Doctor of Psychoanalysis. Every student has a story as unique as his or her own unconscious. Learn more about fellow voyagers on the road less traveled by What is psychoanalysis today? Explore how Freud's model of the mind takes on new life through developments in theory, practice, applications, and research Psychoanalysis in El Barrio Dr. Learn More Psychoanalysis in the CAGS alumna Vanessa Cid uses psychoanalysis to help pre-school students distinguish feelings from behavior, to stop action and initiate talking.
Read More Pre-school Classroom Putting Psychoanalysis Master's graduate and doctoral candidate Michael Birnkrant discusses his use of psychoanalytic work in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Adler, the son of Alfred Adler, and also a psychia trist, undertook the task of giving the manuscript a careful and critical reading. He gave us invaluable suggestions which could only have been made by someone in his position of long and most intimate association with the development of Individual Psychology.
Through the offices of. Danica Deutsch, the Individual Psychology Association of New York provided stimulation and a sounding board for our study of Adler by inviting the first editor to give a number of lectures before the Asso ciation. Rudolf Dreikurs, editor of the American Journal of Individual Psychology, furthered the course of the book by requesting several articles. We wish to express our appreciation to the Estate of Alfred Adler for their permission to reprint his writings and to thank the following pub lishers and periodicals for permission to use excerpts from his writings: Clark University Press, Worcester, Mass.
Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner and Co. Individual Psychology Bulletin. Individual Psychology Pamphlets, The C. Daniel Company, Ltd. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. Furthermore we also take pleasure in acknowledging permissions re ceived from the following publishers and periodicals to quote excerpts from the work of their authors: Adler, Alexandra. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc. Asch, Solomon.
Social Psychology. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Birnbaum, Ferdinand. Applying Individual Psychology in school. Psychol, 1, No. The Individual-psychological experimental school in Vienna. Bottome, Phyllis. Alfred Adler; a Biography. New York: G. Putnams Sons, Colby, Kenneth Mark. On the disagreement between Freud and Adler. Colm, Hanna. Healing as participation; comments on Paul Tillichs ex istential philosophy. Psychiatry, 16, , Dreikurs, Rudolf.
The socio-psychological dynamics of physical disability; a review of the Adlerian concept. Social Issues, 4, No. Freud, Sigmund. The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud. New York: Modern Library, Inc. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. New York: Liveright Publishing Corp. Civilization and Its Discontents. London: The Hogarth Press, Ltd. Collected Papers, Volumes I-V. The Ego and the Id. Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. New York: W. An Outline of Psychoanalysis.
Goldstein, Kurt. New York: American Book Company,. Theoretical Foundations of Psychology. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. Hitschmann, Edward. The history of the aggression-impulse. Yearbook of Psychoanalysis. Holub, Martha. Conversations with parents and children. James, William. Jaspers, Karl. Allgemeine Psychopathologie, 4th ed. Berlin and Heidel berg: Springer Verlag, Lewin, Kurt. Time perspective and morale. Watson, Ed. Civilian Morale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, Murphy, Gardner.
An Introduction to Psychology. Rayner, Doris. Individual Psychology and the childrens clinic. Pamphlets, No. Simpson, George Gaylord. The Meaning of Evolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, Symonds, Percival M. The Ego and the Self. Vaihinger, Hans. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.
Wertheimer, Max. Gestalt theory. Social Research, 11, , Productive Thinking. In the Adler bibliography the items are identified by the date of their first publication and a letter in the cases of more than one publication per year. In the general bibliography the items are identified by a number. The source for each paragraph selected from Adlers writings is given by the following method. Each side heading is followed by a superior fig ure which refers to a footnote at the end of the chapter.
In the footnote each paragraph under the respective side heading is represented by a bold face number. This number is followed by the title of the publication from which the paragraph has been taken, the identification of this item in the Adler bibliography in parentheses , and page from which the selection has been taken. Ansbacher and Rowena R. Neo-Freudian or Neo-Adlerian?
Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. Chapter 8. Chapter 9. Chapter Old Age Chapter A summary of the theory of Individual Psychology might well be helpful to the reader as an initial orientation to the work of Alfred Adler. To serve this purpose we submit the following set of propositions which have suggested themselves to us. There is one basic dynamic force behind all human activity, a striv ing from a felt minus situation towards a plus situation, from a feeling of inferiority towards superiority, perfection, totality.
The striving receives its specific direction from an individually unique goal or self-ideal, which though influenced by biological and en vironmental factors is ultimately the creation of the individual. Because it is an ideal, the goal is a fiction. The goal is only dimly envisaged by the individual, which means that it is largely unknown to him and not understood by him. This is Adlers definition of the unconscious: the unknown part of the goal.
The goal becomes the final cause, the ultimate independent vari able. To the extent that the goal provides the key for understanding the individual, it is a working hypothesis on the part of the psychologist. All psychological processes form a self-consistent organization from the point of view of the goal, like a drama which is constructed from the beginning with the finale in view a, p.
This self-consistent personality structure is what Adler calls the style of life. It becomes firmly established at an early age, from which time on behavior that is. All apparent psychological categories, such as different drives or the contrast between conscious and unconscious, are only aspects of a unified relational system b, p.
All objective determiners, such as biological factors and past his tory, become relative to the goal idea; they do not function as direct causes but provide probabilities only. The individual uses all objective factors in accordance with his style of life. Their significance and ef fectiveness is developed only in the intermediary psychological metabo lism, so to speak b, p. The individuals opinion of himself and the world, his apper ceptive schema, his interpretations, all as aspects of the style of life, influence every psychological process.
Omnia ex opinione suspensa sunt was the motto for the book in which Adler presented Individual Psy chology for the first time a, p. The individual cannot be considered apart from his social situation. Individual Psychology regards and examines the individual as socially embedded. We refuse to recognize and examine an isolated human be ing a, p. All important life problems, including certain drive satisfactions, become social problems. All values become social values. The socialization of the individual is not achieved at the cost of repression, but is afforded through an innate human ability, which, how ever, needs to be developed.
It is this ability which Adler calls social feel ing or social interest. Because the individual is embedded in a social situa tion, social interest becomes crucial for his adjustment. Maladjustment is characterized by increased inferiority feelings, underdeveloped social interest, and an exaggerated uncooperative goal of personal superiority. Accordingly, problems are solved in a self-centered private sense rather than a task-centered common sense fashion. In the neurotic this leads to the experience of failure because he still accepts the social validity of his actions as his ultimate criterion.
The psychotic, on the other hand, while objectively also a failure, that is, in the eyes of common sense, does not experience failure because he does not accept the ultimate criterion of social validity. The remainder of this introduction will present Individual Psychology in its larger context. The Individual Psychology of Adler is first of all a depth psychology. By this is meant that part of dynamic psychology which goes beneath and beyond surface phenomena, taking unconscious motivation fully into account.
For Adler, however, the unconscious was not a separate category, but, as stated above, merely that part of the subjects striving which he does not understand. Depth psychology was of course founded to all intents and purposes by Sigmund Freud, who named his theory and method psychoanalysis. Freud and Adler and Carl G. Jung have often been mentioned as the first triumvirate of this new field. Both Adler and Jung were at first as sociated with Freud but later separated from him, Adler in and Jung in Jungs form of depth psychology, known as analytic psy chology or complex psychology, will not concern us because Adler gives no indication of having been stimulated by Jung.
The influence of Freud, however, is reflected throughout Adlers work, which to a large extent de veloped as an antithesis to that of Freud. When Adler was invited by Freud in to join the psychoanalytic circle, he was a young practicing physician, fourteen years younger than Freud 15, p. Soon he became a prominent member of the group.
He was highly esteemed by Freud, was eventually named his successor as president of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society, and became coeditor of an early psychoanalytic journal, the Zentialblatt fiir Psychoanalyse. At the same time theoretical differences developed. These gradually in creased to the point where both Adler and Freud regarded them as ir reconcilable, and Adler resigned from his positions in the psychoanalytic movement 24; id.
The small group which left the Freudian circle with Adler established itself at first as the Society for Free Psychoanalytic Research. But by the next year Adlers ideas had crystallized sufficiently for him to decide on the new name of Individual Psychology. The new society became known by this name, and in Adler founded his own journal, the Zeitschrift fiir Individualpsychologie. At the time of the separation it appeared to some that the similarities between Freud and Adler were greater than their differences 24 ; the.
Since then many have believed that the difference was primarily one of terminology, aggravated by personal antagonisms. Others, while appreciating the difference be tween Freuds libido as the basic drive and Adlers striving for superiority, thought nevertheless that the two theories were otherwise essentially similar, so that the difference was merely a change of content, compara ble to Heraclituss substitution of fire for Thaless water as the basic element 21, p.
But actually the difference in theory is about as fundamental and far-reaching as is possible within a given area. The change of this one element is in fact symptomatic of a change in the whole theory and all its parts. A difference such as that between Adler and Freud is to be found not in depth psychology alone. On the contrary, it exists to some extent in psychology as a whole and in every separate aspect of psychology. In the psychology of learning we have those who stress association, reinforce ment, and conditioning, and those who stress reorganization and insight.
In the field of testing there are those who stress objective tests and statis tics, and those who rely primarily on the psychologists judgment. In motivation there are those who wish to reduce all motives to basic drives, and those who speak of the functional autonomy of motives. Some formu lations of these differences are listed in the following table of opposites. Objective objectifying psychol Subjective subjectifying psychol. Static structuralism Emphasis on learning Learning by association and condi tioning Behaviorism Stimulus-response psychology.
Mechanistic conception Motivation by pushes Explanation through objective causes; reductionism Genetic, historical approach Determinism Hard determinism from external pressures alone Psychology as a natural science. Functional relativism Emphasis on perception Learning by reorganization and in sight Gestalt psychology Psychology emphasizing the varia bles intervening between stimu lus and response.
Organismic conception Motivation by pulls Understanding through empathy Ahistorical approach Immanent teleology Soft determinism from the inner nature of life Psychology as a mental science Geisteswissenschaft or social science. The left and right sides of this list which makes no claim to being complete have been arranged so that a common factor for each side becomes apparent.
To designate these factors, we have chosen the pair objectivesubjective provided by Karl Jaspers and defined by him as follows. Objective corresponds to the psyche as seen from without, by the observer, and subjective corresponds to the psyche seen from within, by the subject himself 59, p.
While we are quite aware of the inadequacy of these terms to denote the entire syndrome of concepts in each column, we decided on them nevertheless because no other set of terms would be completely satisfactory, and these have at least the advantage of being simple to use. The above list bears an obvious likeness to William Jamess memora ble distinction between the tough-minded and the tender-minded tem peraments.
The objective psychologist is apt to be tough-minded, the subjective psychologist tender-minded, and hence we can extend our list by adding Jamess description of his antithesis. James finds that the tough and the tender have a low opinion of each other. The tough think of the tender as sentimentalists and soft-heads.
The tender feel the tough to be unrefined, callous, or brutal. Their antagonism, whenever as individuals their temperaments have been intense, has formed in all ages a part of the philosophic atmosphere of the time. It forms a part of the philosophic atmosphere of today 58, pp.
We only need to add that in psychology as well as in philosophy this antagonism forms a part of the atmosphere today as it always has in the past, despite the fact that most of us have a hankering for the good things on both sides of the line 58, p.
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While in psychology today we are striving after unity and away from opposing schools, still the difference exists, and for clarification of thinking, especially for describ ing Adlers position, we consider it worthwhile to point it out rather than to minimize it. When the field of depth psychology became established through the work of Freud, with free association and dream interpretation, it ob viously belonged in the general area of subjective psychology.
Butand this is the point of the entire present discussionwithin the field of depth psychology itself, as within any other field of psychology, the divergence between the objective, tough-minded, and the subjective,. Freud wanted to be a natural scientist, sought causal explanations, employed the genetic approach, minimized consciousness by assigning prime importance to the unconscious, left the self depleted by making the ego the mere battleground for the superego and the id, and thus by intent was an objective psychologist, although he worked in an area which by its nature belonged on the subjective side.
Furthermore, by temperament he could be called toughminded; he was pessimistic, irreligious, fatalistic, and hardheaded, in Jamess terms. Freud belongs on the objective side not only because of his stress on biological causation but also by the criterion that he was a class theorist rather than a field theorist. This was shown best by John F. Brown 18 , a student of Kurt Lewin who, using ten criteria for field versus class theory, found that Freud met only two of these. On the positive side Brown states that Freud lacked dichotomies.
But here the present writers would add that, although Freud did away with the class concepts of normal versus abnormal, he retained others and introduced many of his own, such as conscious versus unconscious and life instinct versus death instinct. Lewin, the founder of modern field theory, in a later paper 69 confirmed Brown in essence and pointed out certain further differences between himself and Freud. The position of Freud as an objective psychologist was well summarized by Donald W. MacKinnon and A. Maslow in the following: Freud rested squarely on 19th century scientific theory in his reductionism, his tendency to analyze, to dissect, to dichotomize Aristotelianism.
Presented with a problem, Freud spontaneously and automatically split the field into two or three discrete parts, mutually exclusive, not at all alike in any way, and usually in antagonistic relation to each other, for ex ample, the conscious vs. The individuals interests are for Freud intrinsically opposed to the interests of any and all other individu als. Even within the id, each impulse goes its own way, seeking only its own satisfaction, at whatever cost to other id-impulses or the whole in dividual 74, pp.
If the field theorist finds fault with Freudian theorizing, then, accord ing to our list, the associationist should find it congenial. And indeed Clark L. Hull observed that there were numerous equivalent concepts and behavior principles existent in the two disciplines but now hidden under differences in terminology The id appears to Hull to be the.
Ten years later, John Dollard and Neal E. Miller 26 con tinuing the tradition of Hull presented an analysis of personality and psychotherapy in terms of learning, thinking, and culture, where they found it feasible to integrate the ideas of Freud with those of Pavlov, Thorndike, Hull, Sumner, Murdock, and Warner. Freud has been classified with objective psychology by various ob servers and on various accounts. According to David Krech and Richard S. Crutchfield 63 , psychoanalysis shares with behaviorism and stimulusresponse psychology the genetic or historical approach to the problem of motivation.
Edwin G. Boring 13 points out the similarity between Freud and Watsons behaviorism in that both minimize the importance of consciousness. Percival Symonds notes: The ego as used in psycho analytical literature is the objective self as it might be observed by a behaviorist. The self, on the other hand, is the subjective self as it is perceived, conceived, valued, and responded to by the individual , p.
Leonard S. Kogan and Joe McV. Hunt 61 find that psychoanalysis is on the side of ob jective learning theory and frustration theory in regarding behavior as the cause and the self-concept as the effect, in contrast with phenomeno logical and field theory where the situation is, of course, reversed, with the self-concept the cause and behavior the effect. Francis W. Irwin likens Freud to behaviorism on the basis of his determinism. Since Freud insisted upon a deterministic psychology, and since his stress upon the inadequacy of an individuals understanding of his own motivation amounted to a devaluation of introspective explanations of behavior, psychoanalysis is more sympathetically related to the general position of the deterministic behaviorists than might at first be expected 56, p.
Theories and systems apparently evolve, as does life in general, by following the opportunities that are presented 95, p. In the per spective of the history of ideas, one might say that since Freud took up the objective position in the depth psychology he had originated, the subjective position which was thereby created was vacant. It was Adler. Plainly it coincided with his tender-minded temperament. Freud advanced scientific thought by showing that nervous disorders, like all psychological manifestations, including dreams and slips of the tongue, were determined by unconscious motives which can be ascer tained by free association.
Up to this point his psychology is subjec tive, as was stated earlier. But at this point a splitting of the ways into the objective or the subjective direction becomes possible, in answer to the question, What determines the unconscious? According to Freud the unconscious is ultimately determined by physiological drives and the past of the individual or the race, in any event by something that is or was objective.
The fact that Freud could never forgive Adler for the conception of the masculine protest testifies that Freud maintained to the end his in tention to be the natural-science, objective psychologist. According to Adler the unconscious as well as the conscious is deter mined by subjective values and interests, all of a social orientation, all without counterpart in physical reality, and in the last analysis a creation of the individual. Adlers determiners are not reducible to physiology, but rather dominate and direct the drive component of human nature.
It is in this sense, then, that we see Freud as the objective natural scientist and Adler as the subjective social scientist. If we classify Adler as a sub jective psychologist, this does not mean that he overlooked objective factors. Actually he took them very much into account, but limited them to the role of providing probabilities, of soft determiners, while the ultimate determination comes from the inner nature of the self. In order to clarify Adlers position further we shall in the following section show his relationships to various psychological trends which are on the subjective, tender-minded side of the ledger.
These trends are to day achieving increased significance in American psychology and psy chology elsewhere in the world as well, and mark the passing of the climax of behaviorism in its original form and of objective psychology at any price. Individual Psychology and Other Subjective Psychologies. The psychological system with which Adler was most in sympathy, ac cording to his biographer 15, p.
Stern defined his personalistic psychology as the science of the person having experience. The immediate subject-matter of psychology, experi ence, is therefore to be identified and interpreted in terms of its matrix, the unitary, goal-directed person , p. He made this acknowledgment in connection with the following early definition of Individual Psychology. It attempts to gain from the separate life manifestations and forms of expression the picture of the self-consistent personality as a variant by presupposing the unity and selfconsistency [both Einheit] of the individuality.
Adler felt indebted to Stern primarily for his great contribution of a philosophical foundation for finalism, that is, the interpretation of life processes in terms of their goals b, p. The emphasis in the above definition of Individual Psychology lies on the individualizing manner, which led Adler later to the concept of the style of life.
By this token Adlers psychology was from the start an idiographic science. According to the classification of Wilhelm Windelband the term idiographic pertains to laws which are particular to the individual case, while nomothetic formulations are laws of general validity. To be sure, Adlers psychology, like any science, developed nomo thetic principles as wellcompensation, the striving for superiority, social interest; but the emphasis always rested on the idiographic aspectthe style of life, the opinion of the self, the individual goal.
In fact the very first paper in Adlers journal, one by Alexander Neuer, proclaimed Indi vidual Psychology the idiographic science par excellence By con trast, most Freudian concepts are nomothetic 4, p. Among present-day psychologists Gordon W. Allport is particularly. Accordingly we are not surprised to find considerable similarity between Allport and Adler 8; Gardner Murphy is a second contemporary psychologist whose view point, according to his own statement, shows obvious affinities to those of William Stern and Gordon W.
Allport, and could be called by Sterns term personalistic 83, p. Consistent with his closeness to Stern, Murphy has expressed strong appreciation for Adler. The mass of data relative to the problems of the ego that has come to us from Adler and his school is tremendously rich; we shall remain forever indebted for the ruthlessness and simplicity with which such problems were described in an era when Adler was generally ridiculed by the analysts and ignored by hard-headed medical men.
Adler did as much as any individual to make clear that ego problems are as central as sex or any other problems indeed, that for most civilized men they are the most burning prob lems of all 84, p. The obvious similarity between Individual Psychology and Gestalt psychology lies in the emphasis on the whole rather than on elements, and on the interaction between the whole and its parts.
It was just such demonstrations that Max Wertheimer, one of the founders of the Gestalt school, enjoyed conduct ing in his classes. Both Adler and Wertheimer were very musical. Their general similarity in viewpoint led to further specific similari ties, including in particular the realization of the importance of mans social context.
Wertheimer stated in Man is not only part of a field, but a part and member of his group. When people are together. If for any outward or inner reasons a harmonious balance is not attainable between a person and the people with whom he lives, then definite disturbances of the equilibrium must appear. A wide range of mental disease. A recent development in Gestalt psychology is the use of the term.
Under the heading of social interest Solomon E. Asch describes the striving for society as a primary, natural tendency, and makes a sharp distinction be tween this and the conception of socialization by Freud and others A special aspect of Gestalt psychology is the field theory of Lewin. The parallels between Lewin and Adler are particularly marked.
Common therapeutic tools include the use of humor, historical instances, and paradoxical injunctions. Adler maintained that human psychology is psychodynamic in nature. Unlike Freud's metapsychology that emphasizes instinctual demands, human psychology is guided by goals and fueled by a yet unknown creative force. Like Freud's instincts, Adler's fictive goals are largely unconscious. These goals have a "teleological" function. Usually there is a fictional final goal which can be deciphered alongside of innumerable sub-goals.
For example, in anorexia nervosa the fictive final goal is to "be perfectly thin" overcompensation on the basis of a feeling of inferiority. Hence, the fictive final goal can serve a persecutory function that is ever-present in subjectivity though its trace springs are usually unconscious. The end goal of being "thin" is fictive however since it can never be subjectively achieved. Teleology serves another vital function for Adlerians. Chilon's "hora telos" "see the end, consider the consequences" provides for both healthy and maladaptive psychodynamics.
Here we also find Adler's emphasis on personal responsibility in mentally healthy subjects who seek their own and the social good. The metaphysical thread of Adlerian theory does not problematise the notion of teleology since concepts such as eternity an ungraspable end where time ceases to exist match the religious aspects that are held in tandem. Here, 'teleology' itself is fictive yet experienced as quite real. Both Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Ellis in particular was a member of the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology and served as an editorial board member for the Adlerian Journal Individual Psychology.
Whilst Smuts' text Holism and Evolution is thought to be a work of science, it actually attempts to unify evolution with a higher metaphysical principle holism. The sense of connection and one-ness revered in various religious traditions among these, Baha'i, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism finds a strong complement in Adler's thought. The pragmatic and materialist aspects to contextualizing members of communities, the construction of communities and the socio-historical-political forces that shape communities matter a great deal when it comes to understanding an individual's psychological make-up and functioning.
This aspect of Adlerian psychology holds a high level of synergy with the field of community psychology , especially given Adler's concern for what he called "the absolute truth and logic of communal life". Adlerian psychology, Carl Jung 's analytical psychology , Gestalt therapy and Karen Horney 's psychodynamic approach are holistic schools of psychology.
These discourses eschew a reductive approach to understanding human psychology and psychopathology. Adler developed a scheme of so-called personality types, which were however always to be taken as provisional or heuristic since he did not, in essence, believe in personality types, and at different times proposed different and equally tentative systems. Nevertheless, he intended to illustrate patterns that could denote a characteristic governed under the overall style of life.
Hence American Adlerians such as Harold Mosak have made use of Adler's typology in this provisional sense: . Adler placed great emphasis upon the interpretation of early memories in working with patients and school children, writing that, "Among all psychic expressions, some of the most revealing are the individual's memories. He maintained that memories are never incidental or trivial; rather, they are chosen reminders: " A person's memories are the reminders she carries about with her of her limitations and of the meanings of events.
There are no 'chance' memories. Out of the incalculable number of impressions that an individual receives, she chooses to remember only those which she considers, however dimly, to have a bearing on her problems. Adler often emphasized one's birth order as having an influence on the style of life and the strengths and weaknesses in one's psychological make up. Adler believed that the firstborn child would be in a favorable position, enjoying the full attention of the eager new parents until the arrival of a second child. This second child would cause the first born to suffer feelings of dethronement, no longer being the center of attention.
Adler believed that in a three-child family, the oldest child would be the most likely to suffer from neuroticism and substance addiction which he reasoned was a compensation for the feelings of excessive responsibility "the weight of the world on one's shoulders" e. As a result, he predicted that this child was the most likely to end up in jail or an asylum. Youngest children would tend to be overindulged, leading to poor social empathy.
Consequently, the middle child, who would experience neither dethronement nor overindulgence, was most likely to develop into a successful individual yet also most likely to be a rebel and to feel squeezed-out. Adler himself was the third some sources credit second in a family of six children. Adler never produced any scientific support for his interpretations on birth order roles, nor did he feel the need to.
Yet the value of the hypothesis was to extend the importance of siblings in marking the psychology of the individual beyond Freud's more limited emphasis on the mother and father. Hence, Adlerians spend time therapeutically mapping the influence that siblings or lack thereof had on the psychology of their clients. The idiographic approach entails an excavation of the phenomenology of one's birth order position for likely influence on the subject's Style of Life.
In sum, the subjective experiences of sibling positionality and inter-relations are psychodynamically important for Adlerian therapists and personality theorists, not the cookbook predictions that may or may not have been objectively true in Adler's time.
For Adler, birth order answered the question, "Why do children, who are raised in the same family, grow up with very different personalities? The position in the family constellation, Adler said, is the reason for these differences in personality and not genetics: a point later taken up by Eric Berne.
Adler's insight into birth order, compensation and issues relating to the individuals' perception of community also led him to investigate the causes and treatment of substance abuse disorders, particularly alcoholism and morphinism , which already were serious social problems of his time. Adler's work with addicts was significant since most other prominent proponents of psychoanalysis invested relatively little time and thought into this widespread ill of the modern and post-modern age.
In addition to applying his individual psychology approach of organ inferiority, for example, to the onset and causes of addictive behaviours, he also tried to find a clear relationship of drug cravings to sexual gratification or their substitutions. Early pharmaco-therapeutic interventions with non-addictive substances, such as neuphyllin were used, since withdrawal symptoms were explained by a form of "water-poisoning" that made the use of diuretics necessary. Adler and his wife's pragmatic approach, and the seemingly high success rates of their treatment were based on their ideas of social functioning and well-being.
Clearly, life style choices and situations were emphasized, for example the need for relaxation or the negative effects of early childhood conflicts were examined, which compared to other authoritarian or religious treatment regimens, were clearly modern approaches. Certainly some of his observations, for example that psychopaths were more likely to be drug addicts are not compatible with current methodologies and theories of substance abuse treatment, but the self-centred attributes of the illness and the clear escapism from social responsibilities by pathological addicts put Adler's treatment modalities clearly into a modern contextual reasoning.
Adler's ideas regarding non- heterosexual sexuality and various social forms of deviance have long been controversial. Along with prostitution and criminality, Adler had classified 'homosexuals' as falling among the "failures of life". In , he began his writings on homosexuality with a page magazine, and sporadically published more thoughts throughout the rest of his life. The Dutch psychologist Gerard J. There is evidence that Adler may have moved towards abandoning the hypothesis.
Towards the end of Adler's life, in the mids, his opinion towards homosexuality began to shift. Elizabeth H. McDowell, a New York state family social worker recalls undertaking supervision with Adler on a young man who was " living in sin " with an older man in New York City. Adler asked her, "Is he happy, would you say? Adler then stated, "Well, why don't we leave him alone. According to Phyllis Bottome, who wrote Adler's Biography after Adler himself laid upon her that task : "He always treated homosexuality as lack of courage.
These were but ways of obtaining a slight release for a physical need while avoiding a greater obligation. A transient partner of your own sex is a better known road and requires less courage than a permanent contact with an "unknown" sex. Work or employment, love or marriage, social contact. Adler emphasized both treatment and prevention.
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With regard to psychodynamic psychology, Adlerians emphasize the foundational importance of childhood in developing personality and any tendency towards various forms of psychopathology. The best way to inoculate against what are now termed "personality disorders" what Adler had called the "neurotic character" , or a tendency to various neurotic conditions depression, anxiety, etc.
The responsibility of the optimal development of the child is not limited to the mother or father, but rather includes teachers and society more broadly. Adler argued therefore that teachers, nurses, social workers, and so on require training in parent education to complement the work of the family in fostering a democratic character.
When a child does not feel equal and is enacted upon abused through pampering or neglect he or she is likely to develop inferiority or superiority complexes and various concomitant compensation strategies.
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In a late work, Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind , Adler turns to the subject of metaphysics , where he integrates Jan Smuts' evolutionary holism with the ideas of teleology and community: " sub specie aeternitatis ". Unabashedly, he argues his vision of society: "Social feeling means above all a struggle for a communal form that must be thought of as eternally applicable I see no reason to be afraid of metaphysics; it has had a great influence on human life and development. We are not blessed with the possession of absolute truth; on that account we are compelled to form theories for ourselves about our future, about the results of our actions, etc.
Our idea of social feeling as the final form of humanity - of an imagined state in which all the problems of life are solved and all our relations to the external world rightly adjusted - is a regulative ideal, a goal that gives our direction. This goal of perfection must bear within it the goal of an ideal community, because all that we value in life, all that endures and continues to endure, is eternally the product of this social feeling. Clearly, Adler himself had little problem with adopting a metaphysical and spiritual point of view to support his theories.
Yet his overall theoretical yield provides ample room for the dialectical humanist modernist and the postmodernist to explain the significance of community and ecology through differing lenses even if Adlerians have not fully considered how deeply divisive and contradictory these three threads of metaphysics, modernism, and post modernism are.
Adler died suddenly in Aberdeen , Scotland , in May , during a three-week visit to the University of Aberdeen. While walking down the street, he was seen to collapse and lie motionless on the pavement. As a man ran over to him and loosened his collar, Adler mumbled "Kurt", the name of his son and died. The autopsy performed determined his death was caused by a degeneration of the heart muscle.
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