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A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities

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The article titled "Mid-Life -- A Time of Crisis or New Possibilities?" is an analysis of the many different theories of midlife crisis held by Freud, Jung, Frankl, and Rogers. This article also reflects on Erikson's and Peck's view of middle age as a stage in the lifespan development. "It argues that middle age should not necessarily be seen as a time of crisis and loss but of growth and new possibilities" (Weaver, 2009, p.69). "The commonly held view of mid-life crisis is that it is an emotional state of doubt and anxiety in which a person becomes uncomfortable with the realization that life is half over" (Weaver, 2009, p. 69). Although, in most cases, the course into middle age is relatively smooth and many people find this to be a particularly rewarding period. "Rather than looking to the future, people concentrate on the present, and their involvement with their families, friends, and other social groups takes on new importance" (Feldman, 2010, p. 320).

In this article, Freud argues that any crisis occurring in middle life is caused by the 'disorders of ego' related to the developmental experience in childhood. While Freud considered all crisis of middle age to be linked with childhood, Jung talked about middle life less in terms of crisis but more in terms of an important period of growth and maturation. Jung's idea was that through 'Individuation', which is integration of wholeness, serenity, and harmony within oneself, one overcomes middle life crisis. Frankl challenged the psychodynamic view that a determined end goal of all activity throughout life is the reestablishment of individual equilibrium. "Frankl did not see people as mainly trying to gratify their drives and satisfy their instincts in order to maintain or restore their inner equilibrium" (Weaver, 2009, p. 71). Similar to Frankl, Rogers explored some existential questions that people ask themselves such as 'What is my goal in life?', 'What am I striving for?' and 'What is my purpose?' "In Roger's writings, they were not explicitly linked to middle age, but as generally people tend to ask themselves these kinds of questions when they are free to choose, it could be taken that they are more common later in life" (Weaver, 2009, p. 74).

Erikson's theory suggests there are eight stages of psychosocial development that involve people's changing interactions and understanding of themselves and others. Erikson considered middle adulthood (40-65 years) to be characterized by the concern about the legacy one will leave behind and growing awareness of mortality. "Those who negotiate these concerns in a healthy way are 'generative' - they care about others and issues outside themselves. Those who do not negotiate these issues in a healthy way remain focused on their own needs and become self-absorbed" (Weaver, 2009,



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