Basic theories of education and personality development. Principles of education

Theories of personality development according to Milton Erickson

Milton Erickson is considered one of the most outstanding and talented psychotherapists of the 20th century. He is known throughout the world for his practice of medical hypnosis. He also created the theory of dividing the human life cycle into eight main stages. Some researchers believe that Erikson's gradation is one of the largest contributions to psychoanalysis in the entire history of this branch of psychology.

How did Milton Erickson's theory differ from Freud's? Erikson believed that although character formation begins in childhood, it is not immutable. Over the course of a lifetime, human character can undergo significant metamorphoses, Erickson was convinced.

His concept of the “identity crisis” inherent in adolescence is known far beyond professional psychological circles. Today, especially in the United States, many basic theories of education and development are based on the views of Milton Erickson.

Stages of personality development:

  1. The first lasts from birth to one year. For the child, a question is being resolved that determines his further development: can he trust the world? The outcome of this stage is the formed trust or distrust in the world;
  2. From a year to two. The child determines his level of independence. Favorable completion - the emergence of will;
  3. From 4 to 5 years old, the child is exploring the boundaries of his own capabilities. Here the main result is the developed ability to set a goal and achieve it;
  4. From 6 to 11 years . The child explores his skills. The main points are knowledge of the world and an inferiority complex. Freud calls this phrase “latent”, since in it the son’s love for his mother and jealousy for his father (the opposite happens in girls) are in a latent state. The child's interest is focused on how the world works. A good metaphorical character for this stage is the image of Robinson Crusoe. The little person is increasingly interested in various types of work - children love to cook, build huts, and make crafts from a wide variety of materials.
  5. The next stage lasts from 12 to 18 years , and Milton Erickson calls it adolescence, or youth. At this stage, the relevant questions are: who am I? What are my beliefs and views on the world? The same “crisis of self-identification” is occurring. The positive outcome of this stage is understanding oneself and one’s identity.
  6. The sixth stage is early maturity. Lasts from 20 to 25 years . The young adult answers the question “Can I trust another completely?” The positive result is the building of close relationships.
  7. 26-64 years – age of middle maturity . During this time, a person devotes his life to caring for others. The conflicts of the previous stages have been mostly resolved, and now he can enter the stage of generativity - the realization of his potential.
  8. 64 years and until the end of life - stage of late maturity . It depends entirely on how life was lived. Either a process called “Ego integration” (satisfaction with the life lived) occurs, or the person falls into despair.

Critical moments in the formation of personality according to Erikson

The transition from one stage to another is accompanied by a personal crisis. After all, new paths of development open up before a person. The outcome of the crisis is influenced by the choice of the person himself.

One of the most important stages in Erikson's theory is adolescence, which includes adolescence. In addition to the differences in Freud's views on this age (the emergence of psychosexual conflict), the scientist points out other problems inherent to this age. Teenagers develop their own views on the world.

They idealize what a family or religion should be like. These ideals are very far from imperfect, but really existing families, religions, and social institutions. The teenager is sure that realizing an ideal is no more difficult than dreaming about it.

Erikson believes that the main conflict of early adulthood is the possibility of building close relationships. But the scientist understands by them not only and not so much physical intimacy, although in marriage these factors are connected. By intimacy, the scientist understands the following: a person must learn frankness without fear of losing himself.

At the stage of middle maturity, the individual fluctuates between self-absorption and interest in other people and the destinies of generations. For most adults, children have already become teenagers by this time (at least, this is what Erikson believed at the time). People can devote themselves to their chosen work with complete dedication.

At the last stage, personality development factors from the previous stages play an important role. If a person feels satisfied with the life he has lived, looking back at the years he has lived, he will feel wholeness and peace. If the path traveled seems like a series of mistakes and lost opportunities, he will tragically realize that the lost life cannot be returned.

Basic theories of personality and their classification

Alfred Adler's theory

Adler is a famous Austrian psychologist. He stands on the same level with such founders of psychoanalysis as Jung and Freud. Adler became the author of a direction in knowledge about man, which was called “individual psychology.” In the theory of personality that Adler proposes, the influence of sexual unconscious drives is completely denied.

The scientist was sure that fate is determined not by these faceless forces, but by a sense of community with humanity. Adler’s main goal is the possibility of preserving one’s own individuality, its awareness, and development.

According to Adler, people strive to compensate for feelings of inferiority received in childhood. The chosen lifestyle is a set of pseudo-goals, the achievement of which should lead a person to inner harmony. To compensate for the feeling of inferiority received in childhood, in adulthood goals are set that are proportional to the psychological trauma.

If such childhood trauma was too strong, then unrealistic goals are set. They lead to disharmony and neurosis. It was Alfred Adler who introduced the concept of “inferiority complex.” And, according to the scientist, all children are susceptible to this complex. After all, as a child, a person discovers for the first time that he is not the only one in the whole world. He observes other human beings who satisfy their needs more fully.

Since Adler was openly at odds with Freud, some of the concepts of his theory are in antagonism with Freud’s. These two theories of personality development in psychology cannot be called completely opposite. Adler considered sexual desires to be a manifestation of the thirst for power. The scientist attributed an important role to what kind of child a person was born into the family.

Freud's concept of personality

Another image of personality arose under the influence of the ideas of the Austrian psychiatrist S. Freud, who viewed a person as a system of needs, and society as a system of prohibitions and taboos. The unconscious aspirations of an individual form its potential and the main source of activity, and set the motivation for its actions. Due to the impossibility of satisfying instinctive needs in their natural form due to social normative restrictions, a person is forced to constantly seek a compromise between a deep drive and a socially acceptable form of its implementation.

The personality model created by Freud is a three-level formation: the lower layer (It or Id), represented by unconscious impulses and “ancestral memories”, the middle layer (I or Ego) and the upper layer (Super-I or Super-Ego) - the norms of society , perceived by man. The most rigid, aggressive and militant layers are the id and the super-ego. They “attack” the human psyche from both sides, giving rise to a neurotic type of behavior. This is a model of a personality constantly defending itself from social pressure and in conflict with the social environment. Since, as society develops, the upper layer (Super-Ego) inevitably increases, becomes more massive and heavy, then all human history is considered by Freud as a history of increasing psychosis.

Birth order in the family: life styles according to Adler

Adler was the first to notice that in the same family children can have completely different characters. The firstborn is a child who can only be envied. After all, parents usually give all their love to their first child. But this happens for the time being - until another child appears in the family.

When the second is born, the firstborn becomes “a monarch who was unjustly dethroned.” He begins to fight for the lost love of his parents. But all his efforts are doomed to failure. And over time, he realizes the futility of his attempts. His parents are always too busy and indifferent for him. In addition, they are now endowed with much more power than they once were: after all, they can appeal to the inappropriate immaturity of the older child. Their response to the firstborn's demand for love is punishment.

As a result, those who were born first in the family develop a special lifestyle. They accustom themselves to isolation, not needing affection or anyone's approval. In addition, Adler notes, the eldest is always inclined to lead.

What is the situation with the second child? For him, his older brother or sister is always his role model. The current situation pushes him or her to compete with him or her, trying to beat his records. If there are other children in the family, then the second child also fights with them for parental love. And this only increases his ambitions. The lifestyle of an adult who has grown from a second child is a continuous desire to prove his superiority. Unconsciously, he strives to show: I am better than my older brother or sister.

The last child occupies a special position. He is the one who will never experience the feeling of being “dethroned.” But if the family is poor, then he will constantly have to use the things and toys of his elders. The younger child will also develop feelings of inferiority. But he has one advantage: his motivation to surpass his elders is the highest.

Adler considers the position of the only child in the family unique. Since he has no one to compete with, such children’s rivalry with their father becomes especially strong. The lifestyle of an only child who has become an adult is egocentrism mixed with dependence.

Principles of education

The development of personal qualities begins in early childhood. All existing pedagogical and psychological theories agree on this. Each of them puts forward its own fundamental ideas regarding human upbringing. But if we consider the existing methods not separately, but as a whole, then we can identify the main principles inherent in each of the theories to one degree or another.

The following theses can be considered the fundamental principles of the educational process:

  • a clear understanding of what needs to be “put into” a child’s head, that is, the purpose of the process;
  • correctly determine acceptable and effective ways of conveying information and methods of influence;
  • to correspond to what is being promoted, to be an authority in children’s eyes;
  • understand the consequences of your actions;
  • avoid physical punishment and familiarity;
  • respect and love the child’s personality, guide it, and not suppress it.

The consequences of your actions should be understood as absolutely everything. For example, if a person explains to a child the need to show respect for older people, but does not consider it necessary to listen to his grandparents with attention, although he does not forget to give up his seat in transport to pensioners, then the consequence will be the child’s awareness of the relativity of dogmas. The child will learn that in certain situations it is quite possible to neglect moral standards.

Another example of consequences could be interrupting activities with your baby to answer the phone. The child will learn that communication through a gadget is more important than direct contact. This type of behavior can be seen almost everywhere these days.

When raising a child’s personality and its development, it is not so important which of the basic theories the teacher or parent will adhere to. It is much more important not to forget about following the main pedagogical principles of the educational process. If they are not taken into account, then not a single educational method or theory will bring the desired result, no matter what it is.

For example, if you want to raise a child in accordance with the ideas of free development, which were first formulated by Rousseau, you must not forget that you yourself will have to comply with them. You can’t tell your children one thing and do something else every day. This will lead to the development of duplicity and hypocrisy. For example, when developing a child’s personality in accordance with the theory of free upbringing, one should not force the child to learn the alphabet at the age of three or go to ballet school at the age of five, unless the child himself wants to do so.

Activity approach: A. N. Leontiev

In the West, many theories of personality development had already taken shape by the beginning of the twentieth century. The situation with domestic psychology was different. For a long time - until the beginning of the 60s - this issue was not even discussed on the territory of the Soviet Union.

One of the original Russian theories of personality formation is rightfully considered to be the calculations made by the outstanding psychologist A.N. Leontyev. The complex of its concepts is not considered by modern scientists as claiming to be an independent theory of personality development in psychology. But Leontyev managed to build a coherent conceptual framework, which later became the basis for the work of his followers.

He believed that personality is a connection between certain types of activities:

  • His first thesis is that a person develops in the process of biography. The scientist believes that personality is not a biological, not social, or determined by other factors mental formation that distinguishes a person from an animal. Personality is the specific actions that fill the lines of a biography.
  • Leontiev’s next position concerns personality development. He argued that it occurs regardless of physiological and mental growth.
  • Thirdly, the domestic researcher strictly separated the concept of the individual and personality. An individual is a biological being. Personality is a unity of non-biological nature that is constantly developing. Factors of personality development according to Leontiev are human activity, as well as his ability to connect internal and external conditions.

In the last years of his life, A. N. Leontiev was especially interested in the ideas of the relationship between existential psychology and the place of personality in numerous interhuman connections. One of the most laconic theses of Western existentialism is the formulation of J. P. Sartre: “Existence precedes essence.” An analogue of the existential theory of personality development in Russian psychology is Leontiev’s approach. It says that all mental and personal structures exist in order to be realized in relations with the world - the personality manifests itself through activity.


There are many more views on the processes of human development. Other theories of personality development are behaviorism, the existential direction, humanistic theories, and the already mentioned psychoanalysis. Each of these concepts occupies a special place in psychological knowledge.

When thinking about our own development, we do not demand precision and mathematical rigor from psychological theories. After all, life is like the bed of a river, and personality cannot be described using a single formula, just as it is impossible to give an exact definition to each wave in this river.

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