The stages of life according to Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 24th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Mental Health

Theories of personality have been extensively studied in psychology. This series will deal with some of the most known theories.


This article is the continuation of Sigmund Freud's psychosexual theory of personality. Be sure to follow the links listed below to get a deeper understanding. This article will also introduce Dr. Freud's famous pupil, Dr. Erick Erikson who took Feud's theory even further.

Freud's last two stages of development

Latent Stage

The 4th stage of personality is called the latent stage where the ego and a hint of a superego develops. The child is off at school learning new things, developing friendships and beginning to socialize and understanding the outside world away from the shelter of home.

Genital Stage

The final stage of personality
is the genital stage, in this stage the child develops sexual attraction for others, it is the stage where he or she has a sexual attraction for the opposite sex (same sex attractions were not even thought about in Dr. Freud's day as it was not considered normal or healthy).

Dr. Erik Erikson

Now we will change our focus to another psychoanalyst by the name of Erik Erikson.

Erikson was born in 1902, to a Jewish mother and a Danish father. His interest in psychologically was inspired by his own experience as a child when he teased and alienated for being different. In his Jewish Temple school he was teased for being blonde haired and blue eyed, and taller than everyone else. Then in grammar school he was rejected because he was Jewish. These painful experiences lead to his interest in how identity is formed as part of human personality development.

Erikson studied under Anna Freud, the famous daughter of Sigmund Freud. Anna was most noted for her research with children. As a side note, she is responsible for coining the term “a viscous circle.”

Erikson received a certificate from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. In 1933 he emigrated to the United States and taught at Harvard University.

Dr. Erikson felt that Sigmund Freud's theory was incomplete. He did not feel that personality development ended with the teenage years, but was a life long endeavor.

Dr. Erik Erikson ad
ded three additional stages to Sigmund Freud's psychosexual theory of personality.

In a nutshell, Erikson revised Freud's work and changed the name of his theory to psychosocial rather than psychosexual. Erikson's theory is based on conflict resolution.

To be continued

Some links to previous articles in this series

Human personality and how it shapes our identities

Theories of Personality and the law

Nature versus Nurture and the law

John Locke and Sigmund Freud on Personality

Sigmund Freud and the super ego

Did women ever want to be men?

All photos taken from the public domain

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Dr Erik Erikson, Dr Sigmund Freud, Erikson, Freud, Personality Theories, Stages Of Development, Stages Of Life, Theories Of Personality

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Mar 2015 (#)

Personality development is certainly a life long endeavor. Great share.

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author avatar Retired
24th Mar 2015 (#)

Good piece. Thanks!

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author avatar Utah Jay
25th Mar 2015 (#)

I just don' know about the good Doctor. I always knew I liked girls, from my earliest memories I knew it. I think I was born knowing that. I think we all are. I believe that we cannot help what our sexual desires are...Very interesting.

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