Long before Sigmund Freud came on the scene, people with emotional disturbances or irrational fears often sought out oracles and wise men and women to guide them and help them make sense of their given situation. Dream analysis was an ancient art that finds its expression in some camps of psychology. Often times, however, simply finding someone who was willing to listen to one’s problems or concerns, without interpretation or advice giving, seems to have been somewhat successful in helping the “client” to release their psychological burdens and live a more balanced and happy life. In Freud’s day, this was known as the “talking cure”.
Sigmund Freud revolutionized the use of the talking cure by not only listening to what was being said, but by making observations about what he felt were the deeper truths behind the conscious thoughts being expressed. Freud theorized that there were three main components to a person’s personality: The id, the ego and the superego. The id, he believed represented the most primitive and animalistic part of the mind. The id is the repository of all instinctive drives including sex, hunger, self preservation, and the like. The ego, he postulated, represented the part of the mind that corresponds with the conscious processes of decision making, reasoning, execution of tasks or intentions, and so on. The superego in turn represented the moral authority or conscience, which he believed unconsciously, though sometimes in a conscious manner, polices, inhibits or passes judgment upon the id’s drives and instincts and the decisions and actions of the ego. Many of Freud’s controversial ideas about the nature of the superego, such as the necessity of a boy’s abandoning of his primitive lusts to “possess” his mother out of fear of castration by his father, and the idea that women are already biologically “castrated” by their reproductive makeup and therefore can only form a weak superego which disposes them to immoral behavior and sexual confusion, amongst others, have largely been cast aside. There are, however, some interesting interpretations that have evolved over the years regarding the superego. While Freud identified the superego as the father figure of the mind, he also stressed the influence of society in the form of religious and cultural socialization as well. In modern times social psychologists have sometimes referred to a concept called the “ought self”, and the parallels to the superego cannot be ignored. The movement that Freud created, based upon his theories and constructs is known as Psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis, in a nutshell proposed that psychiatric problems and neuroses were the outer manifestations of internal and unconscious conflicts between the id, the ego and the superego. Through the use of the talking cure method, dream interpretation and an examination of his clients early childhood experiences, Freud believed that he could identify the way that those childhood experiences were playing themselves out in the present time. Using this methodology, he would help his clients to come to an understanding of which of the various stages of development, according to his theories, were being retarded by these internal and unresolved conflicts. Although, as previously noted, many of his emphases on sexual symbolism and obsessions with death have been largely abandoned, the concept of early childhood stages of development and their impact upon adult mental health are widely accepted axioms of modern psychotherapy.
Freud is most widely known by his association with the terms “Freudian slip”, “Penis envy” and “Oedipal Complex” as well as the concept of transference; that is the unconscious association of one’s feelings towards a person or situation in childhood to a person or situation unrelated to the original in adulthood. The concept of a “Freudian slip” refers to a person saying something they did not consciously intend to say, which is interpreted as indicating a truth about the person’s actual, but unconscious feelings on the subject. “Penis envy” is often misquoted as being a man’s feelings of inadequacy being manifest in a form of overcompensation, another psychological term, meaning an often over the top exaggeration of his success, physical prowess, power or bravado, etc. The term actually referred to one of Freud’s more sexist assertions that women who aspire to be successful in a “man’s world” were driven by a feeling of being cheated for not being born with male genitalia. The “Oedipal complex” refers to a struggle between a father and a son over the love and attention of the child’s mother.
Alfred Adler was another early proponent and developer of the psychoanalytical movement. Quoting from the Wikipedia article (for brevity only, though in fairness to criticism of that resource, the information presented is accurate based upon my own in depth studies at university, and is more concise than my own explanation would be): “Adler emphasized the importance of social equality in preventing various forms of psychopathology, and espoused the development of social interest and democratic family structures as the ideal ethos for raising children. In chapter 3 of Impact of Science on Society, Bertrand Russell said that the behavior of people in futuristic scientific dictatorships is best described by Adler's theories. His most famous concept is the inferiority complex which speaks to the problem of self-esteem and its negative compensations (e.g. sometimes producing a paradoxical superiority striving). His emphasis on power dynamics is rooted in the philosophy of Nietzsche. Adler argued for holism, viewing the individual holistically rather than reductively, the latter being the dominant lens for viewing human psychology. Adler was also among the first in psychology to argue in favor of feminism making the case that power dynamics between men and women (and associations with masculinity and femininity) are crucial to understanding human psychology (Connell, 1995).”
Adler was a contemporary of Freud, and an early disciple of his, however Freud brooked no dissent with regards to his own theories, and Adler was later disavowed by Freud for refusing to change his views. Adler spoke a great deal about what he referred to as “fictional finalisms”, which referred to beliefs that arose in response to one’s own feelings of inadequacy. These finalisms, whether rooted in reality or not could facilitate psychological growth and well being simply by the power of belief that they might work. As time goes on, those concepts which were found to be erroneous or ineffective were discarded and the finalism revised. In plain words, Adler believed in an early form of goal setting, and believed that the effort expended to attain the goal was as beneficial or more beneficial than the actual attainment of it. Although the dictionary definition of fictional finalism denotes a striving for unattainable ultimate goals, the process of working through a fictional finalism, for the most part, is both healthy and necessary to the development of a more realistic understanding of oneself and what is possible for one to achieve.
The concept of the inferiority complex is one of the hallmarks of Adlerian psychology. Quoting from the Wiki again:
“An inferiority complex, in the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis, is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. Such feelings can arise from an imagined or actual inferiority in the afflicted person. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme antisocial behavior, or both. Unlike a normal feeling of inferiority, which can act as an incentive for achievement, an inferiority complex is an advanced state of discouragement, often resulting in a retreat from difficulties.”(A classic example of the inferiority complex illustrated in Star Trek was Ensign Reginald Barclay’s descent into Holodiction as he attempted to deal with his own feelings of inadequacy and social retardation with regards to the senior command staff aboard the Enterprise D.)
According to Adler inferiority feelings can arise from any number of causes, including judgemental or harsh parenting, feelings of rejection, being ostracized by one’s peers or social setting for reasons of physical appearance, disability (Reginald stuttered), culture, ethnicity, etc. Whereas feelings of inferiority can manifest themselves as motivations to overcome in healthy psyches, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s determination to overcome his asthmatic childhood frailties and poor vision through vigorous physical conditioning and pursuits of manliness, those suffering from an inferiority complex are often frustrated by lack of success in achieving acceptance. Worse, their failed attempts often lead to their feelings of self worth being further crushed by the rejection of their efforts, rather than support for their courageous attempts to “make the grade”. This in turn often leads to a further withdrawal from society in general, which exacerbates their social awkwardness. Paradoxically, as noted in the Wiki, an inferiority complex can also manifest itself in “excessive seeking for attention, criticism of others, overly dutiful obedience, fear, and worry.” Adler’s contribution to the modern understanding of neurosis is exceptional, and as a Simmer playing the role of ship’s counselor, you can get a lot of mileage out of his concepts.
Carl Jung was a contemporary of Freud’s and an early proponent of psychoanalysis. Like Freud, Jung was interested in the concept of unconscious motivations. They shared a long relationship but disagreements over Freud’s dogmatic and negativist view of the unconscious eventually drove them apart.
Jung was an early proponent of personality typing, focusing on what he called the extroverted and introverted personalities. He formed his own school of thought called “Analytical Psychology” and developed such concepts as “the shadow”, the “persona” and the “collective unconscious”. Jung believed that stored within the very core of all persons was a vast library of symbols which represented various lessons learned from the ancestral experiences of every generation that had gone before. He called these symbols archetypes, and as an aside, the influence of his work in this area can be seen throughout not only Star Trek, but in virtually every adventure story and movie written since.
Like Freud, Jung had a tripartite construct for the personality. In Jung’s theory the personality consisted of three main components: The “shadow”, the “anima” and the “animus”. The shadow, like the id, represents a repressed irrational and instinctive unconscious aspect of one’s personality, though it differs in his view that it incorporates one’s failings or weaknesses as well. Rejecting the id’s negativist connotation, Jung asserted that the shadow is not necessarily evil, but represents what I’ve come to call a form of “primal conditioning”; a basic collection of instinctive responses evolutionarily encoded in our DNA which were perhaps socially maladaptive in more primitive times, but necessary to our survival as a species. The anima and animus are viewed as representing our true personalities, as opposed to the “persona” which he likened to a mask we wear as we “play our role” in society; a character, if you will designed to assimilate and conceal our true nature and feelings. The animus, is seen as an inner male portion of the female psyche, while the anima is what most pop psychologists are always trying to get those of us with a Y chromosome in touch with, namely our “feminine side”. It is no exaggeration to say that Jung’s contribution to modern thinking cannot be overstated.
Like Freud, Jung believed that early childhood can influence development of personality in the sense that the “shadow aspect” of one’s personality should cease its prominence towards dominating one’s behavior as the person matures. Jung also shared Freud’s belief in word association as a tool for uncovering the hidden truths the conscious mind attempts to conceal in therapeutic sessions.
One of Jung’s greatest contributions to the field of psychology stemmed from his belief in a collective unconscious. This collective unconscious, he theorized, was a repository of lessons learned from our ancestors which is passed down to each person within their very essence of being. He believed that this collective unconscious manifested itself in various archetypal symbols within our dreams, and dedicated himself to cataloging them in various written materials. Another contribution to the field, and accepted in one form or another by many schools of thought is the concept of “individuation”. Having reviewed the material, I feel that the following explanations taken from http://www.soul-guidance.com/houseofthesun/individuationprocess.htm illustrates Jung’s concepts much more accurately and eloquently than I would have, and so it is presented for your consideration. I present them here with the caveat that the reader understands that the views presented are Carl Jung’s interpretation of personality, and are in some cases controversial and or sexist.
Individuation means that one becomes a person, an individual, a totally integrated personality. It is a process of self realization during which one integrates those contents of the psyche that have the ability to become conscious. It is a search for totality. It is an experience that could be formulated as the discovery of the divine in yourself, or the discovery of the totality of your Self. This does not always happen without pain, but it is necessary to accept many things that normally we would shy away from. Once a person has accepted the contents of his unconsciousness and has reached the goal of the individuation process, he is conscious of his relationships with everything that lives, with the entire cosmos.
Individuation is a natural, inherent process in man. It cannot be stimulated by something external, but it grows from the inside. Just as the body can become deformed or sick by lack of nutrition or movement, the personality can be deformed by lack of experience or education. Jung stresses that our modern world does not give enough opportunity to experience the archetype of the Shadow. When a child expresses his animal instincts, generally it is punished by its parents. Punishment does not lead to the extinction of the Shadow (repressed tendencies, more about this later on), which is impossible, but it leads to the suppression of this archetype. The Shadow retreats to an unconscious state, primitive and undifferentiated. Then, when the Shadow breaks through the repressive barrier, and this does happen once in a while, it manifests itself in a sinister, pathological way.
The first step of integration is individuation of all aspects of the personality, which is called the individuation process.
There is a second phase that Jung called the transcendental function. This function has the capacity to unify the opposite tendencies of the personality. The goal of transcendence is the realization of all aspects of the personality as they were originally concealed in the one’s center, and the development of the potential unity. The transcendence is the means to realize the unity of the archetype of the Self.
The Individuation Process
The individuation process begins with becoming conscious of the Persona, the mask we take on in our every day life. After this we become conscious of the Shadow, the repressed characteristics of the ego. Then we become conscious of the Anima, the inner woman in each man, or the Animus, the inner man in each woman. Then the image of the old wise man, or the old wise mother appears, after which the experience of the Self happens.
These phases are not necessarily chronological in order or separated from each other. They can overlap each other or run parallel.
The Persona is the mask we all wear, a mask that pretends individuality. It makes us believe that one is a certain individual, but it nothing else than a well played role. The persona is a compromise one creates between himself and the community about how one appears to be. One adopts a name, a title, an occupation, and identifies oneself with this or that. One thinks that one is a businessman, a good father or a misfit, but all this are masks, ways we would like to be or appear to other people and does not always reflect who we really are.
The Persona is a complicated system for connecting the individual consciousness with society. One could call it a mask that makes an impression on other people, but also hides the true nature of the person. It partly results from the demands of a society that one has to play the role that has been ascribed to him. In your profession you need to fulfill the demands of that profession as well as possible. A society demands this as a sort of security measure. From a shoemaker is expected that he repairs shoes to the best of his abilities, not that he is a poet. It is not even wanted that he is a poet, because then society thinks that he is not totally reliable as a shoemaker. In academic circles, a similar person would be regarded as a dilettante, in politics he would be considered as unreliable, in the religious area he would become a free-thinker. As soon as one deviates from his role, he becomes a suspicious person, despite the fact that he might still be an excellent worker in his profession. Therefore, if one wants to make it in society, one can only devote himself to one single thing. Of course, few people are able to do this, as we all have more than one interest. To accommodate to the wishes of society, we create a mask, a Persona. What is behind that mask we call ‘privacy’.
This split in our behavior is not without consequences. If we neglect the development of the Persona, then people might find us insulting or they make our lives difficult, because they expect us to behave in the way society demands. At the other side, there is danger of identifying too much with the role that one is trying to fulfill.
The Shadow represents unknown or little known characteristics of the ego. When one tries to see his Shadow, he becomes conscious, and often ashamed of, the characteristics and impulses that he denies in himself but sees clearly in other people: for example: egotism, spiritual laziness, unreal fantasies, intrigues, indifference, cowardliness, greed, and all those little things of which we say "Oh, it doesn’t matter. Nobody will notice, and besides other people are doing it too".
The Shadow is the inferior being in all of us, it wants to do all those things that we do not allow ourselves to do, or that we don’t want to be. It is the Mr. Hyde in relation to Mr. Jekyll.
The Shadow is not only about not doing something, but also about impulsive and ill considered deeds. Before you have time to think about it, a nasty remarks slips out, leaving you confronted with the result of something that you didn’t really intended.
The Shadow is all those uncivilized desires and emotions that are incompatible with the norms of society and with our ideal personality. It is all we are ashamed of, that we do not wish to be.
When a person joins other people, he automatically feels the need to behave as they do in order to be accepted. Thus, he suppresses more of his tendencies, and thus makes his Shadow bigger. The Shadow can also be a collective phenomenon in regards to the whole of humanity, like the devil or the witch.
While it is necessary to have a certain degree of suppression of one’s characteristics in regards to one’s role in society, the Shadow, remaining the unconscious, will increase in strength. When a moment arises that the Shadow must appear, it can be so powerful and dangerous that it can overwhelm the personality. It shows, for example, when one suddenly gets very angry. It certainly is true with the collective Shadow, when a mass of people is protesting and apparently innocent people turn violent.
In dreams the Shadow appears as a person of the same sex as the dreamer. The Shadow does not have to be an opponent. As it is a part of ourselves we need to take it, give it love and compassion, control it, guide it. The Shadow will only become hostile when it is not understood or is neglected.
"There is in the unconscious of each man an inherent image of woman who helps him to understand her being."
The anima is the personification of all female psychological tendencies in the psyche of a man, including feelings, moods, intuition, receptivity for the irrational, the ability for personal love, a feel for nature, and the man's attitude toward the unconscious.
This image becomes conscious by real contacts with women, especially the first woman he encounters in his life. Normally this first woman is his mother, who is the most powerful in shaping him. There are men who have never been able to free themselves from her fascinating power. A man's experience of his mother is of course subjective. How she behaves is less important than his experience of how she behaves. The image he builds is not an exact representation of how she really is, but it is colored and shaped by his inherent ability to produce an image of her, that is, his anima.
If man has the feeling that his mother has had a negative influence on him, then the anima will often be expressed with irritating, depressive moods, insecurity, a feeling of being unsafe, and touchiness. This negative anima can be expressed in nasty, effeminate remarks, with which he demolishes everything possible. Another anima trick is pseudo-intellectual dialogs which prevents a man from feeling life closely and coming to real decisions. He thinks so much about life that he cannot live, and he losses all spontaneity and the flow of life.
Without a healthy anima, a man becomes effeminate, or becomes the prey of women, and he is not capable of handling the difficulties of life. Such men can be very sentimental or touchy.
When he is grown up his image of the anima is projected onto the women that attract him. It is then that a lot of misunderstandings arise, as most men are not aware that their projection does not correspond with who the woman is in reality. This is the cause of a lot of strange love affairs and divorces. Unfortunately, this projection does not happen in a rational way. It is not that a man is actively projecting, but that the projection happens to him automatically.
Because the anima is an archetype, she has characteristics that continue to appear throughout the ages. She has a quality of eternity. Often she looks young, although she has the feeling that she already has years of experience. She is wise but not overpowering. She often has the feeling of being special, or having a secret knowledge. She is often connected to the earth or water and can have great power. She has both a light and a dark aspect. She can be the pure, good, noble figure, almost a goddess, but she can also be a prostitute, a seductress or a witch. Especially in children’s dreams these opposite aspects are pronounced.
The dark aspect will most likely appear when a man has suppressed or underestimated his female nature, treating women with contempt or carelessness.
The anima can also appear in the form a fey or an elf and lure men away from their work or home, like the sirens in ancient times. In mythology and literature she continues to appear as a goddess and ‘femme fatale’.
In the life of men the anima expresses herself not only in the projection to women, but also in his creative activities, in his fantasies, his moods, premonitions, and emotional explosions. An old Chinese text says that when a man wakes up in the morning with a heavy or bad mood, it is his soul, or anima, that is responsible for this. She disturbs his concentration by whispering absurd ideas and spoils his day by supplying him with a vague feeling that something is not all right, or she wanders through his dreams with seductive visions.
Positive and negative as just two sides of a coin. In essence the anima is a guide to the psychological development of a man. Each time when man’s logical mind is not able to recognize or understand unconscious contents, his anima will help him to dig them out. His anima helps him to tune himself to the correct inner values and thereby helping him to open the door to his inner world. Thus the anima takes the role of guide and mediator in his inner world. Then man has to take serious those feelings, moods, expectations and fantasies sent by his anima, and fix them in one form or another, like writing, painting, sculpting. When he is working on this with patience then his unconscious contents will well up and connect with earlier material. Whatever results from it has to be examined both intellectually as well as with his feelings. It is important to consider it is not just ‘fantasy’, but that is very real.
The animus in women is the counterpart of the anima in men. Like the anima, the animus has three roots: the collective image of a man that a woman acquires, her own experiences with men in her life, and the latent male principle in herself.
The animus also has good and bad aspects. In contrast with the anima in men which appears most often in the form of erotic fantasies or moods, the animus has a stronger tendency to appear in the form of ‘sacred’ convictions. This male part in women is apparent when she lectures with a loud, obtrusive, male voice, or by unreasonable, emotional scenes. Even in a woman who at the outside is very feminine, the anima can be a hard, unforgiving power. That woman can suddenly become stubborn, cold and completely inaccessible.
Typical for such women is the endless repetition of thoughts like: "The only thing in the world I want is love, but he doesn’t love me." Or "In this situation there are only two possibilities, and both are as bad". The animus never believes in exceptions. In general one cannot contradict an animus, because usually it is right, but at the same time it doesn’t quite fit the individual situation. It is mostly only a reasoning, an opinion. It looks right, but is beside the point.
Just as the anima of a man is formed by his experience of his mother, so the animus of a woman is formed through hers of her father. The father gives her indisputable ‘true’ convictions that never include the personal reality of the daughter herself.
In his negative aspect, the animus is personified by a cocoon of dreamy thoughts, filled with desires and judgments of ‘how things must be’, excluding the reality of her own life. In his positive aspect, he can be very valuable aid in building a bridge to the Self by his creative ability.
The animus often appears (especially in dreams) as a group of men, this shows that the animus personifies a collective element rather than a personal element. Because of the collective aspect, women usually in reference to "they’ or ‘everybody’ include ‘always’, should’ and ‘must’.
The animus is a kind of a collection of fathers and similar authorities, who pass an intellectualized, indisputable judgment. It is mostly formed from words and opinions picked up from childhood on and later brought together into a canon of half-truths, a treasure chest of preconceptions. They are justified by "It is always done like that" or "Everybody is saying that it like this". This critical judgment can sometimes act against her self resulting in an inferiority complex limiting her self-initiative. In other situations she can turn against people in a completely destructive way. She will criticize her neighbors, demolish the reputation of strangers without any reasonable explanation, or she makes belittling remarks to her family members or people with whom she works with the opinion that "it is good for them", or "I like to call things by their name", or "I just do not want to spoil them".
An intelligent and developed woman is just as susceptible to the negative aspects of the animus as less developed one. A less developed woman will quote a newspaper instead of the state or a university. If her opinion is being questioned she will become quarrelsome or dogmatic. This side of a woman craves for power. She can become aggressive, dominating and unreasonable.
Because of this aspect of the animus it is very difficult for a woman to think in a non-prejudiced way. She always has to be aware of that inner voice that constantly tells her "that it needs to be this way", or "they should do it this way".
The positive side of the animus is that when a woman needs the courage and the aggressively he will be there to support her. When a woman realizes that her opinions are based on generalities and authorities, then the animus can help her to look for knowledge and wisdom.
Significance of Anima and Animus
The way anima and animus function can be made conscious, but they are themselves factors that are transcendent to the conscious, and thus to perception and will. They remain autonomous and one needs to keep an eye on them.
Anima and animus are mediators between the conscious and the unconscious psyche. They can be understood when they appear, personified, in fantasies, dreams, visions.
The Old Wise Man
After the anima and animus, the archetypes of the old wise man and the great mother arise, respectively in man and woman.
The old wise man appears in the form of king, hero, medicine man, savior, magician, saint, ruler over man and spirits, God's closest friend and so on. This archetype is a real danger for the personality, because once it has been aroused, a man can easily believe that he possesses ‘mana’, real magical power, and wisdom. He who is possessed by this archetype believes he is gifted with great (maybe esoteric) wisdom, prophetic gifts, the ability to heal and so on. Such a man can gather followers, as he has entered the unconscious way further than anybody else.
The archetype has a fascinating power, intuitively felt by people and not easily resisted. They are fascinated by what he is saying, but after analysis it is often not intelligent. The power of the old wise man can be destructive as it forces a man to act above his power and capacity. He does not posses the wisdom he claims. In reality it is the voice of the unconscious that should be subjected to criticism and analysis.
The Great Mother
In a woman the archetype of the great mother acts in a similar way to the old wise man in a man. Any woman possessed by this archetype, believes that she is gifted with an unlimited capacity to love and to understand, to help and to protect, and she will exhaust herself in service to others. The archetype can be destructive when the woman is fixated on the belief that anybody within her sphere of influence are ‘her children" and therefore they are helpless or dependent on her.
The Experience of the Self
The process of individuation is not easy for Western man because he has difficulty with the concept of paradoxes. Nevertheless it is necessary to accept both the superior and the inferior, the rational and the irrational, the order and the chaos, light and darkness, yin and yang.
The Self, according to Jung, is not a kind of universal consciousness. It is rather an awareness of our unique nature and our intimate connection with all life. This life is not only human but also animal, with plants and minerals, and even the entire cosmos. It gives us a sense of ‘unity’ and acceptance of life as it is, and not as we might think we want it to be.
The Self is symbolized in the form a child, Christ, Buddha, and so on. In dreams it can sprout forth from an animal or an egg. The hermaphrodite, an often used alchemical image, is another symbol, it joins the opposites of male and female. Other images are the difficult to obtain treasure, a jewel, a flower, a golden egg or golden ball, a chalice like the Grail, and all fourfold images like mandalas.
Importance of the Environment
Jung thought that that heritage can play a role in the balance of a personality. Man can have inherent extrovert or introvert tendencies, or he can be a rather emotional type instead of an intellectual, and his anima can be strong or weak.
The other major component in the development of a personality is the environment. The environment in which one grows up or lives, can deform, stimulate, or stabilize one’s development. The environment can interfere with the growth of the personality by taking away the necessary stimuli or by making inappropriate contacts.
Parents play an extremely important role in the development of the character of the child. They are responsible for the mistakes of the child and for stimulating his good tendencies. During its first years, the child does not have its own identity. His psyche is a reflection of the psyche of his parents. Every psychic disorder of the parents is reflected in the child. When the child goes to school it starts to develop its own individuality. The influence of its parents can still be strong if they are overprotective, make decisions that the child should have made, and prevent the child from having sufficient experiences. Under these circumstances the individuation of the child is stunned.
The individuation process is also limited by parents who try to impose their own psychic tendencies onto the child, or when one of the parents is seeking to compensate for his/her own shortcomings through the child.
Jung was convinced that the educators have a much stronger influence on the individuation of a child than the parents. The educators should bring the unconscious in the student into the conscious. They could expand the conscious of students by providing him with a multitude of experiences. Educators are in a position to discover imbalances in the child and to help it to overcome weaknesses in it's character. A child who is an overly developed intellectual type could be stimulated to come into contact with his feelings. An introvert student could be stimulated to show his extrovert side. However, the most important task of educators is the recognition of the individuality of each student and the promotion of a balanced development of individuality.
Erik Erikson was a social psychologist and one of the leading forces in the field to this day with regards to his theories on stages of development. Erikson’s insights into personality development are widely accepted axioms in the fields of social work, teaching and child psychology. Eriksonian principles provide an excellent springboard for a great deal of simming counseling interactions, as they address a number of the issues for which many crewmembers will be referred to or seek counseling. The following excellent summation of his major contributions to the field of psychology are taken from the Wikipedia:
Even though Erikson always insisted that he was a Freudian, he is better described as a Neo-Freudian. Subsequent authors have described him as an "ego psychologist" studying the stages of development, spanning the entire lifespan. Each of Erikson's stages of psychosocial development are marked by a conflict, for which successful resolution will result in a favourable outcome, for example, trust vs. mistrust, and by an important event that this conflict resolves itself around, for example, meaning of one's life.
Favourable outcomes of each stage are sometimes known as "virtues", a term used, in the context of Eriksonian work, as it is applied to medicines, meaning "potencies." For example, the virtue that would emerge from successful resolution. Oddly, and certainly counter-intuitively, Erikson's research suggests that each individual must learn how to hold both extremes of each specific life-stage challenge in tension with one another, not rejecting one end of the tension or the other. Only when both extremes in a life-stage challenge are understood and accepted as both required and useful, can the optimal virtue for that stage surface. Thus, 'trust' and 'mis-trust' must both be understood and accepted, in order for realistic 'hope' to emerge as a viable solution at the first stage. Similarly, 'integrity' and 'despair' must both be understood and embraced, in order for actionable 'wisdom' to emerge as a viable solution at the last stage.
The Erikson life-stage virtues, in the order of the stages in which they may be acquired, are:
- hope - Basic Trust vs. Mistrust - Infant stage. Does the child believe its caregivers to be reliable?
- will - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt - Toddler stage. Child needs to learn to explore the world. Bad if the parent is too smothering or completely neglectful.
- purpose - Initiative vs. Guilt - Kindergarten - Can the child plan or do things on his own, such as dress him or herself. If "guilty" about making his or her own choices, the child will not function well. Erikson has a positive outlook on this stage, saying that most guilt is quickly compensated by a sense of accomplishment.
- competence - Industry vs. Inferiority - Around age 6 to puberty. Child comparing self worth to others (such as in a classroom environment). Child can recognize major disparities in personal abilities relative to other children. Erikson places some emphasis on the teacher, who should ensure that children do not feel inferior.
- fidelity - Identity vs. Role Confusion - Teenager. Questioning of self. Who am I, how do I fit in? Where am I going in life? Erikson believes that if the parents allow the child to explore, they will conclude their own identity. However, if the parents continually push him/her to conform to their views, the teen will face identity confusion.
- love (in intimate relationships, work and family) - Intimacy vs. Isolation - Young adult. Who do I want to be with or date, what am I going to do with my life? Will I settle down? This stage has begun to last longer as young adults choose to stay in school and not settle.
- caring - Generativity vs. Stagnation - the Mid-life crisis. Measure accomplishments/failures. Am I satisfied or not? The need to assist the younger generation. Stagnation is the feeling of not having done anything to help the next generation.
- wisdom - Ego Integrity vs. Despair - old age. Some handle death well. Some can be bitter, unhappy, dissatisfied with what they accomplished or failed to accomplish within their life time. They reflect on the past, and either conclude at satisfaction or despair.
On Ego Identity versus Role Confusion, Ego identity enables each person to have a sense of individuality, or as Erikson would say, "Ego identity, then, in its subjective aspect, is the awareness of the fact that there is a self-sameness and continuity to the ego's synthesizing methods and a continuity of one's meaning for others".
Content from this article may
have come partially, or
entirely from Wikipedia