Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany and studied psychology under Anna Freud (Sigmund Freud’s daughter) at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. He moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1939 where he taught at several major universities including Harvard, Yale, and the University of California at Berkley.
He is most well known for his writings on child psychology. He developed a stage theory much like Sigmund Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual development, but rather than sexual impulses, Erikson was concerned more with the social aspects of development. He developed his theory of Psychosocial Development where he divides the human lifespan into eight stages. Through his theories, the term ‘identity crisis’ was derived, as he saw each stage as having both a negative or a positive outcome, constituting a crisis at each stage of development.