The idea of searching for one’s own identity is far from being new; as a matter of fact, people noticed quite long ago that at certain age, one starts to pick all sorts of various attitudes, trying to figure out which one suits him-/her better and helps survive in the given environment the most.
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However, it is really hard to imagine what the entire humankind would be doing without Erik Erikson’s theory about the identity crisis and how it affects people’s behavior.
Learning more about the biography and the theoretical findings of the psychologist, one can see how incredibly helpful Erikson’s pieces of advice were, are and will be for the majority of the humankind.
Erikson was one of those people whose life track one could predict since the day they were born. Even being a little kid, he was extremely interested in the way people interact and the way things influence them as they grow up (Erikson).
However, his passion did not boil down to guesswork; even being a boy, he experienced enough identity-related issues to have certain idea of the results at the very beginning of his future research.
As the psychologist recalled, “having been born a Dane and having had to stand the scorn of German children against a foreign-born child” (Friedman 40).
Weirdly enough, Erikson did not consider his talents as something out of the ordinary for the first time and, when choosing the track for his studies, picked arts.
Just to think what could have happened to the identities of millions of people if Eriksson became an accomplished artist he wanted to… However, the Providence made him bump into Anna Freud one day, which predetermined his further track as the world’s renowned psychologist.
As Friedman explains, talking to Anna Freud took Erikson to the place long forgotten – his own childhood, and the memories of how fun it was to learn about the human nature took their toll: “When they both were in analysis with Anna Freud […] this advice to take charge had called to mind a woodcut he had completed of himself as a little boy on a ship looking away from Theodor and Karla and toward the captain” (80).
However, as time passed, Erikson managed to show what he was capable of; not only did he defeat is fears, but also researched them thoroughly and uncompromisingly, coining the term “identity crisis” and showing the ways out of this psychological problem.
As the author of the term explained himself, identity crisis was “the temporary absence of ‘a sense of what one is, of knowing where one belongs, of knowing what one wants to do’” (Friedman 161).
Thus, it is obvious that Erik Erikson has contributed a lot to the further development of psychology and helped to understand the peculiarities of people’s psychological development at certain stages.
Owing to the findings of the psychologist, modern teenagers have a plenty of excuses for their deviant behavior, which alone proves that learning more about Erikson is a worthy thing to do.
In addition, Eriksson proved that the deviation can be considered a way to adjust to the rules of the society, which proves that people are meant to be social animals and that a rebellion is a part of being a human, and it is by far not its worst part.
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Jokes aside, solving the mysteries of a human nature is a hard task, and Eriksson deserves appreciation for what he did for psychology and its further development, as well as for the entire humankind.
Erikson, Erik H. Identity: Youth and Crisis, New York City, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994. Print.
Friedman, Lawrence Jacob. Identity’s Architect: A Biography of Erik Eriksson. Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.