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Physician Assistant (PA)
Developmental Stages
Psychosexual Stages of Development (Overview)

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Psychosexual Stages of Development (Overview)

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Psychosexual Stages of Development (Overview)

The psychodynamic stages of development were described by Freud, where he described that sex instinct was not a single instinct, but rather many. He identified erogenous zones, like the oral, anal and genital regions, and associated them with providing pleasure through stimulation. Furthermore, these zones play a role in determining adult personality by representing conflicts. He described these conflicts in a sequential manner starting with the oral stage, then progressing to the anal, phallic, latency and genital stages.
Oral Stage

As a newborn, the oral stage is the first stage of psychosexual development. There is pleasure obtained from oral stimulation, and encourages feeding responses by the child. This leads to the child constantly seeking oral stimulation, putting many things in the mouth besides food, simply because it feels good.

Anal Stage

During the 2nd stage of psychosexual development, defecation and toilet training are a major issue. The release of tension at elimination is the erogenous pleasure in defecation. External demands are placed on the child at this stage, as they are told to "go" at certain times and in certain places not of his or her own choosing.

Phallic Stage

The phallic stage is when children become fascinated with genitals. They ask about anatomical differences in boys and girls, and begin to manipulate their own genitals. During the phallic stage, males and females begin to view their mothers differently, and these changes are described as the Oedipus and Electra complexes. The superego undergoes final development during this time. This stage ranges from the ages of 3-6 years.

Latency Stage

In the latency stage, a child is less influenced by sexual and aggressive instincts. They begin to focus attention on forming friendships, attending school and learning about the world outside of the family. This stage ranges from the age of 6-11.

Genital Stage

The genital stage describes sexual instincts reasserting themselves in adolescence. Sexuality and pleasure are not self-centered, and the person develops an interest in sexual gratification of another person. The person in this stage is able to love someone other than themself and do constructive work for society.


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