October 14, 2014
Stage 1: Infants learn to trust or mistrust their caregivers and the world based on whether their needs such as food, affection and safety are met. Ben Carson likely developed trust for this mother and father, although his mother was more nurturing then his father who left the family when he was 8 years old. Even though at times his mother had to work 3 jobs, she seen to it that he and his brother had enough food and safety.
Stage 2: If encouraged, toddlers learn to be independent. However, if they are not encouraged, they harbor shame and doubt. With limited information available on Carson’s childhood, we can speculate that Carson’s mother was very nurturing and he developed autonomy and self-sufficiency. However, he may have experienced some doubt in interactions with his father.
Stage 3: Preschoolers learn to initiate activities and develop self-confidence and a sense of social responsibility. If not, they feel irresponsible, ...view middle of the document...
Stage 5: Adolescents develop a stable identity by exploring many roles and deciding who or what they want to be in terms of career, attitude, etc. Failure to resolve this identity crisis may lead to apathy, withdrawal and role confusion. After turning his life around, Carson went on to finish high school and graduate from college with a BA in psychology. He seemed to have developed a sense of identity, although he went on to earn his medical degree and changed his mind later to focus on one study, neurology.
Stage 6: young adults form lasting meaningful relationships at this stage, which help them develop a sense of happiness and intimacy with others, leading to generatively. If not, they become psychologically isolated. Carson Married at age 23 and had 3 children. It appears he developed a sense of intimacy, rather than isolation at this stage.
Stage 7: The challenge for middle-age adults is to nurture the younger generation. Failing to meet this challenge leads to a sense of stagnation. Carson was definitely not stagnant though he was dedicated to his work. His brush with death, however, caused him to adjust his life to spend more time with his 3 children. Professionally middle adulthood was his most productive stage.
Stage 8: During this stage older adults reflect on their past. If this reflection reveals a life well spent, people experience self-acceptance and satisfaction, which lead to ego integrity. If the reflection is not satisfying, people experience regret and despair. Though Carson became famous for his outstanding neurosurgery skills, he often attended events reflecting on his troubled past as a youth and how he overcame anger issues in his youth to become the most renowned neurosurgeon in the world. I think it’s fair to say that he felt his life was well spent and reflected ego integrity during this stage.
Ben Carson. (2004). Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2nd ed. Vol. 18. Detroit: Retrieved
April 24, 2014 from, Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Ben Carson. (2014). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://
Carpenter, S. and Huffman, K. (2010). Visualizing psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ:
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.