Term Paper: Education Psychology Theory

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Psychology and Education

Psychological Counseling and Education

The 10th grade student looked at in this report, called Tom, was a quiet boy who played football because of his size. He was extremely intelligent, made good grades and seemed popular with the girls, though he appeared to be quiet and moody. Tom was known to have a temper that, along with his large size, made him mistrusted as a team-mate and feared as an opponent. He occasionally threw tantrums.

One day on the football field he grabbed a smaller boy from behind, wrapped his arms around him and clenching his hands together, lifted him high in the air and squeezed. A cracking noise was heard and the boy fell to the ground with internal injuries and a rib broken. Tom declared he had only been horsing around, but some of the other boys claimed he was angry at the boy for teasing him. It was not the first time Tom had been known to do something physical in retaliation for teasing.

The principal met with the School Board, court officials, a doctor and the school mental health counselor. Tom was removed from the football team, suspended from school and ordered to see a behavioral therapist for counseling.

Upon counseling, the mental health counselor reported that Tom, was an only child and his widowed mother was extremely controlling. She was an emotionally needy person and called him an unloving son because he was "cold and had no emotions." He ignored her most of the time, but she managed to control everything in his life. His constant reading annoyed her. She wanted him to be sports-minded like other boys. But he knew he was not like other boys and, since he was suspended, wanted to drop out of school.

His mother had been glad when he joined the football team and had bought him expensive clothing to wear to school. He liked name brand clothing. For punishment she had taken his good clothes and the phone away. She was so angry at him for being dropped from the team that she would not talk to him. In the past, she had gone for three days at a time without talking to him or doing anything for him, in order to punish him, even when he was small. He had had to find his own food, dress himself and go to bed by himself. This was the way she had controlled him from early on. Her silences had once made him down on his knees and beg her, weeping, to talk to him, but she would not until she felt he was sufficiently punished. When he was small she had tied him to the toilet until he voided every morning. Now that he was older, she controlled him and his temper by withdrawing love, clothes and contact with the outside world.

Erickson's psychosocial stage theory might explain Tom's behavior as it deals with the development of ego identity. Tom was not allowed to develop normally through social interaction to develop a sense of self. His life had been completely controlled by his mother and he was not able to go through the initial stages of childhood successfully.

Erickson's first stage is that of Trust vs. Mistrust. Between birth and one year of age, the same year that Tom's father became ill and died from lung cancer, Tom needed to develop trust in a dependable and stable caregiver. As his mother had to tend to a dying husband at the same time she was caring for a baby, he found he could not trust her to give consistent, quality care. Her emotions and mental stability were not that of a loving mother and her inability to function as a dependable caregiver during Tom's first stage of life, when one needs to develop trust, created a fearful child who believed the world was unpredictable and inconsistent.


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