Understanding Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is essential in ascertaining the most efficient way of comforting the patient and their spouse. At the core of the theory is the idea that each person undergoes eight distinct stages of life, starting with the infancy period and ending with the old age period. Each of these stages has its own virtues, which are successfully achieved after their resolution. As the patient and the spouse are senior citizens, their corresponding attribute is wisdom.
It is possible to appeal to the virtue of wisdom to help the spouses face the inevitability of death. According to Erikson’s theory, wisdom is defined as “informed and detached concern with life itself in the face of death itself” (Knight, 2017, p. 9). In practice, it means accepting the impending cessation of life. Death can be both a frightening perspective and a conciliating thought. It is possible to encourage the patient to recount his mistakes and failures, successes and victories over the course of his life. Reliving the memories will inspire a sense of contentment and inner peace, which will make the patient’s final moments easier.
A different approach is needed when dealing with the patient’s spouse. First, it is essential that the spouse express the plethora of emotions they feel at the moment. Listening to the anxieties of the spouse will help them accept the fact of the inevitable death (Neimeyer, 2015). Second, people who lose their loved ones develop empathy for those who find themselves in a similar position (Neimeyer, 2015). It is possible to advise the spouse to use their wisdom and experience to help other like-minded individuals, thus giving meaning to the patient’s death and mourning for him.
Knight, Z. G. (2017). A proposed model of psychodynamic psychotherapy linked to Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(5), 1-12. Web.
Neimeyer, R. A. (2015). Techniques of grief therapy: Assessment and intervention. Taylor & Francis.