December 7, 2014
For my term paper I wish to discuss about Erikson’s psychosocial theory. This topic does a great job of exploring the lifespan. As a nurse I do have some knowledge of the lifespan development, researching this topic allowed me to learn more about the lifespan. This was a great learning experience for me. This topic is important to me because the psychosocial theory expands through the lifespan and as a nurse, it is important to understand the stages of life. This allows you to connect with your patients since you are more aware of what life stage they are experiencing. Applying the use of Erikson's stages of psychosocial development in the nursing setting helps analyze a patient’s symptomatic behavior in regards to past experiences and current issues with developmental tasks. Therefore this is an important part of patient care and being my current major, this topic is especially interesting, because it can be applied to patients of all ages.
Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
Erik Erikson was born June 15, 1902 in Frankfurt, Germany and died on May 12, 1994. Erik Erikson was best know for his famous theory of psychosocial development that describes the development through the lifespan. Erik Erikson was a neo-freudian psychologist that agreed with many of Freud’s concepts; he just added his own spin and covered the whole lifespan. Erikson believed that nature determines the sequence of the stages, although you must pass through one stage before entering the next stage in order (Berk). The following eight stages described in detail cover what we as humans go through from our first day on earth to our last. These stages shape personality and experiences from childhood to adulthood. These stages are great examples for someone in the healthcare field to be knowledgable of, to help coordinate your care. The first stage of Erickson’s psychosocial development is trust versus mistrust.This is the most fundamental stage that occurs. This stage occurs between birth and one year of age. The main focus of stage one is whether or not the child’s parents are meeting the trust needs of the child. Trust is defined by Erickson as “an essential truthfulness of others as well as a fundamental sense of one’s own trustworthiness”(Sharkey). Infants depend on their parents, especially their mother from the moment they are conceived, they are looking for comfort, food and shelter. If the child is exposed to comfort, dependability, shelter, love and affection, the child will begin to form a trusting view of the world. If the child is not exposed to comfort love, shelter, dependability, love and affection, the child will being to form a view of mistrust against the world. The main questing asked in this stage is “can I trust the world?” When the child experiences a balance of both trust and mistrust the child begins to develop hope. Erickson stated “ hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive” (Hall). The child must first learn to form a trusting relationship with their caregiver which will lead them to continue to trust their caregiver or begin to mistrust them.
The second stage of Erickson’s psychosocial development is autonomy versus shame and doubt. This stage occurs from about eighteen months to three years of age. The main focus of this stage is gaining a better sense of control of oneself. This is transitioning into independence of the child. The main question of this stage is “is it okay to be me”? Even though children who are experiencing this stage are focusing on exploring their world, they are still relying on their parents to help them with choosing between good and bad, right and wrong. The child and caregiver are focusing on getting the child toilet trained and having them dress themselves. Erikson believed that