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Critically evaluate Eriksons psychosocial theory

Erik Erickson is possibly the best known of Sigmunds Freuds many followers. Hegrew up in Europe and spent his young adult life under the direction of Freud. In 1933when Hitler rose to power in Germany, Erikson emigrated to the United States andbegan teaching at Harvard University. His clinical work and studies were based onchildren, college students, victims of combat fatigue during World War two, civilrights workers, and American Indians. It was these studies which led Erikson tobelieve that Freud misjudged some important dimensions of human development.Throughout this essay, Eriksons psychosocial model will be explored,discussed and evaluated interms of its concepts, theories and assumptions. Thetheoretical underpinning will be discussed with reference to the nature versus nurturedebate and also the continuity versus discontinuity argument. It will then be shownhow Erikson has influenced the way psychologists view the importance of identityduring adolescents. Firstly, however, Eriksons work will be put alongside that ofFreuds to establish an understanding of the basis from which it came.Eriksons psychosocial model was heavily influenced by Freud, and shares anumber of central ideas. For example, both Freud and Erikson agree that everyindividual is born with a number of basic instincts, that development occurs throughstages, and that the order of these stages is influenced by biological maturation(Sigelman, and Shaffer 1992). Erikson also believes, as did Freud, that personality hasthree components: the id, the ego, and the superego. Therefore it is fair to say thatErikson is a psychoanalytic theorist.However, Erikson does argue that social and cultural influences have a criticalrole in shaping human development, and less significance should be placed on the roleof sexual urges. Freud did note however, that social agents such as parents should beregarded as important, but it is Erikson who highlights the forces within a muchbroader s...

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