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13 - Gandhi Is Gandhi: Luther Is Luther

How Did Erik the Vagabond Become Erikson the Guru?

from Part II - From Sea to Shining Sea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2020

Keh-Ming Lin
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Keh-Ming Lin
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

Famous for concepts such as “identity crisis” and the eight life-stage psychosocial development model, Erik Erikson was born to a Jewish mother and a father whose identity was never revealed. He became a drifter and wandered the countryside for seven years before training and analysis by Anna Freud. Moving to the USA to escape Nazi persecution, he became the first child psychoanalyst in the Americas, and one of the key players of the “neo-Freudian” movement. Drawing on his own struggles with identity confusion while growing up and adjusting to American life, he wrote a series of books detailing the importance of identity in personality development and successful adjustment in life. He also coined the term “moratorium” to emphasize the need for time for adolescents and young adults to search for their own directions. His tomes on Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi have been bestsellers and are still regarded as classics. These books eloquently illustrate the role “identity crisis” played in shaping the lives and acts of prominent historical figures who profoundly changed the course of human history.

Type
Chapter
Information
Wounded Healers
Tribulations and Triumphs of Pioneering Psychotherapists
, pp. 171 - 191
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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