Jane Loevinger’s Stages Of Ego Eevelopment

Jane Loevinger’s stages of ego development is composed of nine phases: pre-social, impulsive, self-protective, conformist, self-aware, conscientious, individualistic, autonomous, and integrated. These stages are based on Erikson’s psychosocial development; hence, they follow a sequential pattern.

During the pre-social stage, babies are generally focused on satisfying their immediate needs. Loevinger theorized that infants do not yet have egos as they tend to view themselves and their caregivers as one. For instance, they still think that the reflection they see in the mirror is another individual.

In the impulsive stage, children are already aware of their self vs their non-self. They are also preoccupied with aggressive impulses. For example, when the mother will not give what the child wants, the child retaliates by throwing a tantrum.

Self-protective stage is often manifested from early to middle childhood. In this phase, children are more aware of the cause and effect relationship and they may tend to be opportunistic, be manipulative, blame others for their faults, and highly motivated by rewards. For instance, a 7-year-old accidentally broke a vase then he blamed his baby brother.

In the conformist stage, children and adolescents tend to assess others based on external factors such as looks, norms, and stereotypes. For instance, a teenager thinks that someone is cool if he is wearing trendy clothes.

Self-aware phase is often manifested by adults; this is when they are more conscious of their uniqueness and the discrepancy between their actual and their ideal selves. For instance, a 21-year-old has a clear career path and is considering his family’s opinions regarding his choices.

Conscientious Stage is characterized by self-evaluation, motivation to achieve, and frequently experiencing guilt when hurting others. For example, a 25-year-old is motivated to succeed and is doing his best to advance his career. He is also cautious that in attaining his goals, he would not hurt others.

In the individualistic stage, the person is mature enough to tolerate differences. There is also a deeper sense of self-understanding which leads to healthy self-expression and realization of inner conflict.

During the autonomous stage, self-fulfillment becomes a common goal and self-acceptance goes deeper. For instance, a middle-aged-woman is well-travelled and is taking meditation classes. She is genuinely comfortable with who she is and is well aware of her potentials as well as her limitations.

Lastly, in the integrated stage, the ego has reached its full sense of identity and is characterized by wisdom, peace, and empathy. For instance, a 50-year-old imparts sound advices, genuinely cares for the next generations, and embodies tranquility.

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