individuals experience during middle adulthood. A chief concern is to assist the younger generation in developing and leading useful lives- this is what Erikson means by generativity. The feeling of having done nothing to help the next generation is stagnation.

Positive outcome: People can solve this crisis by having and nurturing children, or helping the next generation in many ways.
Negative outcome: If this crisis is not successfully resolved, the person will remain self-centered and experience stagnation later in life.

Late Adulthood — Age 65 to death: Integrity versus despair is Erikson’s eighth and final developmental stage, which individuals experience during late adulthood. In the later year of life, he looks backs and evaluates what he has done with lives. Through many different routes, the older person may have developed a positive outlook in most of all of the previous stages of development. If so, the retrospective glances will reveal a picture of a life well spent, and the person will feel a sense of satisfaction-integrity will be achieved. If the older adult resolved many of the earlier stages negatively, the retrospective glances likely will yield doubt or gloom- the despair Erikson talks about.

Positive outcome:If the adult has achieved a sense of fulfillment about life and a sense of unity within himself and with others, he will accept death with a sense of integrity. Just as the healthy child will not fear life, said Erikson, the healthy adult will not fear death.
Negative outcome: If not, the individual will despair and fear death.

Erikson does not believe that the proper solution to a stage crisis is always completely positive. Some exposure or commitment to the negative end of the person’s bipolar conflict is sometimes inevitable- you cannot trust all people under all circumstances and survive, for example. Nonetheless, in the healthy solution to a stage crisis, the positive resolution dominates.

Life is actually a mixture of the positive and negative outcome. That is why we have born here to realise these traits.

Posted in Psychology, Social Issues | 1 Comment »

Existence of God

April 11th, 2009 by Jashodhara Purkayastha

It is difficult to imagine what we have not seen. No one has seen God in this world yet. So it is difficult to imagine God.

We imagine God as our mother, father or friend etc. Whatever way  we  like to see Him. We imagine devil or evil as big head, dark complexion etc because from our childhood it has been portrayed and feared in this manner. When we imagine alien from other planet, we imagine them as we have seen them in movies.

The person who first created devil, alien, God etc in his mind and created them in our mind for us to believe in that manner.

Always my mind asks, who is God? If god is not a figure then what he is. Why are we addressing him as He?  If he does not have a figure or body, then why are we addressing masculine gender?

Many people researched and said that He is Paramatma ( soul of souls). Human being has a soul, which can be felt  by its performance. The soul exists in human body. Then where does Paramatma live? How does He perform  his duties? Example can be taken as electricity, where we see that electricity begins from a particular point and ends with the light in the bulb. When air blows we see the leaves stir. Where is He then?

Everyone in this world imagine according to their capacity. Many believe that there are five Dham   (Place) where souls live. They are — Swagolok (Heaven), Vaikunthalok, Paralok, Tapalok, Shivalok. Who decides where the the soul has to live? Is it the soul itself who decide where it has to go according to its action or reaction?

That is why, it is my only wish to see God in his actual form.

Posted in Philosophy, Spiritual | No Comments »

Vote India Vote

April 3rd, 2009 by Jashodhara Purkayastha

As election is closer, everyone has a doubt in their mind, who to vote. First of all,we should  know the meaning of vote.

Vote is the expression by which we express our choice. Vote is necessary in a democratic system. But if we keep the following points in our mind while expressing ourselves,we may not choose the  wrong path or may not feel unhappy.

  1. Vote a person of a good character, who believes in Truth ( does not mean that he never  lies , Truth means e.g the sun rises in the east i.e the fact )
  2. Vote a person, who has empathy not the sympathy.
  3. Vote a person who is really an Indian. (In body, mind & soul )
  4. Vote a person who is having foresight.
  5. Vote a person who believes in spirituality and thorough about politics.
  6. Vote a person who is a philosopher and  a real educator.
  7. Be analytic to judge the cunning behind a sweet smile.
  8. Vote a person who thinks for mass not for his\her family only.
  9. Vote a person who can provide selfless service without caste ,creed and religion.

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