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Erickson's Stages of Development- Explained

Discuss the eight stages of development (Erikson's eight stages). Explain how and why an understanding of each of the areas of development are important to the practice of mental health counseling. Please give specific examples.

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Dear Student,

In order to answer this question, it's important to understand Erickson's Stages of Psychosocial Development. I will explain each stage and provide you with a few "clinical examples" that demonstrate how to use them for the practice of mental health counseling.

Stage One:
Basic Trust vs. Basic Mistrust (infancy)
During this stage a positive relationship with the primary caregiver during infancy will result in a sense of trust and optimism
Clinical example: In the counseling setting, the therapist may consider how the client's formative years influenced their relationships with others. Is the client close to his/her parents? If not, why not? Does the client have close relationships with others, or are they unable to form close relationships? An examination of their childhood may provide valuable information that can guide treatment.

Stage Two:
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (toddler)
During this stage, the child develops a sense of autonomy when they have positive interactions with parents and/or other close caregivers. The child strives to master his environment while building self esteem.
Clinical example: In the counseling setting, the counselor can examine if the client is "dependent" upon others or "independent". Also, does the client feel unsure about his/her abilities or guilty that they have not achieved the expectations of others? Does the client need other people to make decisions for them? Alternatively, does the client have positive self esteem and the ability to make independent choices? Information obtained about this psychosocial stage can help us better understand our clients and how they process successes and/or failures.

Stage Three:
Initiative vs. Guilt (preschool/early childhood)
During this stage, the client's ability to have favorable relationships among family members will lead to an ability to set goals ...

Solution Summary

The following document describes Erickson's Stages of Development. Each stage is discussed and clinical examples are provided to further learning.