Erickson's Identity Crises

Erik Erickson devised his own stages of Human Development and is known for founding the term “identity crisis.” Erickson theorized that every person goes through eight stages of development from birth to death, each of them marked by confict, the resolution of which determines progress to the next stage by learning the value of virtue. He stated that in each stage an individual must come to understand each extreme of the conflict to find this resolution.

Trust vs. Mistrust
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Initiative vs. Guilt
Industry vs. Inferiority
Identity vs. Role Confusion
Intimacy vs. Isolation
Generatively vs. Stagnation
Ego Integrity vs. Despair

The first stage of development, according to Erickson is the confict between Trust vs. Mistrust. According to his teachings, this is when the infant leans to belive in his caregivers, optimally gaining the virtue of Hope. However, I believe that in every endeavor we undertake, we start a new life for ourselves. And in each new situation, we face this same conflict about the people with whom we share our journey.

Do you have Hope in the journey that you are on? Have you grappled with the ideas of Trust and Mistrust in your coworkers, employers, or employees? How about with your customers? Or your family and friends? Do you have Hope?


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