Human Psychological Development: Theories of Freud and Erikson

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  • Post last modified:December 23, 2016

Personal development in the modern world: relevance of Theories of Freud and Erikson 

Personal development is an important issue addressed by psychology and there are several psychological theories that address it. From personal motivation to childhood development and even the issue of self-identity and stress in personal life are all related to the issue of self-development. We all are faced with personal issues in our lives whether it is during childhood, adolescence or adulthood. Still, the secrets to many of our personal issues lie in how our personal development takes place. It is facilitated and hindered by several psychological factors. There are several theories in psychology addressing these factors. One of the most common problems in today’s world is that of stress. Most of us don’t know what underlies our stress and visit the psychiatrist to find out. Sometimes the problems of adulthood have their roots in the childhood. This article discusses some of the theories that are relevant to our personal development.

Two theories that can be of much help in this regard to understand people’s personal development are the one’s given by Erikson and Freud. Freud’s theory was a controversial one. Still, it received acclaim for it explores the relationship between human sexuality and human psychological development. Initially, while the theory was criticized later it found critical acclaim. The theories that followed have borrowed heavily from Freud’s theory. His theory stated that human development happened through several psychosexual stages and that each of these stages had to be completed successfully in order for a person to find complete psychological development in his life. Otherwise one would grow fixated at a stage that has not been completed successfully. These stages included the oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital stages. If any of these five stages had not been completed successfully, the result would be that the person may face psychological issues in the later parts of his life. Basically the theory explains that how the secrets of adulthood issues may be found in the events that occur during a person’s childhood. Sigmund Freud also gave the psychoanalytic theory of personality where he showed how the interactions of the three components of mind called id, ego and superego resulted in human behavior.

Similarly, renowned psychologist Erik Erikson also gave a theory that is of equal importance to understand the complexities in the way of human psychological development. His theory is similar to the one given by Freud except that it focuses on psychosocial development instead of psychosexual development. However, the most important fact regarding this theory is that it showed that society and culture were relevant to the development of a person and his personality. As per his theory, if all the psychosocial stages were completed successfully, the result would be the development of a psychologically healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues which help the ego resolve subsequent crises. The development of the human self has become a very complex issue in the modern world and it can be riddled with problems due to several reasons. An understanding of these psychological theories can helpful in identifying the patterns of human psychological development and resolve several crisis that happen during the course of life.

Initially, Rene Descartes had provided us with some idea of how human psychological development happened. After him it was Sigmund Freud who provided people with a deeper understanding of the development of the human psychology. Incomplete self-development can be the source of several issues in life. However, it is something that has become very common in the modern era. Particularly, for the younger generation, it is the topics of self and identity that are very important and can be understood better with the help of the psychological theories. Both human minds and human psychology are complex topics. In the modern world problems like anxiety and depression have grown in number. The development of the behavioral and cognitive psychologies has happened based on these theories that are used to address a large number of issues in modern society.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.