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Erik Erikson’s Theory of Personality Development
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Erik Erikson’s Theory of Personality Development
Personality is an important aspect of who we are, and it has been a major subject for many prominent theorists in psychology. Many theories have been developed to understand how these personalities form and shape us into the individuals we are today. They all try to trace the processes or steps that one undergoes in order to develop a healthy personality. Some theories propose that personality development only happens in childhood while others believe it progresses into adulthood (Marcia & Josselson, 2013). One such theorist is Erick Erikson who came up with his eight stages of personality development which begins during childhood and ends in adulthood.
Erikson’s theory analyses the impact that social relationships in an individual’s life have on their personality. This is the reason why he proposes that; personality development not only happens during childhood but rather spreads through one’s lifespan. Along the eight stages, people undergo a psychosocial crisis that are the determinants of the nature of their personality. When each stage is completed successfully, a healthy personality where basic virtues are acquired develops (Marcia & Josselson, 2013). These virtues can be termed as the innate strengths that a person’s ego can rely on in order to solve crises further in life. Unsuccessful completion of a stage hinders one from comprehensively finishing the eight stages.

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This in return causes one to develop an unhealthy personality and a distorted sense of self.
In conclusion, Erikson’s theory brings out a more realistic aspect of personality development. It shows that every stage in life is important and is an active part of one’s growth. This is true because as humans we encounter challenges throughout our life and they serve as learning curves for us. Therefore, it would be wrong to assume that personality development only happens during childhood.
Marcia, J., & Josselson, R. (2013). Eriksonian Personality Research and Its Implications for Psychotherapy. Journal of Personality, 81(6), 617-629. doi:10.1111/jopy.12014

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