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Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is the first and arguably most influential lifespan theory of development. Erikson’s writings are extensive and complicated, covering quite a bit of conceptual ground. He mixed detailed treatments with vague proclamations and returned to the same themes repeatedly throughout his career. These qualities of his work have led some to refer to his work as having “Rorschach-like” qualities, in which different readers glean and interpret his words based on their own interests and views. As a result, attempts to represent Erikson in full, or detail the true nature of his theory, are unproductive. This entry focuses on the primary thematic elements of Erikson’s theory.

Freud Versus Erikson

Erikson was highly influenced by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of development, but extended it ...

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