Essay on Compare and Contrast Two Mental Health Theories

Published: 2021/12/01
Number of words: 702

When working with clients with mental health issues, mental health practitioners continue to learn about psychological health and apply ideas to their practice. Mental health ideologies have evolved through time to give diverse accounts for a person’s behaviors, beliefs, and emotions. Mental health practitioners think that if the brain’s complicated functioning can be comprehended, concepts may be utilized to cure the mind (Varcarolis, 2016). In general, it is critical to understand a client to care for them effectively; hence, theoretical concepts aid in understanding and treating psychiatric alterations and mental health issues. Renowned psychologists and psychiatrists established numerous ideas, and I will examine and evaluate Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic view with Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development theory.

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Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who lived from 1856 to 1939. He is commonly referred to as the “Father of Psychoanalysis.” According to Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual phases of development hypothesis, human evolution commences at birth and continues throughout maturity. He mainly concentrated on incidents that occurred throughout the first five years of life. Sigmund Freud presumed that an individual’s formative experiences have an effect on their adulthood, influencing their character and lifestyle choices (Varcarolis, 2016). With his view that unresolved issues from infancy generate mental health difficulties, Sigmund Freud reorganized understanding about mental health illnesses. The conscious, preconscious, and unconscious parts of the mind, according to Freud, are the three degrees of mental consciousness. A person’s conscious brain is a condition in which they are sensitive to feelings, experiences, and ideas. According to (Halter 2017), the preconscious portion contains materials that may be quickly accessed with conscious effort. All suppressed desires, inappropriate cravings, and memories that a person considers difficult and stressful to cope with are connected with tragedy in the unconscious portion. Talk therapy, according to Freud, would allow people to express their most suppressed feelings, therefore healing the scars that lead to mental disease.

Erik Erikson, a psychotherapist from the United States, was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and lived from 1902 to 1994. From conception to completion, Erikson thought that life is divided into eight phases. Childhood to eighteen months (trust vs. skepticism), young childhood (18 months to three years) (individual freedom vs. doubt and shame), nursery school (3 to 6 years) (effort vs. guilt), education age (6-12 years, industry vs. inferiority), teenagers (12-20 years, belonging vs. identity confusion), young adulthood (20-35 years, affection versus despair), middle adulthood (35-65 years, Generativity vs. self-absorption and old age years (65 to mortality, grief vs. integrity) (Halter, 2017). Erikson thought that each phase effectively drew on prior events, according to Cherry (2020), thus if an individual misses growth in one step, it is difficult to go to the subsequent.

Both the Freud and Erikson perspectives address human development. Both scholars think that an individual’s personality is shaped in predetermined phases, with early life events influencing adulthood (Cherry, 2020). Nonetheless, whereas Erikson’s analysis is grounded on psychosocial features, Freud focuses on psychosexual traits.

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The unconscious and conscious parts of the mind can assist a nurse in determining the source of a client’s various behavior and actions, so Freud’s hypothesis can be utilized in the nursing profession. As a result, Erikson’s hypothesis will aid in evaluating patients based on their age and the determination of whether their developmental abilities are linked to their relevant stage. The nurse will recognize the needs of the cognitive structure and devise appropriate interventions to provide high-quality care (Halter, 2017).

To conclude, Freud’s and Erikson’s ideas on growth do not explain why people act in specific ways, mainly based on previous experiences. It’s difficult to pinpoint specific past events, and this is not always caused by a lack of growth, as some notions indicate. On the other hand, the concepts equip healthcare professionals with the ability to comprehend human growth and help patients learn about their unique requirements.


Cherry, K. (2020). Understanding Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development. Verywell Mind. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Halter, M. (2017). Relevant theories and therapies for nursing practice. Nurse Key. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Varcarolis, E. M. (2016). Essentials of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing-E-Book: A Communication Approach to Evidence-Based Care. Elsevier Health Sciences.

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