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Erikson’s theory differs from that of Sigmund Freud on the structures of the mind that affect people’s personality. Sigmund identified three mental structures that influence the human personality. These are the id, ego and superego. He focused primarily on the id (Schultz, 1976). On the other hand, Erikson’s complementary works appreciated the effect of the environment on the development of people’s personalities. He focused primarily on the ego (Lerner, 2002). The similarity in the two theories is that they deal with the development of personalities amongst different individuals.
In my opinion, Erikson’s theory has more validity since it incorporates an aspect of society that an individual is exposed to. Whereas Sigmund focused on the biological elements that affected the psychosexual development of people, Erikson focused on the societal factors that mold the personality of an individual.
Identity consolidation refers to the phenomenon whereby individuals identify with the environment in which they are living and position themselves to tackle the realities of life and the demands of the society. In the modern society, this would occur either after a person has undergone an identity crisis and later on discovers his or her place in the society. A study of previous trends in the lives of other individuals, whose characters and personalities have a semblance, would help in the timing of transitions from one phase of life to another. Identity consolidation is affected either positively or negatively by the socialization process and education of an individual.
Jung’s view of human nature is that all individuals differ psychologically during their first phase of life. However, with age, the inimitability of individuals is swallowed up by a common personality (Clarke, 1994). Erikson's theory has more validity than Jung’s since the personality of individuals is majorly influenced by the society. In this regard, it is virtually impossible for individuals to have the same personalities, since they are not socialized in the same society or environment.
Erikson’s stages are significantly applicable in the modern society. One of the reasons is that the trends in development are general and apply across different societal settings without any bias. The stages are also interdependent meaning that the development of a person in one stage influences his or her performance in the subsequent stage. Therefore, moving the stages would significantly interfere with the development process. The stages also have a positive and a negative trend (Kalat, 1993).
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