| Published: November 17, 2016

Person of the Month: Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

Ankit Patel

Clinical Psychology, Dept. of Psychology, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.001/20160401

DOI: 10.25215/0401.001


Erik Homburger Erikson was a German-born American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst who pioneered in the world of child psychology by giving his development theory with his ‘eight psychosocial stages’. He was born in Frankfurt in unusual circumstances in which his mother did not conceive him through her husband but he never got to know who his biological father was. It is said that the history of his birth is something that triggered the need in him to pursue the concept of identity and it is how he gave the world the psychological term ‘identity crisis’, a major contribution to the world of psychology and psychoanalysis. He grew up in Germany and came in contact with the world of psychoanalysis when he met Sigmund Freud’s daughter Anna Freud. He studied psychoanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute but Nazi invasion of Germany led to his emigration to America. In America, Erikson found a wide scope to practice psychoanalysis on children in Boston and worked at various medical institutes, including the Harvard University and California University. He studied the psychology of children from various social structures, environments, emotional and psychological issues and compiled his observations in the most prominent book of his career, ‘Childhood and Society’. Erikson is also credited with being one of the originators of Ego psychology, which stressed the role of the ego as being more than a servant of the id. According to Erikson, the environment in which a child lived was crucial to providing growth, adjustment, a source of self-awareness and identity. Erikson won a Pulitzer Prize and a U.S. National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion for Gandhi’s Truth (1969), which focused more on his theory as applied to later phases in the life cycle.


Erik Erikson

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429



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Published in   Volume 04, Issue 1, October-December, 2016