Erik Erikson was born on June 15, 1902 in Frankfurt, Germany. The common story was that his mother and father had separated before his birth, but the closely guarded fact was that he was his mother's child from an extramarital union. He never saw his birth father or his mother's first husband.
His young Jewish mother raised Erik by herself for a time before marrying a physician, Dr. Theodor Homberger. The fact that Homberger was not in fact, his biological father was concealed from him for many years. When he finally did learn the truth, he was left with a feeling of confusion about who he really was. This early experience helped spark his interest in the formation of identity.
His interest in identity was further developed based upon his own experiences in school. At his temple school, the other children teased him for being Nordic because he was tall, blonde, and blue-eyed. At grammar school, he was rejected because of his Jewish background. These early experiences helped fuel his interest in identity formation and continued to influence his work throughout his life.
Erikson’s formulations were based on the concept of epigenesis. The epigenetic principle states that the development occurs in sequential, clearly defined stages. Each of these stages must be clearly defined and satisfactorily resolved for smooth development. According to this model, if successful resolution of a particular stage does not occur, all subsequent stages reflect that failure in the form of physical, cognitive, social or emotional maladjustment.
ERIK ERIKSON’S THEORY OF PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory on social development is an approach to the personality that extends Freudian psychosexual theory. Erikson's theory is unique in that it encompasses the entire life cycle and recognizes the impact of society, history, and culture on personality. Erikson is best known for his concept of the identity crisis. This...