CNSL – 5143
April 13, 2015
Freud vs. Erickson Theory Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychoanalytic theory is, in many ways, the first psychological theory. Developed by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud and the target of many pop-culture references, it has had a lasting impact on the field of psychology. The theory has served as a foundation on which to build many other psychological theories, but it, itself is no longer used widely. With this being said, I would like to further expound on two very interesting psychoanalytical theories, Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory and Erik Erickson’s psychosocial theory, breaking down their differences and similarities.
Freud and Erickson’s theory has many differences, but also their theories share many components in common. Freud’s theory was based on a Viennese physician, seeking a cure for emotionally troubled adults by having them talk freely about painful events of their childhoods. On the basis of these recollections, he examined the unconscious motivations of his patients and constructed his psychosexual theory, which emphasized how parents manage their child’s sexual and aggressive drives in the first few years is crucial for healthy personality development (Berk, 2007). To explain in a nutshell, both theorists believed that personality develops in a series of predetermined stages. However, unlike Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan. Freud’s theory consisted with three parts of the personalities which included id, ego, and superego. The id is the largest portion dealing with the mind and the source of basic biological needs and desires. The ego deals with the consciousness, rational part of personality which emerges in early infancy to redirect the id’s impulses so they are discharged on appropriate objects at acceptable times and places (Berk, 2007). Psychoanalytic theory suggested that personality is mostly established by the age of five. Early experiences play a large role in personality development and continue to influence behavior later in life. To explain two theories in a nutshell, Freud’s psychosexual theory talks about different stages of development like: Oral stage, Anal region, Phallic Stage, stage of Latency, Genital Stage. Erikson’s psychosocial theory also talked about different stages like: Trust vs. Mistrust, Autonomy vs. Doubt, Initiative vs. Guilt, Industry vs. Inferiority, Identity vs. Role Confusion, Intimacy vs. Isolation, Generativity vs. Stagnation, and Integrity vs. Despair.
Stressing the influence of the early parent-child relationship on development was first used by Freud’s theory. Based on the problems of sexually repressed, well-to-do- adults, it did not apply in cultures differing from nineteenth-century Victorian society. Fraud had not studied children directly. The theory was also focused almost entirely on male development with little mention of female psychosexual development.
Erikson accepted Freud’s basic psychosexual frame work, but he also expanded the picture of development at each stage, id, ego, and superego. Erickson psychosocial theory emphasized that the ego does not just mediate between id impulses and superego demands. At various stages of his psychosocial theory attitudes and skills are acquired that make the individual an active, contributing member of society.
With Freud’s stages he only analyzed from birth to the adolescence while Erickson first five stages are parallel to Freud’s Erickson added three adult stages. Erickson pointed out that normal development must be understood in relations to each cultures life situation (Berk, 2007). In the chart below you will see the two theories compared and contrasted for a visual representation….
Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development
Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial