Written by Prashant Bhatt

Generations , Gender, Geographies make a rich kaleidoscope. In this blog we see how Erikson’s stages which considers broader psychosocial aspects, emphasizes the lifelong journey of self-disovery and adaptation can be used to help navigate tricky family situations.

Serenity Prayer- when used in conjunction with stages of psychosocial development, helped deepen perspectives, develop trust and calm down matters, clarify issues and convey with confidence her own view point.
(3 C- calm, confident, clarity)

Scenario – An elderly lady despairs at the demands her children are placing on her. She feels pressured by her daughter’s lavish wedding plans which make her feel like an object, and not respected for her worth as a person.

Lady (L) – I live on limited finances. I do not have the resources to spend money which I do not have. We are from a working class family.

Counselor ( C) : What could be a compassionate way of looking at the situation from your daughter’s perspective? Is there peer pressure? Is there untold pressure from her future husband’s family?

L- I did not think from that angle.

C- Let us look at the causes and conditions, factors and forces which are shaping this narrative of spending so much money on shoes, make-up, travels.

Reflecting on this case and integrating therapy with Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development is a powerful way to shape the therapeutic process. The stages are building blocks crucial to maturation. They overlap and extend to other stages of life. Lack of maturation may lead to imbalances which can be addressed.

Eight stages of Erikson Psychosocial development are

  1. Infancy: Trust vs. Mistrust
  2. Toddler years: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
  3. Preschool years: Initiative vs. Guilt
  4. Middle school years: Industry vs. Inferiority
  5. Adolescence: Identity vs. Confusion
  6. Young adulthood: Intimacy vs. Isolation
  7. Middle adulthood: Generativity vs. Stagnation
  8. Older adulthood: Integrity vs. Despair

Commentary: As we went through the stages of development, she reflected on her issues of intimacy versus isolation, the way her marriage dissolved, the impact of those acrimonious years on the development of her children.

The soup was further thickened by seeing the stages of development the children may be going through at present.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>