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Erik Homberger Erikson was born in 1902 near Frankfort Germany to Danish parents Erik studied art and a variety of languages during his school years rather than science courses such as biology and chemistry He did not prefer the atmosphere that formal schooling produced so instead of going to college he traveled around Europe keeping a diary of his experiences After a year of doing this he returned to Germany and enrolled in art school After several years Erikson began to teach art and other subjects to children of Americans who had come to Vienna for Freudian training He was then admitted into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute In 1933 he came to the US and became Bostons first child analyst and obtained a position at the Harvard Medical School Later on he also held positions at institutions including Yale Berkeley and the Menninger Foundation Erikson then returned to California to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto and later the Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco where he was a clinician and psychiatric consultant Eriksons interests were spread over a wide area He studied combat crises in troubled American soldiers in World War II child-rearing practices among the Sioux in South Dakota and the Yurok along the Pacific Coast the play of disturbed and normal children the conversations of troubled adolescents suffering identity crises and social behavior in India Erikson was also constantly concerned with the rapid social changes in America and wrote about issues such as the generation gap racial tensions juvenile delinquency changing sexual roles and the dangers of nuclear war Developmental Theory Erikson recognized the basic notions of Freudian theory but believed that Freud misjudged some important dimensions of human development Erikson said that humans develop throughout their life span while Freud said that our personality is shaped by the age of five Erikson developed eight psychosocial stages that humans encounter throughout
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