Developmental Stages in Adulthood

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Introduction Erik Erikson was along with Jean Piaget the most influential psychologist of the 20th Century, more so than Sigmund Freud. He revised the stages of development in Freudian psychoanalysis away from the emphasis on gratification of the basic drives and instincts of the id to gratification and development of the ego, and therefore like most of the later Freudians has been considered an ego psychologist. Social demands on the ego force it to mature and develop progressively, from the time infants first learn to feed and small children undergo toilet training and first learn to walk. For this reason "new behaviors must" emerge in order for the person to mature into a healthy, functioning ego (Lerner, 2002, p. 418). With Erikson's stages "there are no second chances in development, once part of one's ego fails to appropriately develop, one will never be able to regain it" (Lerner, p. 419). This will lead to frustration, a sense of failure and despair, inability to form intimate relationships and perhaps even mental illness and antisocial behavior. This paper will address the adult life stages of an older male named "Jeff Smith" (age 67), and also include a brief summary of Erikson's theories. Jeff's life has not been generative or productive, and in fact he seems to have ended up with a sense of failure and despair. Brief Summary of Erikson's Life Stages Erikson did not name his stages oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital as Freud had, and deemphasized
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