Here's a quick practice question to keep you on
A man brings his 16-year-old son to a therapy
appointment to have him assessed for depression. His son has
started wearing black and has dyed his blond hair black. The boy
denies he's depressed and says that all his friends dress the way
he does. According to Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial
development, which crisis is the client experiencing?
A. Industry vs. inferiority.
B. Autonomy vs. shame and doubt.
C. Identity vs. role confusion.
D. Intimacy vs. isolation.
What do you think?
For a question like this, you can strip the stem down to its
essentials: a teenager and Erikson. The question could be much
simpler and ask the same thing: What is the central conflict for
teenagers according to Erikson's stages of psychosocial
Either way, it's handy to know the stages. But even if you
don't, you might be able to figure it out. Let's walk through the
options together: Industry vs. inferiority. Sounds like middle
school (it's actually 6-12). Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (sounds
like infants or teens…let's leave that one for a second). Identity
vs role confusion (sounds very teenage). Intimacy vs. isolation
(sounds like the partnering years. 20s, say. And it
So, with this, we've narrowed down to autonomy vs. shame and
doubt and identity vs. role confusion.
Which one sounds more like a teenager to you?
Think of the teenagers in your life. Think of yourself as
a teenager. Trying to develop a sense of self. Struggling with the
question, "What do I want to do with my life?" Sounds like one of
the options more than any of the others: C, identity vs. role
Sometimes "sounds like" is the best you can do on the ASWB exam.
And that's fine. You don't need to have the answer immediately at
your fingertips for every single question. If you can narrow to two
options and take your best guess, that's sometimes the best you can
To avoid having the entire exam feel like mysterious guesswork,
it's best to get to exposed to lots and lots of practice questions
as you prep for the exam. And that's what we've got here (sign up
to get started!).
Happy studying, good luck on the exam, and with whatever
Eriksonian stage you're grappling with right now!