This paper will compare and contrast two of the most leading psychologists who paved the way we understand the small details of your life to the greater choices in your life; Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson. The paper will focus on the similarities and differences between Freud’s and Erickson’s Psychoanalytical theory. Freud was one of the very first influential psychologists who changed the way we study humans. Erikson recognized Freud’s contributions, and although he felt Freud misjudged some important dimensions of human development, he was still influenced by Freud, which caused some similarities in their theories.
When it comes to Freud and Erikson, they both shared similarities within their views on psychoanalytical theories. Even though Freud believed in the six stage model, Erikson eight stage model is similar with different thoughts. The first similarity that both psychologists’ theories is based on the same age bracket. The first stage is from birth to one year. The second stage is about one year to age three. The third stage is age three until approximately age six. The fourth stage is from age six to approximately eleven years old.
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The fifth and sixth stage is adolescence and adulthood. After Freud adulthood stage, Erikson continue onto two more stages and this is where they draw a farther difference in Freud Psychosexual theory and Erikson Psychosexual. The next similarity between Freud and Erikson is that they both theorized that bad experiences in early childhood can produce negative effects which may trigger bad decisions by an adult and inadequate progress through later stages in life.
According to an interpretation of Freud’s theory, adults may be stuck in unconscious struggles rooted in a childhood stage if they smoke cigarettes (stuck in oral stage) or keep careful track of money (anal) or are romantically attracted too much older partners (phallic). (Berger, 2008, p. 35) A good example is that my brother was disciplined greatly by mother and father as a child for bedwetting and now as an adult he possesses an anal personality towards his children from bedwetting.
This idea is replicated in Erikson’s Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt stage. Erikson felt during this stage that children would become a self-sufficient human being or doubt anything that can do. For example, some children at this age will crawl, walk, run with no hiccups or doubt themselves and stand up to walk, but immediately fall down after one step. Even though, the stages between Freud and Erikson are different they do agree that if parents are too strict with their children, it can lead to an unhealthy feelings as they grow older.
Even though Freud and Erikson’s theories were similar, there were many differences. One of the distinct differences between Freud psychosexual theory and Erikson psychosocial theory is that Freud leans toward the development in the first six years occurs in three stages, each characterized by sexual pleasure centered on a particular part of the body. (p. 35) Erikson’s psychosocial theory differentiates from the Freud’s six stage psychosexual theory. Erikson theory associates eight stages of development throughout life.
Erikson stages focus purely on significant social interactions, each stage the individual is confronted with a new social demand they must overcome. For example in stage one (trust vs. mistrust), Erikson proclaims that during the first year the babies either trust that others (parents or caregivers) will care for their basic needs. Unlike Freud first stage (oral stage), the lips, tongue, and gums are the focus of pleasurable sensations in the baby’s body, and sucking and feeding are the most stimulating activities. (p. 36)
Another important difference between the two theories is the different number of stages and how each believes development ends at different ages. As mentioned earlier, Freud’s theory is only six stages, and he feels important help shape development happens earlier in life. The final stage (Genital Stage) of Freud theory happens at the start of puberty, and ends when the individual is finished the same time as puberty. Erikson believed something totally different. Erikson felt that development occurs throughout life, from birth to old age. Erikson stages begin with Trust vs.
Mistrust, which helps the baby develop to trust the caregiver. The final stage is Integrity vs. Despair, which occurs during old age which is when the individual begins to assess how they lived their life. Through their theories, accomplishments and lives we can notice many differences and similarities between them both. From Freud’s psychosexual stages to Erikson eight psychosocial stages, it is easy to see that these two psychoanalytic theorists have made a launching pad for all psychologists and people to study and reflect as we develop in our lives as we grow.