Raymond Milek 0483682
16 February 2015
Both Erik Erikson and Melanie Klein took very bold steps as researchers in the field of psychoanalysis. They continued on a path that was traveled by the most groundbreaking and controversial researcher to ever enter the field of psychology: Sigmund Freud. Erikson and Klein were both what would now be called “Freudian,” and took the work of Freud and either expanded, enhanced, or altered the man’s trailblazing work. While many psychologists dismiss Freud as sexist, drug-addled, or simply too extreme in his approach, no other psychoanalyst has conducted research or drawn conclusions that come near what Freud did over 125 years ago. This paper will look at the work of Erikson and Klein and compare and contrast it with Freud’s, as both took the man’s work and used it as a blueprint for their own.
Written Assignment #3/Psychodynamic Theories
Identify and describe Erikson's eight stages of development and compare them to Freud's
Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development
Unlike many researchers of psychological issues, Erik Erikson took a route that was not seen as popular in his time. While many researchers dismissed the works of Sigmund Freud, Erikson took Freud’s work of the adolescent stages of psychosexual development and continued with them on into stages of adulthood. Erikson’s work is considered to be a post-Freudian extension on Freud’s own work. The 8 stages of psychosocial development, as Erikson labeled them, are similar to the work of Freud, but add the missing pieces of an entire life on which Freud lacked elaboration. Each of Erikson’s stages includes an interaction of opposites—a harmonious and disruptive element. These contradictory elements cause what Erikson would call a basic strength (Feist, J & Feist, G.J., 2009, p. 249), which occur in each phase and emerge out of the struggle caused between the two opposing elements. A closer look at each phase and how they compare to Freud’s stages is very telling of the similarities and differences of the two.
The first of Erikson’s stages is infancy, which parallels Freud’s oral phase. Unlike Freud’s oral stage (which focused primarily on sensations of the mouth), Erikson had a broader view of the stage. Erikson concluded (Feist, J & Feist, G.J., 2009, p. 250) that oral-sensory was used to express infant adaptation. The term oral sensory is basically a dual modality or accepting and receiving, two actions that are the basis for the infants incorporation of trust and mistrust—the two sides of harmony and disrupt in infancy (250). Out of the two latter disparate elements comes the basic strength of infancy, hope. Essentially, the need to depend on others and those others either delivering, or not, determine the depth of hope grown in the infant.
The second of Erikson’s stages (and that parallel to Freud’s anal phase) is in the 2nd and 3rd year of life. Again expanding Freud’s view, Erikson took the anal control phase and broadened it to exercise control over the urethra and muscles, as well (Feist, J & Feist, G.J., 2009, p. 252). Out of these attempts (often unsuccessful) at autonomy, the child will express shame and doubt, as well (253). Out of this attempt at controlling many of the bodily functions, the basic strength formed in this stage is will (253).
Erikson’s third stage occurs during the ages of 3-5. Occurring at the same time as Freud’s phallic stage, play stage is where what Erikson called the genital-locomotor mode occurs Imagination plays a large part in this phase as the child deals with Oedipus and castration complexes, as well as cognitive motor skills that accompany playfulness (Feist, J & Feist, G.J., 2009, pp. 254-255). The two conflicting ideals of this period are the initiative of trying new things and aiming for new goals, as well as the guilt of attempting to reach these goals