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Erik Erikson from 1902 – 1904 Essay

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On the 15th of June 1902 in Frankfurt Germany, Erik Erikson, Freudian ego psychologist, was born to a single mother who was abandoned by Erik’s unnamed real father before Erik was actually born. For the first three years, Erik’s mother raised him alone but after then she married a doctor with whom the family moved to southern Germany. As Erik’s identity was kept secret from him in his childhood and until his early adulthood, Erik being a Jewish boy was teased in the schools, temple and grammar, as being Nordic or for being Jewish respectively(Boeree, 2006).

Upon graduating, Erik visited Europe in pursuit to study arts and visited museums and bridges not knowing, at that point in time, that he would actually end up becoming one famous professional artist. At the age of 25 he went on to teaching for an experimental school for Americans on the request by one of his friends as Erik had degrees related to psychoanalytical skills and Montessori education.

There he met his life partner, Joan who was also teaching in that school and later the couple had three children including one psychologist. After the Nazi’s came into power, the family ended up in moving to Boston after which he was offered a position by the medical school of Harvard. In his stay and service at Harvard, he met a few psychologists who left on him the same impression as did Sigmund and Anna Freud.

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Later Erik landed up in many top Universities as a professor including Yale, Berkley and University of California. Erik changed his last name from, that came to him from his step father, from Homberger to Erikson and it still remains unclear why the psychologist did so. One of his books, Gandhi’s Truth also won him the Pulitzer Prize(Boeree, 2006).

Erik’s theory for which he is most famous in the field of psychology is the extension of the Freudian theory of stages which according to him follows an epigenetic principal that divides the development of a human being from infant to late adulthood in eight stages. To him, if these stages are altered, the entire process of development is ruined. He enjoyed his retired life from 1970 onwards with Joan, his wife, doing researches until he died in 1994 (Boeree, 2006).


Boeree, G (2006). Erik Erikson. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from Erik Erikson 1902 – 1994 Web site: www.http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/erikson.html

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