His (Harvard University Department Of Psychology, n.d.).

His name was Erik Erikson. Born in 1902 in Frankfurt-am-main, Germany, he was to become one of the most recognized psychoanalysts of the 20th Century (The Erikson Institute, n.d.). A career as an art teacher lead him down a path of psychoanalytic study that earned him a certificate from the Maria Montessori School, to the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute (The Erikson Institute, n.d.). By the time he was 34, he was a bonafide member of the Institute of Human Relations in the psychiatry department at Yale (The Erikson Institute, n.d.).Some link Erikson’s fascination with childhood and development in the field of psychoanalysis  to his own childhood in which he was abandoned by his biological father, and his mother remarried his pediatrician (Thomas, n.d.). This fascination is revealed in his expansive work on developmental theory, His most famous contribution being his proposed eight psychosocial stages of development. (the famous people)Research:In 1933, he arrived in Boston and began to pursue a graduate degree at Harvard while working as a research associate with the Harvard Psychological Clinic. He butted heads with the “quantitative, empirical focus of Harvard’s Psychology Department”, and eventually terminated his educational pursuits at Harvard in 1936 without receiving his degree (Harvard University Department Of Psychology, n.d.). That may have seemed like a set back for any ordinary psychoanalyst but not Erikson. Despite being doctorateless, He went on to work at many institutions, among them  University of California at Berkeley, Yale and even, returned to teach at Harvard (Harvard University Department Of Psychology, n.d.). Through the departments of these many prestigious universities, erikson was able to observe and study children from a variety of psychological, emotional, environmental and social background. These observations were compiled in a book entitled “Childhood and Society,” which became the most well-known of his works (TheFamousPeople.com, 2017).The Era/Time: The fact of the matter is: the question of  personality development had been a question pondered since the beginning of time: What makes us who we are?The only point in which Erikson’s career was impacted by the time period was in 1950, when the professors of University of California at Berkeley were asked to sign “loyalty oaths” during the terror that was the McCarthy Era. Erikson refused to comply, leaving both the university and the state (Thomas, n.d.).This, again, was no set back for Erikson. He ardently continued his research at a clinic in Massachusetts, and at Harvard while teaching until his retirement in 1970 (Thomas, n.d.).The culmination of his work was greatly influenced and reflected the Freudian psychosexual development theory but Erikson’s own humanist theory proposed that personalities developed past the age of five, and that the resolution of existential crises was the base for personality development (Harvard University Department Of Psychology, n.d.). These informed the most influential discovery of his career. Impact on Society: Throughout his lengthy career, He furthered the field of childhood development by designing a theory dividing development into 8 distinct psychological stages (Psychology Notes HQ, 2017).(Psychology Notes HQ, 2017). These critical stages can determine how well-adjusted/mal-adjusted a person is (Psychology Notes HQ, 2017). If unsuccessful in development, the person may experience unhealthy personality characteristics. In order to resolve these unhealthy traits, the person may experience an “Identity Crisis,” a  famous term Erikson coined, that tests the nature of their essential self (Psychology Notes HQ, 2017). The legacy of Erik Erikson is built on the principle “that children are not simply biological organisms but also products of society’s expectations, prejudices, and prohibitions.” (The Erikson Institute, n.d.).Therefore, much or Erik Erikson’s developmental theory has helped  social workers and counselors working in the field of childhood development understand trauma, and provide hope for growing beyond one’s psychosocial damage.Of course, Erikson’s massive impact on the field has garnered quite a bit of merit. In 1973, Erikson was given the opportunity to lecture at the prestigious Jefferson Lecture which is seen as the highest honor for achievement in the humanities (TheFamousPeople.com, 2017). Additionally He won a National Book Award for his book Gandhi’s Truth in Philosophy and Religion and a Pulitzer Prize for his writings and their impact in the field of psychology (TheFamousPeople.com, 2017).


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