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Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 10th 2010

Before my birthday last year, someone tried to console me by advising me to ignore the whole thing because, after a certain age, birthdays bring nothing but misery. I was surprised by the comment for two primary reasons. First, I never said that I felt stressed by another birthday. Second, I enjoy my birthdays. So all of you know, I will be 68 years old this coming October 2010. Does growing older cause unhappiness? Let’s discuss that question.

Theory:

According to Erik Erikson, we go through eight stages of psychosocial development. Each stage is gradually built upon previous stages and affects the stages that are next in line. Therefore, the previous stage of development has a profound impact on each of the next stages. At each level we experience from birth to old age, we face a challenge or crisis. Resolution of each crisis is critical to our over all well being as human beings. In all, Erikson is describing the gradual development of each individual person’s ego or personality. This development carries with it an increasing amount of individuality and strength to meet the challenges of life.

Here are Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development:

1. Trust vs. Mistrust.

2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt.

3. Initiative vs. Guilt

4. Industry vs. Inferiority

5. Identity vs. Role Confusion (Adolescence)

6. Intimacy vs. Isolation

7. Generativity vs. Stagnation

8. Integrity vs. Despair (Old Age)

Read More …  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=37707&cn=12



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