Erickson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development applies to me in many ways. The first stage is trust vs. mistrust. As my father was absent from me for much of my life and my mother and I were never close, is likely that this is my sense of mistrust comes from. Evidence of this is that I am independent, as I do not trust others to fulfill my needs. The second stage is autonomy versus shame. My independence is also evidence that I developed a sense of autonomy, rather than shame. However, my shyness in public may also indicate that there is a sense of shame too.
The third crisis is initiative vs. guilt. I may have had guilt and blamed myself for the problems in our family. It took the initiative to pursue a career as a nurse. The ability to overcome the challenges of nursing school, while raising a family as a single parent. The Ego identity vs. role confusion is the next step in the theory. In this respect, I feel that I tend to sway towards my true self-identity. This is especially true since I have been in nursing school. Getting pregnant at an early age may have been due to a lack of my own sense of ego identity and confusion in the roles that I would play as an adult.
I am currently in the intimacy vs, isolation stage. I have difficulty in social events, which indicates that I am on the isolation side of the spectrum. I often experience isolation, particularly when it comes to large crowds. I try to overcompensate by pretending to be an extrovert, but that is not what I am actually feeling on the inside. The next stage will be generavity vs stagnation. I plan to continue to work on the shyness around social events and to participate in activities that I love. I plan to remain active and be a part of the community. In the ego integrity versus despair phase, I plan to integrate all of the lessons that I have learned throughout my life and realize that I have made an important contribution.
It is the goal of everyone to become a self-actualized person, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I have always been able to provide for my physical needs and will have more resources to do so when I become a nurse due to increased earning potential. I built my own sense of physical safety through independence. I still feel vulnerable in crowds. I lack feelings of belonging and love, largely due to the absence of my parents. I failed to establish this early connection with my parents, which set the stage for feeling insecure around others.
I feel that completing nursing school will help me to become a more self-actualized person. I expect that working as a nurse will give me a sense of purpose and meaning. Raising my children has given me that sense of purpose, but I feel that helping others in the nursing profession will continue to build on this sense of purpose. Eventually, my children will grow up and leave home. My career in nursing will continue to give me a sense of purpose, as I care for others on a daily basis. I will be able to achieve self-actualization, but there are many challenges stemming from my lack of parental love and guidance in my life. My greatest challenge will be learning to trust others.
When one compares Maslow’s stages of self-actualization. Erikson’ stages are independent. Not everyone completes a stage before moving on to the next one. Someone can resolve earlier stages later in life. With Maslow’s stages, each stage depends on the others around it. The person completes one stage before moving on to the next one. If someone becomes stuck in a stage, it can prevent them from becoming a self-actualized individual. Erikson’s stages are more credible, because of the ability to work the issues out later in life, if they do not occur at the time they need to be completed. I believe that one can become a self-actualized individual, even if they do not fully complete all of the stages. Humans continue to develop and grow throughout their life and learn lessons. The learning does not stop once a person passes a certain age.