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Observed Similarities of the Psychosexual Theories Presented by Freud and Erickson A Contrast and Comparison of Two Psychology Titans Taylor Cope General Psychology Professor Ostrowsky October 17, 2012 Observed Similarities of the Psychosexual Theories Presented by Freud and Erickson A Contrast and Comparison of Two Psychology Titans There have been several theorists throughout history to have experimented with psychosexual development and have shed their observations on the subject; some have even established original theoretical stages of early cognitive development.

Undoubtedly two of the most important psychosexual theorists are Sigmund Freud with his five psychosexual stages of development and Erick Erickson who is known for his elaboration on Freud’s pre-existing stages. In comparison, the two psychologists share a handful of similar beliefs revolving around early cognitive development such as their descriptions of identity. Furthermore, Sigmund Freud was the first psychological thinker to introduce an interpretation of early cognitive development as a form of stages.

Included in his famous five stages of psychosexual development are the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latent stage and the genital stage. The oral stage describes an infant in its first year or two of life and how the infant’s primary source of interaction occurs through the mouth, so the rooting and sucking reflex is especially important. The anal stage occurs next and focuses on the child’s toilet training. The objective behind the child’s ambition to learn to control his or her bodily needs is to achieve a sense of accomplishment and independence through self-control.

The child then experiences the phallic stage where the primary focus of the libido is on the genitals while children also begin to discover the differences between males and females. Immediately following the phallic stage is the latent stage in which libido interests are no longer present and eccentricity in behavior is tamed by the undergoing development of the ego and superego as the child is exposed to new peer relationships and other interests presented by his or her firsthand schooling experiences.

The final of Freud’s psychosexual phases is the genital stage lasting from the early teens to adulthood. In this stage the individual forms a resilient sexual interest in the opposite sex as they endure puberty. Also included in Freud’s developmental theory is the description of the id, the ego and the superego. Freud designates the id as the component of an individual’s personality founded by unconscious psychic energy dedicated to satisfying basics needs, urges, and desires. With a demand for immediate gratification of needs, the id operates according to the pleasure principle.

The ego is defined in Freud’s theory as the personality component that functions in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind, developed from the id to monitor impulses of the id in a manner that can be expressed as acceptable in reality because the ego’s primary responsibility is dealing with perceptions of reality. The superego, being the final component of personality to be developed, deals with deeper moral standards acquired both inherently and via societal experiences and ultimately provides judgmental guidelines.

Moreover, Erickson’s perception of the psychosexual developmental stages expands upon the same theoretical stages of Freud’s interpretation but subsidized the general understanding of personality in its development over the course of a lifespan and introduced his own original interpretation of psychosocial stages. Trust vs. Mistrust is Erickson’s preliminary psychosexual stage and begins at birth and lasts through the infant’s first year. It is considered to be the most fundamental stage of life.

In response to the utterly dependent nature of an infant, the development of trust pertains to the quality of its caregiver and his or her dependability. Only after a child has developed trust will he or she feel safe and secure in the world. In response to inconsistent or inconsiderate caregivers, children are prone to feelings of mistrust ultimately resulting in the child’s application of a similar, reflected perception of everything else in the world. Autonomy vs.

Shame and Doubt is the second psychosexual stage portrayed in Erickson’s theoretical stages. This stage occurs at early childhood and describes the development of the child’s exhibited progressively comprehensive sense of personal control. In comparison to Freud’s theories, Erickson agrees that potty training is monumentally an essential aspect of this process but reasons that control and a sense of independence is achieved by the child learning to do something on their own.

Healthy dietary habits, recreational interests and apparel choices are also refined in this stage. After the successful completion of this stage, children retain confidence and feelings of security whereas failure to complete this stage would manifest an elevated sense of inadequacy and lake of self-confidence. In contrast to Freudian beliefs, Erickson developed a more comprehensive understanding of Ego identity which he referred to as one of the primary elements in an individual’s completion of his stages.

These stages represent the accomplishment of becoming competent in a specific area of life. A sense of mastery is rewarded upon the successful handling of each stage; this reward is referenced as ego strength or ego quality. Inversely, if the individual fails to effectively manage a certain stage, a sense of inadequacy is instilled and could result in egotistical damage. Established through social interaction, our ego is supposedly ever-changing payable to the constant addition of knowledge gained by new experiences and daily social interaction.

Erickson describes the ego identity as the conscious sense of self we retain from these societal encounters. All in all, Freud and Erickson are considerably two of the most important psychosexual theorists to ever produce such comprehensive perspectives of early cognitive development. In fact, these psychologists’ theories show immense support for one another in terms of similarities regarding their definitions of the psychosexual stages and definitions of egotistical matters.

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