The Life Cycle Completed

The Life Cycle Completed

The Life Cycle Completed

The Life Cycle Completed


For decades Erik H. Erikson's concept of the stages of human development has deeply influenced the field of contemporary psychology. Incorporating new material by Joan M. Erickson, THE LIFE CYCLE COMPLETED eloquently closes the circle of Erik Erikson's theories, outlining the unique rewards and challenges--for both individuals and society--of very old age.


This extended version of The Life Cycle Completed goes beyond the earlier edition in setting forth the elements of a ninth stage of the life cycle, a stage not anticipated in the original Eriksonian approach to psychosocial development. The discussion of this new material calls for some autobiographical commentary focusing on the eighth stage, which was the final stage in the original edition of The Life Cycle Completed.

Before embarking on a statement about the eighth stage of the life cycle as Erik and I have understood and presented it, I would like to share with you the story of its "promotion" to stage eight.

In the late 1940s we, then living in California, received an invitation to present a paper on the developmental stages of life at the Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth. The paper we were to contribute for the conference was "Growth and Crises of the Healthy Personality."

We went to work with great enthusiasm. Erik had been involved in the practice of child analysis for a number of years and was in California because of his work with the Long-range Research Project on Children at the University of California at Berkeley. I was involved in raising three small children and running a household. We . . .

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