Erikson’sTheory of Psychosocial Development

Anindividual’s development is marked by various changes thatrepresent important milestones. Different theorists have developed arange of ideologies to explain the behavior, cognitive and physicaldevelopment in people in the various ages. Eric Erikson conceived thepsychosocial development theory that describes the stages that onepasses from childhood to adulthood. Although I cannot recall all thelife developments that I have gone through since infancy, I haveobserved some characteristics in children and adults in mysurrounding. In this paper, I will refer to Erikson’s theory ofpsychosocial development to describe the assorted phases in my life.

Trustvs. Mistrust

Atthis tender age, children develop relationships with individualsaround them and they learn to trust or doubt those in theirenvironment. I cannot fully recall my early relationship with myparents, but I can vividly describe the resultant behaviors thatindicate the trust I had developed towards my mother. I could cryendlessly when she or the nanny was away. They are the only peoplewho comforted me given that I spent most of the time with them. Also,they were gentle and encouraging, so I felt safe when they werearound. Children learn to trust the people they spend time with,especially, if they meet their immediate needs without subjectingthem to pain (McCarthy &amp Archer, 2013).

Autonomyvs. Shame and Doubt

Atthis stage of life, toddlers strive to gain independence as theylearn to control their actions (Darling-Fisher &amp Leidy, 2015). Bythe age of three years, I had learned numerous things, including,using toys, toilet, and preference for some clothes. I grew in asupportive environment, and my parents would let me choose the itemsI wanted and sometimes even the clothes to wear. However, regardlessof how much I tried, I did not stop wetting the bed until I wasaround five years. Sometimes, my siblings would make fun of only formy mother to intervene. Therefore, I could always feel shamefulanytime I wet my clothes. My mother’s encouragement saw me throughthis stage successfully.

Initiativevs. Doubt

Thedevelopmental milestone takes place between 3 and 6 years. Childrenbecome independent, and they explore their environment(Darling-Fisher &amp Leidy, 2015). I refer to this stage as thebackground of my high self-esteem. At the age of four, I could beallowed to play outside the house with other children in theneighborhood. We could wade in the mud and climb short trees. Duringthis time, I learned many childhood games that I can still recall.Although I hurt myself on several occasions, my parents could notreproach me vehemently. They insisted on being cautious but did notrestrict me from interacting with other pre-scholars. According toDarling-Fisher and Leidy (2015), over-controlling parents instill afeeling of inferiority and low self-esteem since they restrictchildren from exploring their environment.

Industryvs. Inferiority

Thephase of life takes place when most children go to school, and theywork hard to please their parents and teachers. Their environment isdominated by competition and desire to outsmart others(Darling-Fisher &amp Leidy, 2015). When I started school, Iencountered various challenges because unlike at home where there wasno competition, there were various tasks in which we were ranked. Ihad to work hard to perform well both in class and in the field.Although I was good in learning, I hated the field activities since Icould not make it among the best performers. Therefore, I avoided anycontest of physical nature. For that reason, I rarely participate intrack challenges as I consider myself inferior in the field.

Identityvs. Role Confusion

Duringteenage, individuals are neither children nor adults. Some getconfused on selecting the right behavior for their age. It is alsoduring this stage that they are required to show independence andsome level of maturity (McCarthy &amp Archer, 2013). I consider myteenage as one of the most challenging times since I had to makecritical decisions and abide by them to complete the stagesuccessfully. After junior school, it dawned on me that I was nolonger a child. My parents had given me the autonomy of makingresolutions for my career. At this point, I found it difficult tostick to my schedules due to the desire to fall back to earlierbehaviors like playing in the yard with other younger children.Without an objective support from friends and guardians, adolescentsare likely to be overwhelmed by the numerous decisions they have tomake (McCarthy &amp Archer, 2013).

Intimacyvs. Isolation

Betweenthat age of 20 and 40, individuals look for companionship frommembers of the opposite sex (McCarthy &amp Archer, 2013). When I gotto my early 20s, I found it fulfilling to share ideas and lightmoments with my college mates. In the process, I noted that most ofthem got close accomplices. I also noted that those with highself-concept made friends easily. The high self-concept I hadacquired during my adolescence enables me to interact easily. Youngadults with unfulfilled adolescence goals may find it challenging toenter into relationships, and they isolate themselves.

Generativityvs. Stagnation

Erikson’stheory of development places my parents in this stage since they arein their mid-fifties. Most of the people harboring thecharacteristics of this stage are parents who contribute to thedevelopment of their children by educating them and catering forother needs. They spend most of their time in their occupations butthey occasionally, they get involved in the community activitiesincluding cleanups and charity. The primary goal at this stage is tocontribute to the lives of others. Its success depends on thesatisfaction derived from the preceding developmental stages(McCarthy &amp Archer, 2013). Those with unaccomplished milestonestend to stagnate through their adulthood.

Integrityvs. Despair

Thisis the last phase of life according to Erikson. It is characterizedby reduced physical vigor and gerontological ailments (McCarthy &ampArcher, 2013). The senior citizens reflect on the most importantphases in their lives and how they addressed the challenges theyfaced. Some are content with their achievements, and they age withthe integrity of having contributed the lives of their children andothers. Desperation results due to unsuccessful transitions from onestage to another. Besides, it is always too late to achieve theobjectives that one did not attain in the earlier years marked withopportunities and physical ability.


Darling-Fisher,C., &amp Leidy, N. (2015). The Modified Erikson Psychosocial StageInventory. New York N.Y.: Springer.

McCarthy,C. J. &amp Archer, J., Jr. (2013). Theories of counseling andpsychotherapy. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education