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(1902-06-15)15 June 1902
Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
|Deceased||12 May 1994(1994-05-12)
Harwich, Massachusetts, US
|Wife/Husband||Joan Serson Erikson (m. 1930)|
|Notable students||Richard Sennett|
|Notable ideas||Theory on psychosocial development|
Erik Homburger Erikson or Erik Erikson (June 15, 1902 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany – May 12, 1994 in Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, United States) Unidos), was an American psychoanalyst of German origin, noted for his contributions in developmental psychology.
Erik Erikson’s Biography
Its origin is surrounded by a certain mystery. His biological father was an unknown Dane who abandoned his wife just as Erik was born. His mother, Karla Abrahamsen, a young Danish woman of Jewish origin, raised her son alone for the first three years of her life. Then he married Dr. Theodor Homberger, who was the child’s pediatrician and together they moved to Karlsruhe, southern Germany.
After finishing high school, Erik decided to become an artist. Whendid not attend art classes,wandered around Europe, visiting museums and sleeping under bridges. He lived a rebellious life neglected for a long time, just before seriously considering what to do with his life.
When he turned 25, a friend of his, Peter Blos (artist and later psychoanalyst), suggested that he present himself for a teaching position at an experimental school for American students directed by Dorothy Burlingham, a friend of Anna Freud. . In addition to teaching art, he obtained a certificate in Montessori education and another from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. It was psychoanalyzed by Anna Freud herself. While there, he met a theater dance teacher at the school mentioned. They had three children, one of whom would later be a sociologist.
When the Nazis seized power, they left Vienna and went first to Copenhagen and then to Boston. Erikson accepted a job at Harvard Medical School and practiced psychoanalysis of children in his private practice. At that time he managed to rub shoulders with psychologists such as Henry Murray and Kurt Lewin, as well as anthropologists Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. These authors exerted great influence on the work of Erikson.
Later he taught at Yale and then at the University of California at Berkeley. It was during this period that Erik Erikson studied the Lakota Indians and the Yurok. When he obtained his American citizenship, he officially adopted the name of Erik Erikson; nobody knows why he chose this name.
In 1950 he wrote “Childhood and Society”, a book containing articles from his studies of American tribes, analysis by Maxim Gorky and Adolf Hitler, as well as a discussion of the “American personality and the plot bases. of his version of Freudian theory. These themes (the influence of culture on personality and the analysis of historical figures) were repeated in other works, one of which, La verdad de Gandhi, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Prize.
During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s reign of terror in 1950, Erikson leaves Berkeley when teachers are asked to sign a “pledge of loyalty.” From this moment on, Erik spends 10 years working and teaching at a Massachusetts clinic and then another 10 years back at Harvard. As of his retirement in 1970, he does not stop writing and researching for the rest of his life. He died in 1994.
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