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Originally Posted: 09/04/2020

If you’ve read the the orange section before, skip to the blue.

I had this idea in my head. Maybe put three pictures up in my office, each representing something important about what I do. Counseling reminder. A touchstone for the eye of sorts. Well, like I said, it was in my head and as I realized one of the three pictures I wasn’t going to be able to get, and the others were certainly copyrighted, the three sort of evolved as I looked for alternatives. So in looking for a different way to go, in my head, we went from three reminders to 96 reminders. It’s why my wife refers to what comes out of my noggin as ‘cumbersome’ on occasion.

So. I am mostly a counselor but I have also studied and practiced a bunch of other things including cuisine and photography. I always wanted to have an idea why some folks in every field are wildly successful compared to many of their contemporaries, so I always checked a bunch of them out. So, here come 96 people and quotes attributed to them, if there are any – 24 chefs, 24 photographers, 20 people associated with psychology directly, and then 28 none of the above people whose lives or words remind me what to strive towards as a counselor, a counseling business owner, and a general human being. The only problem was stopping. There have been a lot of people who for one reason or another inspire me, lots more names on the potential list but it had to at least pause somewhere, so here we are.

I don’t rightly know if writing these out and posting them will be of any use to anyone else but I’m reasonably sure codifying the whole thing will drive it home for me and hopefully offer some encouragement and centering for our folks. Hope you get something out of one or two of them too.

Erikson will almost invariably be associated with his 8 Psychosocial Stages of Development and associated identity crises. While Elisabeth Kubler Ross made the list for something other that what she’s most remembered for, Erik made it for what he is, at least for me. His stages, at least in my opinion, did a fair bit to show some of Freuds genius, while simultaneously discarding a fair bit of the utter nonsense. His states are by no means universal but they have also been helpful for me to help normalize some folks own experiences whether they are transitioning from being a clone to having their own ideas, feel stalled in the middle of their years, or are trying to figure out why their little critters are doing what they’re doing. It also helps me remember to meet people where they are and give me at least a starting point to begin investigating some of where that might be based on their development. It’s easy sometimes to see parents or others try to relate to kids in the adultist way possible, to no avail. It’s harder for me to recognize when I am doing the exact same thing. Ha. Erikson reminds me to meet folks where they are on his stages and so many others…Piaget’s cognitive development, Kohlberg & Gilligan stages and debate on moral development, etc. Just because I can think conceptually, or have post conventional ideas about right and wrong, or don’t feel an overwhelming need to fit in does not mean the person in front of me is in the same place or even could be. So Erik wins out on having drawn a picture throughout all of life but represents many concepts for understand others and putting myself in some version of their shoes. I also appreciate the practical way his stages were applied to people in the way he spoke about them. For instance:

“Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.”
Erik Erikson

“Doubt is the brother of shame.”
Erik Erikson

“Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death.”
Erik Erikson

“You see a child play, and it is so close to seeing an artist paint, for in play a child says things without uttering a word. You can see how he solves his problems. You can also see what’s wrong. Young children, especially, have enormous creativity, and whatever’s in them rises to the surface in free play.”
Erik Erikson

“The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.”
Erik Erikson

“There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding, which constitutes a new hope and a new responsibility for all.”
Erik Erikson

I suppose my take away is best described in having some structures to begin testing who and where someone is when they walk in the door. Sometimes, after finding out what fits each of them individually and what does not, being able to relate who and where they are back to them can establish a connection that may end up being helpful for both of us. I like being helpful.

Learn more about Erikson here: – (Yes, it’s Wikipedia…Thank goodness this isn’t being peer reviewed.)

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