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Hinduism is a body of religious Essay

Erik Erikson had numerous contributions to the field of psychology; many of which involved his developmental theory. Erikson has been compared to Sigmund Freud; as both men believed that humans develop in stages. Erikson however, believed Freud to be misguided, as Erikson believed that developmental process is one which occurs throughout one’s lifespan; whereas Freud believed that a human’s personality developed by the age of five (Chen, 2007). Erikson published numerous books on human development; as well as issues including the generation gap, changing sexual roles and racial tensions.

This quantitative research paper however, discusses Erikson’s eight stages of development and how each stage correlates with symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Each of Erikson’s eight developmental stages consists of certain elements (crises), which if not resolved will result in negative outcomes. The researcher believes that when crises are not resolved within Erikson’s developmental stages, it predisposes individuals to borderline personality disorder.

In order to prove this hypothesis, the researcher will conduct quantitative research on the causes and symptoms of borderline personality disorder and the negative outcomes of Erikson’s eight developmental stages; the phenomenological research will then be compared. Borderline personality disorder has been widely studied over the past several decades; however, there is limited research on what childhood (birth to age eighteen) attributes contribute to the onset of BPD. Approximately two percent (up to ten million) of adults in the U.

S. are diagnosed with BPD; accounting for twenty percent of psychiatric hospitalizations (NIMH, 2008); many cases of BPD go undiagnosed. Genetic factors have been primarily studied in the past as the biological cause of BPD; however recent research shows that forty to seventy-one percent of BPD patients were sexually abused as children (NIMH, 2008), approximately seventy-three percent report physical abuse and emotional abuse and neglect are also commonly reported in BPD cases.

These statistics indicate that there is reason to believe that childhood trauma could significantly predispose a person to BPD. While research as to the possible causes of BPD has been conducted, the researcher proposes that a quantitative study be conducted in order to collect phenomenological data from various studies, for comparison to Erikson’s eight stages of development. The reason for this strategy is that by comparing the results of numerous studies, the researcher can produce “the bigger picture”, of what predisposes individuals to BPD; thus increasing the probability of successful recovery.

The researcher chose Erikson’s eight developmental stages as model for comparison because the eight crises depicted in this model demonstrate the traumas indicated in many BPD cases. When the eight crises are not resolved, the results correlate with BPD symptoms. The researcher aims to prove that individuals who do not resolve the eight negative crises of Erikson’s developmental model; thus suffering some form of childhood trauma, are predisposed to BPD as adults. As mentioned previously, the information proving this hypothesis can be used to improve treatment options for BDP patients.

The researcher for this study would like to see a reduction in hospitalization as a treatment for BPD patients; and instead implement alternative methods, such as assisting patients through Erikson’s eight stages. Assisting patients through the eight stages will allow them to re-learn emotional skills and abilities; such as coping skills. The researcher’s professional background in BPD clinical work has allowed significant insight into the difficulties of BPD treatment.

Due to the immense amount of physical and emotional energy needed to work with BPD patients; many professionals tend to provide affirmation of the history of failure and poor coping skills by treating the patient with sympathy instead of empathy. The researcher believes that understanding the reasoning behind BPD patient behavior will improve the patient’s ability to improve poor coping skills. This change in professional behavior will reduce the feelings of being burnt out and tired because the professional will be able to support the success of the patient instead of doing the work for them.

Currently, there is an attitudinal barrier between the professional and the patient which results in a failure to understand the condition of BPD. The researcher hopes to promote an understanding of BPD patient behavior; behaviors which many clinical professionals find exasperating. In increasing understanding of the development of BPD behaviors, clinicians will be better equipped to work with patients in an inclusive partnership rather than feeling they are exceeding appropriate boundaries. Literature Review

Erikson’s Eights Stages of Development The “Eight Stages of Development”, the process of socialization, were developed by Erik Erikson in 1956 (Child Institute Center, n. d. ). Erikson had extensive experience in psychotherapy; including children and teens of all social classes. Erikson believed that each stage presented a “psychosocial crisis” in which an individual must experience, learn and resolve in order to successfully manage the next step. Erikson’s eight stages are represented in Figure 1.

The eight stages are based on the “interaction of three different systems: the Somatic system, the ego system, and the societal system” (Keenan, p. 22, 2002). The somatic system refers to the biological processes of human functioning. The ego system are the central thinking and reasoning processes (2002); and the societal system is the process an individual goes through as he becomes integrated into his society. Erikson believed that the eight stages occurred in order and each stage represented a crisis which had to be resolved by the individual.

Whether the crisis was completed successfully or not would be the deciding factor on how successful the next stage would be. If the crisis was not mastered, then the individual would be ill prepared to deal with the next stage of development; this trend would continue throughout all the stages. Erikson did believe that the eight stages were relevant throughout life and that he linked a crisis to each stage because that is when the crisis was most salient (Cohen, 2007). Oral-Sensory Stage.

In this first stage (trust/mistrust), the first year of life is defined as the time for building trust; this is accomplished by the infant learning trust through the parent or caregiver’s actions and responses to the infant’s needs. Feeding is the focal point of Erikson’s first stage; when the child cries for food, the parent will feed and comfort the infant. If the child is neglected, he will learn to be mistrustful. Erikson also believed if trust was not established in the first stage, the child could become “frustrated, withdrawn, suspicious, and will lack self-confidence” (Sharkey, 1997).

Muscular-Anal Stage. The second stage (autonomy/doubt) consists of ages one through two years old. During this stage the child is face with the development of self-control which is accomplished by a supportive atmosphere. If basic trust was not developed in stage one, the child will have difficulty in establishing self control in stage two, resulting in a lack of self-esteem (Sharkey, 1997). If the parent is too controlling, or does not provide enough structure the child can become doubtful of himself and the environment around him.


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