2014.05.01 Erik Erikson - a Viking?

To many Americans, the name Erikson created associations to Leif Erikson, the viking who was born on Iceland and sailed west to discover Vineland. Supposedly he and his father were hard to handle. Red Erik, the father, was banned at home and thus went to Iceland. Junior kept up the tradition and his trip west may not have been entirely voluntary. But somehow words got back that there was land out west.

Below is an account of the psychologist Erik Erikson, who in modern times seems to have shared much of his namesakes destiny: Not wanted where he grew up, had little deference to authorities, and all the same really made a name for himself.

I have collected all the blogs that described how the personality development stages according to the theory by Erikson could influence people going abroad.

To Scandinavians, the name Erikson will automatically tell people that someone is Swedish or Norwegian because Danish names end with -sen, not -son. So many will be surprised that Erik Erikson actually was of Danish decent but grew up in Germany. He was trained by Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud's daughter.

Because he was of Jewish decent, he left Germany in 1933 and eventually ended up in USA where he taught at Harvard, Yale, and for many years was a professor in psychology at UC Berkeley.

During WWII he worked for the US Government with a.o. analyzing Hitler's speeches.

During the McCarthy era he refused to swear an oath of loyalty - the anti-communist hysteria reminded him too much of the early Nazi days in Germany - and consequently he was fired from UC Berkeley along with a group of likeminded professors.

An interesting fact is that the training he got from Anna Freud was the core of his psychological and psychiatrical training. In spite of him being a professor and university instructor for many years, and a great contributor to the field of psychology, he did not even have a bachelors degree. 1