Friday, February 13, 2004


I wonder whether Erikson's work can be helpful in listening for key story themes in people of different ages. For example, if I'm talking with a teenager, based on Erikson's developmental tasks, I could listen for stories about identity and role confusion; with a young adult, the tension between intimacy and isolation, and so forth. It helps me to have my ear tuned to patient's ages and possible developmental tasks. One person I'm working with now is 78 years old and has terminal lung cancer. She has decided to stop chemotherapy. Her life is a tapestry of colorful stories. I can hear her doing a life review and stopping and touching the losses she has experienced. This is consistent with Erikson's development task of integrity versus despair in the older adult.

Michael, what do you think of Erikson's stages? Do you find them helpful or limiting, or something else? One person I talked to felt Erikson had a good start but came from a male-focused perspective...I don't know much about other personality theorists, but I thought Erikson might help me have a bit of a framework for understanding the stories I hear. I'd be interested in your thoughts.


Post a Comment

<< Home