Freud and Erikson

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Introduction

Human Development is a complex topic and a complex process to understand. In an attempt to understand how a child develops, several theorists studied developmental psychology. Some of these theorists include Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson. Freud has based his theory on psychosexuality while Erikson based his theory on the psychosocial aspect (Bartleby.com, 2011). This paper is going to discuss the Freud’s and Erickson’s theory.

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(1) Explaining the theories, while focusing on their similarities and differences

Erik’s theory came after Freud’s theory. Erikson used ideas from Freud to form his theory. Therefore, both theories have similarities in that; they take into consideration the unconscious stage of development. Both theorists used different stages of life to explain child development. However, their differences are based on the issues individual encounters as they develop and the names of the developmental stages (Study.com, 2017). Erikson’s theory expands to adulthood while Freud’s theory does not. More elaborately, the differences of these theories are based on their six stages of development which include;

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Stage 1 (0-1year); Freud calls this the oral stage and he further explains that a child develops the sexual pleasure through sucking, taste and eating while Erikson calls this a trust or mistrust stage whereby the child chooses to either trust or not to trust those who care for them .

Stage 2 (1-3 years); Freud calls this stage ‘anal stage’ where the child learns how to master controlling their bladder. Erikson calls this stage autonomy vs. shame; a child controls their bladder and the activities of eating and talking and potty training (Kendra, 2017).

Stage 3 (3-6 years); Freud describes this stage as phallic. He argues that the child’s libido energy is focused on their genitals and a child begins to identify with the parent of the same sex. Erikson says that this stage is initiative or guilty. The child takes control of his/her environment and develops a sense of purpose or guilt if they do not succeed this stage (Kendra, 2017).

Stage 4 (7-11 years); Freud calls this the latent stage of development. He explains that the child begins to focus on social activities such as school, other kids, and their hobbies. He says that this stage is much useful if the child develops social skills and confidence. Erikson, on the other hand, calls this the industrious vs. inferiority stage. This is where a child begins to develop a sense of independence and competence in new skills. In case a child is successful, they will develop pride otherwise they will feel incompetent (Kendra, 2017).

Stage 5 (Adolescence); Freud explains that this stage is referred to as genital. A child forgets their identity and begins to wonder about exploring relationships. In case the child successfully manages to complete this stage, they become well-adjusted and caring. Erikson says that this stage is identity vs. role confusion. Children at this stage develop a sense of self-recognition, and they explore their different roles and attitudes. If they receive encouragement and modeling, they will manage the stage successfully. Otherwise, they will be stuck to obtain their strong identity and what they want to do with their lives (Kendra, 2017).

Stage 6 (adulthood); here Freud argues that development only occurs between childhood and teenage and in adulthood genital stage lasts. However, Erikson argues that development continues even in adulthood (Newman & Newman, 2017).

In Erikson’s theory there include three other stages. Intimacy or isolation where the children begin exploring romantic relationships between 18 and 40 years of age when the child successfully manages this stage, it results in happy, safe and caring relationships and the virtue of love but avoiding intimacy leads to depression and loneliness and isolation (McLeod, 2017).

Generativity or stagnation (40-65 years) at this stage, the mature adult settles down with his/her career and families. They can be able to guide others on how to contribute positively to the society by being productive and being involved in community development projects and organizations. Otherwise, they develop a sense of unproductivity (McLeod, 2017).

Integrity vs. despair (65 years and above). In this stage, the mature adults can be able to look back on their lives and how they lived them and had a sense of being fulfilled. Also, they obtain wisdom and they become able to accept death but if they had not lived their lives well, they would end up with a feeling of bitterness (Newman & Newman, 2017).

(2) Choosing a particular idea, theme, or question, such as;

Psychoanalysis

As a neurologist, Freud came up with an idea of psychoanalysis. His arguments throughout his theory are based on the unconscious and the conscious parts of the mind (id and ego). He claims that the central processes in our minds are unconscious and it can be seen in circumstances. For instance, during a meeting some people make somethings up because the truth is in the unconscious part of the mind. In his theory, he argues that at the age of 0-3 years old, the mother is the love object in the mind of a child and the child has no connection with the father.  As the child grows, the male child fears castration, not because it will happen, but due to the power the child believes the father has (McLeod, 2017).

For the girl, as she grows up she grows fond of her father, but due to the envy of the penis, she identifies herself with the mother because she feels she might be safer with her. He argues that presence of instincts is a cause for different types of behaviors. He argues that the “id” part of the brain is demanding for that thing it wants even though it is not aware of what exactly it wants. For example, a child will scream when they are hungry, but they do not know exactly what it is they are screaming for. The ego part of the brain is the one that sends a message that a particular problem should be solved as soon as the appropriate item or opportunity is available.  For example, at birth it is weaning, during childhood, it is potty training, and at adulthood, it is an oedipal crisis. Furthermore, it is the only part of the brain that keeps memories (Newman & Newman, 2017).

At teenage, the child develops Superego that makes them look for relationships, where the child develops a sense of freedom and experiences dreams. It is the unconscious part of the mind that makes them believe that they are falling in love and start experiencing sexual desires (Kendra, 2017).

Erikson’s theory is a descendant of Freud’s theory had some similarities based on the psychoanalysis theme. He used psychoanalysis in his theory to understand human attitudes and behaviors about their experiences on the environmental and social factors that surround them. In the eight stages of development, Erikson argues that a person experiences particular problems that they are challenged to solve (Bartleby.com, 2011). This is how a mature person is formed. He argues that if a person decides to solve a problem partially by either trusting too much and neglecting reason, he might be maladapted to his environment and this result in the worst. The person will start experiencing too many negative emotions and impulses that lead to depression, sadness and trusting no one.

Erikson’s theory is a correction of Freud’s theory which was neglected because Freud was basing his psychoanalysis on the sexual pleasures and desires. Erikson based his psychoanalysis on the reasoning of the mind of the child as they develop and how they encounter their problems throughout their life stages.

Conclusion

Erik Erikson and Sigmund Freud are two great theorists who dedicated their careers to studying human development through research. Erikson has focused his theory on the experiences people have to achieve a successful life. He acknowledges his theory as an overview of human emotional development with the influence of the social surroundings. Freud believes that the life of an individual is based on pleasures and tensions due to the build of libido. He explains how sexual desire accumulates and is released as the child matures. Both theorists have explained human development well in a similar way basing on different angles.

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  1. Bartleby.com. (2011). Difference between Freud vs. Erikson Essay – 1023 Words | Bartleby. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://www.bartleby.com/essay/difference-between-freud-vs-erikson-F3CNVEEKVC
  2. Kendra, C. (2017). Comparing Erikson’s vs. Freud’s Theories Similarities and Differences between Freud and Erikson. Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/freud-and-erikson-compared-2795959
  3. McLeod, S. (2017). Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
  4. Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2017). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. Cengage Learning.
  5. Study.com. (2017). Freud and Erikson’s Approaches to Psychoanalytic Theory: Differences & Analysis – Video & Lesson Transcript. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from http://study.com/academy/lesson/differences-between-freud-and-eriksons-approaches-to-psychoanalytic-theory-differences-analysis.html
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