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A Brief Summary

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Classics Revisited: Erik Erikson's Childhood and Society

Ellen R. Peyser

John Munder Ross opened the panel, saying that the aim of Classics Revisited panels is to reflect on the impact of a particular psychoanalytic work on the thinking and clinical work of practicing psychoanalysts over the course of their academic and professional lives. He had asked the panelists what Erik Homberger Erikson's Childhood and Society and “The Dream Specimen in Psychoanalysis” (to be discussed by a separate panel later in the day) first meant to them, how these works had influenced their clinical technique and theorizing over the years, and what significance these works had for them today. In answering these questions himself, Ross said that Erik Erikson, who had been his teacher, had very simply been the most important influence in his intellectual life. He thought that since Erikson had died earlier in the year (1994), it was a fitting time to honor him and to reevaluate his contribution to psychoanalysis.

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Time Flies When Your Making Great Theories!
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Time Line of Erikson's Life


1902 Born in Frankfort, Germany
1920(approximately) Started wandering about Europe, keeping a diary of his experiences
1933 Came to the U.S. and became Boston's first child analyst. Obtained position at Harvard Medical School
1950 Published Childhood and Society
1958 Published Young man Luther
1963 Published Youth: Change and Challenge
1964 Published Insight and Responsibility
1968 Published Identity: Youth and Crisis


At a Glance

Date of Birth:  June 15, 1902
Education:  High school, and some College (Temple School)
Religion:  Cool Jewish
Lady of Love:  Joan Serson
Number of Children: 3
Inpirational Idol:  Sigmund Freud/ Anna Freud
Greatest Contribution:  8 Stages of Development Theory
Astrological Sign:  Gemini

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