Saturday, July 13, 2013
What are the two main Psychoanalytic theories? What contributions have these theories made to the study of life span development? What are the criticisms of psychoanalytic theories?
Sigmund Freud's psychosexual theory and Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory are two main psychoanalytic theories. Freud's psychosexual theory centered around sexual drives. Freud believed that development occurred in stages. The first six years occur in three stages characterized by sexual interest and pleasure centered on a certain part of the body (Berger, 2011). The first stage or oral stage occurs in infancy and the particular part of the body is the mouth. The second stage or anal stage occurs in early childhood and the particular part of the body is the anus. The third stage or phallic stage occurs in the preschool years and the particular part of the body is the penis. Latency occurs after the phallic stage and then the genital stage occurs at puberty and lasts throughout adulthood. The contributions that Freud’s theory provided to the study of life span development was showing how individuals behave during different stages in life.
Erikson described eight developmental stages in his psychosocial theory; characterized by a certain challenge or developmental crisis (Berger, 2011). Erikson's developmental stages centered around social needs. These stages are trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair. For each crisis Erikson named two polarities and identified a wide range of outcomes between these opposites (Berger, 2011). The contributions that Erikson’s theory provided to the study of life span development were emphasizing the importance of growth throughout an individual's lifespan, and provided a better understanding of human development.
The criticisms of Freud's psychosexual theory were that his theories and observations were based on case studies and clinical cases, which made his findings difficult to generalize to a larger population, and overemphasized sex, aggression, the unconscious mind, and childhood experiences. The criticisms of Erikson's theory were that his work applied more to boys instead of girls and that more attention was paid to infancy and childhood more so than adult life.
Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.