Spring 2011 Gold

The relationship between psycho-social stage resolutions and self-reported dynamics in the clinical supervision of counseling practicum students

Joshua M. Gold
University of South Carolina

Author Note:

Joshua M. Gold is an Associate Professor in the Counselor Education Program at the University of South Carolina. Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Joshua M. Gold, 253 Wardlaw Hall, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

E-mail: josgold@mailbox.sc.edu


As a component of the “personalization” issues of counselors-in-training, the issue of previous life experience is seen to affect clinical training and supervision. This study investigated how counseling students’ differing resolutions of the stages of Erikson’s developmental psycho-social model were related to their perceptions of the dynamics of supervision received during practicum. Eighty-seven practicum counseling students completed the Measures of Psychosocial Development and the Working Alliance Inventory. The analysis revealed statistically significant (p<.01) results in terms of understanding the quality of the supervisory relationship based on students’ stage resolutions. These findings offer implications for clinical training and supervision.

Keywords: Clinical training, Personalization issues, Self-of-the-counselor

The relationship between psycho-social stage resolutions and self-reported dynamics in the clinical supervision of counseling practicum students

The study of clinical supervision has evolved consistent with the advancement in training models of clinical service. The two practices are intricately tied, as supervision is not only a mandatory part of graduate clinical training programs but of post-degree licensure requirements. While some models of supervision are based on models of psycho-therapy, other models, such as the Discrimination Model, were developed specifically for supervision.

This study is founded in the “personalization” dimension of the Discrimination Model of clinical supervision (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009). The authors of this model posited that effective clinical service is a function of the coherence of three domains: a) conceptualization (how clinicians theoretically view the client’s issue); b) intervention (how clinicians utilize therapeutic techniques) and, c) personalization (how personal issues facilitate or retard therapeutic process). It is the responsibility of a clinical supervisor working from the perspectives of the Discrimination Model to help counseling students explores each of the three domains to develop personal awareness and growth. Weakness in any one area may negatively impact the efficacy of clinical treatment delivery and therefore becomes a potential topic under the auspices of clinical supervision (Studern, 2006). This study will focus of the dynamics within the personalization aspect of the model, as that focus is concerned with helping counselors to provide clinical services “uncontaminated by personal issues and counter-transference responses” (Bernard & Goodyear, p. 102).

The process of clinical supervision works in an isomorphic manner with the delivery of clinical services. Issues that arise between clinical supervisor and supervisee (in this case counseling practicum students) are hypothesized to mirror the dynamics of similar issues between the counseling practicum student and his/her clients. Bernard and Goodyear (2009) claimed that supervisees “present themselves to supervisors as clients have presented to them” (p. 150).  Just as the effective therapeutic relationship has been found to be predictive of clinical efficacy, the quality of the supervision relationship is a key predictor of the clinical development of the student (Frawley-O’Dea, 2003; Henderson, Cawyer & Watkins, Jr., 1999; Lichtenberg & Goodyear, 2001; Muse-Burke, Ladany & Deck, 2001; Nelson & Friedlander, 2001; Nelson, Gray, Friedlander, Ladany, & Walker, 2001). Clinical supervision is intended as the venue for the identification of relational issues and their resolution, preventing issues of counter-transference and projection in the student’s counseling interactions with clients (Bordin, 1983; Korinek & Kimball, 2003; Pearson, 2000; Skovholt & Jennings, 2004; Veach, 2001; Yourman, 2003).

     In 2003, Quarto wrote that “relational conflict in supervision has not been given much consideration in the research literature despite the fact it occurs with some degree of frequency” (p.24). Previous studies had discovered that clinical supervision has the potential to overlook the encouragement of trainees’ personal and professional autonomy (Ellis, 2001; Gray, Ladany, Walker & Ancis, 2001; Pearson, 2000) and to overlook the intentional modeling of a healthy therapeutic relationship through supervision (Nelson & Friedlander, 2001; Ramos-Sanchez et al., 2002; Veach, 2001; Walsh, Gillespie, Greer & Eanes, 2003). It can also be asserted that the supervisory relationship serves as a template for supervisees to learn and/or experience how to directly address those similar supervisee-client issues that seem to be interfering with progress in counseling (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009). The research offers justification for the continued study of the process of supervision as an intentional intervention directed toward promoting students’ professional and personal development and modeling healthy therapeutic relationships for the clinical trainee (Smith, Robinson & Young, 2007; White & Queener, 2003).

The relational dynamics in supervision might seem to parallel the tasks described within Erikson’s (1974) model of psycho-social development. Erikson explained eight stages through which a person confronts, and hopefully masters, new interpersonal challenges as a function of social learning and interaction. Each stage builds on the successful completion of earlier stages. The individual’s resolution of each issue then provides a schema for future interactions and may influence the resolution of the following stage in either a more positive or negative direction. Moreover, the challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as relational problems, both in one’s personal life and, by extension, in counseling service and in supervision in the future. This assertion suggests that identifying  personal issues and counter-transference responses are worthy of attention in supervision (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009), and  the study of the link between personal resolution of Erikson’s stages and dynamics in supervision may prove enlightening to the understanding of both counseling and supervisory relationships. Previous attention to the potential application of Erikson’s model to clinical supervision was only briefly mentioned by Studern (2006). Therefore, this study marks the initial empirical study of the possible relationship between stage resolution and the dynamics of the supervisory relationship.

A synopsis of Erikson’s eight stages, as applicable to this study, and integrating the tenets put forth by Studern (2006), is provided:

Trust vs. Mistrust: This stage revolves around the provision of warmth, regularity, and dependable affection by an authority figure, culminating in a sense of trust. Failure to provide a secure environment and to meet one’s basic needs fosters a sense of mistrust. In supervision, this dynamic is an essential condition for supervisee disclosure and for supervisee willingness to explore self in the counseling process.

Autonomy vs. Shame and DoubtThe authority figure still provides a strong base of security from which the trainee can venture out to assert his/her will. Patience and encouragement helps foster autonomy, while highly restrictive practices are more likely to instill doubt and reluctance to attempt new challenges. If the supervisee is to experiment with new ways of being with clients, including new interventions, there must be a perception of supervisor endorsement.

Initiative vs. Guilt: Initiative adds to autonomy the quality of undertaking, planning, and attacking a task for the sake of being active and on the move. At this stage actions are begun and completed for a purpose. Guilt results when the initiative does not produce the desired results. Through supervision, in which the supervisee is urged to take greater responsibility for clinical direction and success, the encouragement of initiative is vital.

Industry vs. Inferiority: To bring a productive situation to completion is an important aim. Success breeds self-confidence and more risk-taking, while failure diminishes those qualities. Through supervision, trainees learn not only what works for them with their clients but also how to analyze their mistakes and limitations and to grow from those experiences. The ability to do so portends a competent, self-reflective clinician; while the failure to do so may result in feelings of inadequacy as a professional and question one’s suitability.

Identity vs. Role Confusion: The trainee seeks to develop a congruent identity as a professional counselor, clear about one’s knowledge, skills and attitudes and building in confidence and competence in all three domains. Supervision may be seen as the environment removed from the immediacy of the counseling session where the student can assess personal congruence or identify those areas of ongoing confusion.

 Intimacy vs. Isolation: There is a need to want to fit in. There is a fear of rejections, be they from peers, supervisors or clients. Rejection is painful; the egos cannot bear the pain. In supervision, as in counseling, trainees are hopeful for the acceptance by the supervisor and the client. What is perceived as undue criticism by the supervisor, or repeated experiences of “resistant’ clients may challenge the student’s ability to “fit in” to the profession.

Generativity vs. Stagnation: Generativity is the concern of establishing and guiding the next generation. Socially-valued work is an expression of generativity. This task in supervision deals with repeated successes on the part of the trainees toward an established professional identity. Students feel increased contribution to the profession in which they aspire to affiliate.

Integrity vs. Despair: Integrity is a function of the congruence of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcome. Integrity may be seen as manifesting an honesty in regard to the motivations for one's actions. Integrity through supervision implies an ongoing evolution from the student “doing counseling” to “being a counselor.”

Understanding how unresolved counselor-trainee issues may impact the supervisory relationship may direct clinical supervisors on how to be of best help to their supervisees (White & Queener, 2003), both in supervision and in their counseling sessions. This study is based on the hypothesis predicting that students’ degree of positive resolution of the stages of Erikson’s model of psycho-social development will be positively related to their positive outcomes in the dynamics of the supervisory relationship.



The sample consisted of eighty-seven (87) practicum students from four Counselor Education programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling-Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the southeast region of the country. These four programs were invited to participate due to large numbers of practicum students and, according to the CACREP standards, each student was receiving individual supervision from a faculty member at the time of data collection. Fifty students (57.5%) were women, and 37 students (42.5%) were male. Fifty-one students (58.6%) reported ages between 20 and 29; 19 students (21.8%) between 30 and 39, 7 students (8.0%) between 40 and 49 and 8 students (9.2%) aged 50+. Two students did not report an age category. Of the sample, 66 students (75.9%) reported “Caucasian” as their ethnicity, 20 students (23.0%) reported “African-American”, and 1 student (1.1%) reported “Other.” This sample consisted of 42 Community Counseling students (48.3%), 19 Family Counseling students (21.8%), 15 School Counseling students (17.2%) and 11 students (12.6%) who indicated their degree focus as “Other.”


The study was conducted through an on-line survey so that students could respond directly to the researcher. Students were contacted through faculty at the CACREP-accredited masters programs across the southeastern region. Each faculty member teaching a practicum was provided with a letter of introduction to invite students to visit the on-line site; review the letter of consent; and, if desired, proceed to the three instruments for the study. Accessing the survey instruments was seen as granting consent to participate in the study. Students then sent their responses directly to the researcher. By using this procedure, the privacy and confidentiality of the student responses was assured, with the faculty at the four programs offered the outcomes of the study with the data presented in aggregate form only.


     The Working Alliance Inventory-Trainee (WAI-T; Bahrick, 1990).

This 36-item self-report inventory was used to gather students’ perceptions of the supervisory relationship. Adopted from the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI; Horvath & Greenberg, 1989), and incorporating Bordin’s (1983) conceptualization of the supervisory working alliance, this inventory assesses trainees’ experiences of goal agreement, task agreement, and emotional bonding in supervision. The “Goals Agreement” subscale measures the extent to which supervisor and supervisee agree on the “goals (outcomes) that are the target of the intervention” (p.224). The “Tasks Agreement” subscale measures the extent to which the supervisor and supervisee agree on the “in-session behaviors and cognitions that form the substance of the supervisory process” (p. 224). The “Emotional Bonding” subscale measures the extent to which the supervisor and supervisee possess “mutual trust, acceptance, and confidence” (p. 224). A sample statement for the goal agreement scale is “”the supervisor accurately perceives what my goals are”; for the task agreement scale, “what I am doing in supervision gives me a new way of looking at myself as a counselor”; and for the emotional bonding scale, “I believe my supervisor likes me.”

     Each scale is comprised of 12 items rated on a 7-point Likert scale from 1 (never) to 7 (always). Scale scores range from 12-84 and a total score can be calculated by summing the three scale scores. Previous studies utilizing the WAI-T have established significant negative relationships between subscales scores and role conflict and ambiguity among supervisees (Ladany & Friedlander, 1995) and a significant positive relationship between subscale scores and supervisee satisfaction (Ladany, Ellis & Friedlander, 1999).  Ladany et al (1999) provided internal consistency estimates for each scale that exceed .92.

Measures of Psychosocial Development (MPD; Hawley, 1988)

     This 112-item self-report inventory was utilized to measure the direction and strength of resolution of each stage of Erikson’s 8-stage developmental model. Items are scored on a 5-point Likert scale (“very much like me” to “not at all like me”). Scores are totaled to provide “positive”, “negative” and resolution scores (e.g.: R1 is the strength of positive resolution on the first stage of trust vs. mistrust). Hawley reports test-re-test reliability figures all in excess of .80 and measures of internal consistency through use of the Cronbach’s alpha of .65 to .84. The concurrent and discriminative validities were confirmed through comparison to scores on the MPD, the Inventory of Psychosocial Development and the Self-Description Questionnaire. The MPD was normed on a national sample that considered ethnicity and education, making this assessment tool suitable for this study. In addition, separate norms were devised based on gender of respondent. See Appendix A for definitions of the MPD scales. In addition, a demographic survey form solicited data about gender, ethnicity, age and program focus from the respondents.


The initial analyses sought to establish the homogeneity of the sample in terms of the possible main or interaction effects for gender, age, and ethnicity on any of the three WAI-T subscale scores. This analysis was conducted through use of between-subjects Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). The results of the MANOVA directed the number of separate correlational analyses used to identify significant relationships between MPD scores and scores on the WAI-T task, bond, and goal subscale.


The MANOVA was conducted to confirm the homogeneity of the sample (see Table 1). This analysis found no significant main effect for respondent age or ethnicity on any of the three WAI-T subscale scores; however, significant main effects (p<.05) were found for gender on all three WAI-T subscale scores. Based on the results of the MANOVA, two separate relational analyses were conducted by gender of respondents.

The hypothesis predicted that students’ degree of resolution of the age-appropriate stages of Erikson’s model of psycho-social development will be positively related to the self-reported dynamics of the supervisory relationship of goal agreement, task agreement and emotional bonding.  The results of these analyses are presented separately; of female respondents in Table 2 and of male respondents in Table 3. The review of the demographic factors indicated that the majority of the respondents were 50 years old or younger. However, the age spans for the final two stages of Erikson’s model (Generativity/Stagnation and Integrity/Despair) begin at the age of 50, so it was decided that there was insufficient sample representation in the age range of 50+ to conduct correlational analyses of these scale resolution scores with the WAI-T subscale scores. Therefore the correlational analysis utilized only the first five MPD subscale score responses.


     The study’s hypothesis predicted that students’ degree of resolution of the age-appropriate stages of Erikson’s model of psycho-social development will be positively related to their successes in the dynamics of the supervisory relationship. The discussion of these results must originate in a brief review of the strengths and limitations of correlational research. Seen as the first step toward experimental design, correlational design hypothesizes the strength of prediction and explanation between two random variables. This design focuses not on causation but rather on how change in one variable generates a concomitant change in a second variable. What is established through this type of analysis is influence, described as the proportion of variance in one variable explained by knowledge of the second variable; in this case, the differences in perceptions of supervision experiences explained by differences in psycho-social development. Given a rule of thumb, that correlations of 0-.30 can be categorized as weak, .30-.70 as moderate, and .70-1.00 as strong, the majority of these results for female respondents fall into the weak to moderate categories and for male respondents into the moderate to strong categories. Given these categories, only relationships significant at the .01 level will be discussed.

An analysis of the data reported by female respondents partially supports the hypothesis of significant relationships between WAI-T and MPD subscale scores. In terms of the WAI-T task scale (defined as a responsiveness to the focus or needs of the other (Cecero et al., 2001), significant relationships were found between respondents’ positive resolution scores on the autonomy, industry, identity, and intimacy subscales. In terms of the WAI-T bond scale (defined as mutual liking and attachment (Cecero et al.), significant relationships were found with respondents’ positive resolution scores on the industry subscale. In terms of the WAI-T goal subscale (defined as goals being mutual, important and capable of being accomplished (Cecero et al., 2001) significant relationships were found with respondents’ positive resolution scores on the industry subscale score. Looking across WAI-T subscales, it is of interest that issues of industry remain constant predictors.

An analysis of the data reported by male respondents fully supports the hypothesis of significant relationships between WAI-T and MPD subscale scores. In terms of the WAI-T task subscale, significant relationships were found with the respondents’ positive resolution scores on the trust, initiative, industry, identity, and intimacy subscales. In terms of the WAI-T bond subscale, significant relationships were found with the respondents’ positive resolution scores on all five age-relevant MPD scales. In terms of the WAI-T goal subscale, significant relationships were found with the respondents’ positive resolution scores on the trust, initiative, industry, identity, and intimacy subscales. These results for the male sample are noteworthy given the impact of sample size on the identification of significant relationships. The smaller sample size, as compared to the female respondents, required even larger correlations to be judged as significant at p<.01, and yet, the results consistently provided such verification of importance.


These results offer directive implications for the provision of effective supervision with the emphasis on supervisees’ personal issues. Ellis (2001) distinguished between harmful supervision and supervision in which supervisees are confronted with issues that may be painful to face yet are necessary for personal and clinical growth.  The supervisor can utilize the data from the current study to explore those dynamics which may be hampering the three areas of task agreement, goal setting and emotional bonding in supervision as a function of the supervisee’s personal resolution of the relevant stages. It is suggested that these processes would correspond to a client and counselor coming to agreement on the “doing” of counseling; on the direction and intent of counseling; and on the quality of the relationship dynamics between client and counselor. For example, should bonding issues arise in supervision and in the provision of counseling with a female trainee, attention to the trainee’s resolution of the stages of industry may be of value for the trainee to gain personal insight into how her non-clinical issues are impacting her supervisory and clinical experiences. Utilizing the MPD constructs and beginning with industry issues, the supervisor might direct trainee attention to assuming a more active role in her learning, to acknowledge accomplishment while bearing in mind ongoing learning, and role of attempting or experimenting in gaining new competencies in counseling. As second example with a male trainee, difficulty with task issues may justify exploration of trust, initiative, industry, identity, and intimacy. Utilizing the MPD constructs and beginning with trust issues, the supervisor might explore with the trainee his trust in self and others; his beliefs that the supervisor does have his best interests in mind; and his receptivity to new ideas.

These findings echo the results from previous studies (Ellis, 2001; Gray, Ladany, Walker & Ancis, 2001; Pearson, 2000; Yourman, 2003) that had concentrated on only one set of psycho-social concerns. This study expanded this perception by measuring and assessing multiple levels of psycho-social tasks. In addition, Ramos-Sanchez et al. (2002) concluded that “lower levels of supervisee development were found to be associated with weaker supervisory alliance…” (p. 201); a finding supported by Smith, Robinson and Young (2007), and by the results of this research. Similarly, results from this study support the assertions by Muse-Burke, Ladany and Deck (2001) regarding the negative effects of supervisees’ fears regarding lack of competence and role conflict on the process of supervision. Such dynamics appeared in Hawley’s (1988) definitions of the negative resolution stage aspect dealing specifically with autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, and industry vs. inferiority.

These results also offer parallel insights into new counselor’s clinical challenges. Generically, in counseling service, the creation of a healthy therapeutic relationship, agreement on the goals of counseling and some mutual understanding of how counseling service will be provided create the basis for attention to the particular presenting client issue and for therapeutic progress. A lack of achievement or consensus in any of the three areas may impede therapeutic progress. Echoing the messages of Bordin (1983), Korinek & Kimball (2003), Pearson, (2000), and Veach (2001), any stage tasks that counselors personally resolve in a “negative” direction (Hawley, 1988) may be projected onto the client. This personal growth area may define a clinical limit beyond which a counselor may encounter difficulty in directing the client. For example, Hawley (1988) listed “disparity between one’s evaluation of a real and an ideal self, uncertainty regarding basic personal values, a sense of being a mystery to self and feelings of being empty or lost”  (p. 10) as characteristics of negative resolution of  stage 5 (identity vs. identity confusion). The extent to which a counselor-trainee has yet to resolve these personal and professional struggles may detract from his/her ability to help clients resolve similar issues regarding self-definition and acceptance. Gray et al. (2001) offered input from supervisees asserting to the similarity of their experiences in supervision and their in-session behaviors, suggesting that if supervisors do not assist counselors-in-training to recognize personal growth issues, those counselors will not assist their clients in similar ways. In summary, the results of this study offer implications for the direction of supervision to directly address unresolved personal issues on the part of the trainee both as these dynamics directly impact clinical supervision and indirectly influence the delivery of clinical service by the trainee.


This current study is characterized by four limitations. First, the lack of heterogeneity of this sample does raise the questions about the effect that ethnicity and/or age may have on both WAI-T and MPD subscale scores.  The issue of age is germane to consider as Erikson’s stage model is age-related. Second, given that this research relied upon a volunteer sample, the question may be raised as to whether the non-volunteers represented a significantly different sample than the volunteers. Third, the validity of responses on a self-report instrument may benefit from input from an external source, such as the clinical supervisor or faculty member. Fourth, both instruments lack a measure of “social desirability” which may raise questions about the extent to which students are responding in a manner designed to portray them in an unrealistically positive light.

Implications for future study

     Future researchers may wish to expand samples to address the initial limitations concerning adequate representation by respondents’ age and ethnicity. In addition, the implementation of a measure of social desirability could further clarify the validity of the responses gathered from trainees. As this study did confirm significant relationships, future researchers may wish to re-define the study into a quasi-experimental design and gather similar data to be analyzed using a discriminant function analysis to see which MPD scores significantly distinguished between “high and “low” scores on the WAI-T. Researchers may also wish to approach this topic from a qualitative perspective, using these results as tentative theory to be confirmed or amended through interviews with counselor trainees in supervision. Another approach may be a time-series design, assessing both sets of dynamics at onset, midpoint and termination of supervision to trace change over that time frame and perhaps identify particularly helpful interventions on the part of the clinical supervisor.


This study is based on the hypothesis that students’ perceptions of supervisory dynamics were related to supervisees’ resolution of Erikson’s psychosocial stage tasks. The tentative support for this hypothesis allows supervisors to conceptualize the supervision process as a projection of students’ degree and direction of their own psychosocial growth and, by implication, assist students to consider how their own psychosocial stage resolutions may impact the dynamics of their experiences as a supervisee and their own delivery of clinical service with clients.


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MANOVA of Between-Subject Effects



Mean Square







WAI-T Task




WAI-T Bond




WAI-T Goal








WAI-T Task




WAI-T Bond




WAI-T Goal








WAI-T Task




WAI-T Bond




WAI-T Goal





Correlations between WAI-T and MPD subscale scores

Of female respondents


























Note: *              Correlation is significant at the .05 level

              **          Correlation is significant at the .01 level



Correlations between WAI-T and MPD subscale scores

Of male respondents



























Note: *              Correlation is significant at the .05 level

**          Correlation is significant at the .01 level

Appendix A

Definitions of High Scorers in Stage Resolution

(Hawley, 1988, p. 9/10)

Stage 1 – Trust versus Mistrust

P1 (Trust)                                                                                              N1 (Mistrust)

Trust in self and others,                                                      See others as threatening; doubt that

calm, relaxed optimistic mood,                                         needs will be met; suspicious of

Conviction that others are well-meaning;                       others; little confidence in ability

Receptivity                                                                              to cope with daily life

To new people, experiences and ideas

Stage 2 – Autonomy versus Shame & Doubt

P2 (Autonomy)                                                                                   N2 (Shame & Doubt)

Conscious of ability to take independent action          Fear exposure as inadequate and worthless

Proud at being able to do things their own way           Alternate between compliance and stubbornness

Feel free to be themselves                                                   Experience nagging self-consciousness and

Feel adequate in their sense of self-control                    easy embarrassment

Stage 3 – Initiative versus Guilt

P3 (Initiative)                                                                                        N3 (Guilt)

Have a strong sense of purpose                                        Constant fear of making mistakes, being weak

Model positive self-initiated behavior                            or inadequate

Deal with things and people in constructive ways       Manifested by self-restriction and paralysis of

Hold a pursuit of accomplishment                                    action

Stage 4 – Industry versus Inferiority

P4 (Industry)                                                                                         N4 (Inferiority)

Active orientation toward learning and competence    Despair of personal skills and abilities

Enjoy achievement in skills and abilities                        Feel incapable, mediocre and estranged

Strive toward completion and growth                                          Expressions of passivity, lack of ambition,

Attempt to be useful and do useful things                     procrastination and inability to concentrate

Stage 5 – Identity versus Identity Confusion

P5 (Identity)                                                                                         N5 (Identity Confusion)

Integration of roles into one consistent identity           Disparity between you they are and want to be

Display basic values and attitudes across roles             Unsure of basic life convictions

Appreciate personal uniqueness and                                 Feel like a mystery even to oneself

Individuality                                                                           Hesitate to make decisions and commitments

Stage 6 – Intimacy versus Isolation

P6 (Intimacy)                                                                                        N6 (Isolation)

Support commitments in the face of sacrifice                                          Feels threatened by “demands” of intimacy

Can care for another without losing personal identity              Emotionally distant in relationships

Comfort in emotionally close relationships                                   Relations lack emotional mutuality

Ability to confide in others and are available for others          Unable to share oneself with others


Stage 7 – Generativity versus Stagnation

P7 (Generativity)                                                                                              N7 (Stagnation)

Involved in caring about the world and others                           Absence of powerful caring and creative

Seek to guide the next generation                                                  interest

Move toward new avenues for self-fulfillment                          Live for short-term gratification

Strive to foster a legacy of caring and growth                           Unresponsive to the conditions of others

Stage 8 – Ego Integrity versus Despair

P8 (Ego Integrity)                                                                                             N8 (Despair)

A sense of meaningfulness of life                                                   See life as misdirected energy and lost

Experience a sense of dignity and belief in order of life          opportunity

Accept the unique aspects of one’s own life                                Inadequate time to correct past mistakes

Satisfaction with life, work and accomplishments                     Despair about one’s life’s work