Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Erikson, Erik

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_208

Erik Erikson (1902–1994) was a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst whose theory presaged Ego Psychology and Interpersonal theories of psychology as well. Erikson emphasized the interaction between the individual and society, placing great importance on the positive influence that religious and cultural values exert on individual development. Religion and its associated rituals provide a pattern, goal, and ideal for the individual life cycle. In his view, a religious life is part of the successful, healthy development of the individual and begins during the stage of basic trust, when faith has its start. Erikson writes, in Young Man Luther, “One basic task of all religions is to reaffirm that first relationship” (1958, pp. 118–119).

His early life was difficult. He was born out of wedlock and raised by his mother as a single parent until she married his pediatrician Dr. Theodore Homburger. It is believed that Erikson’s real father was a Gentile, but Dr. Homburger and Erik’s...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Expressive AnalysisNew YorkUSA