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The Father of

Photocopyright Jill Krementz

On June 15, 1902, Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany. He facedhis own identity crisis at an early age. He was an artist and a teacher in the late 1920's when he met Anna Freud, anAustrian psychoanalyst. With Anna's encouragement he began to study childpsychanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. He immigrated to theUnited States in 1933. He taught at Yale University and Harvard University.

It was at this point in his life that he became interested in the influenceof society and culture on child development. To satisfy his curiosity, hestudied groups of American Indian children to help formulate his theories.Studying these children enabled him to correlate personality growth withparental and societal values.

His first book was published in 1950 titledChildhood and Society. Thisbook became a classic in the field of psychoanalysis. As his clinical workwith children continued he developed the "identity crisis" concept.The identity crisis is an inevitable conflict that accompanies the growth of asense of identity, His eight stages of psychosocial development are what he ismost famous for. Other books written by Erikson include:Young Man Luther (1958),Insight and Responsibility(1964)and Identity: Youth and Crisis(1968).

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