The Theory of Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung, the two representatives of the early psychoanalytic movement, principally disagreed with Freud on the key issues and revised his theory of psychoanalysis in completely different directions.

Alfred Adler - Austrian psychologist

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) - Austrian psychologist, psychiatrist and philosopher, one of the predecessors Neo-Freudian, founder of individual psychology.

Individual Psychology of Adler describes the man as a single, the self and wholeness.

Adler, as a psychologist, suggested an economical and pragmatic theory, which was designed to help people understand themselves and others. The basic principles of his system are: the individual as self-integrity, human life as a dynamic commitment to excellence, the individual creativity and self-determining as the essence, as well as the social status of the individual.

According to Adler, people try to compensate for feelings of inferiority, which they experienced in childhood. Experiencing disability, they are struggling all life-long for supremacy. Each person develops his own unique lifestyle, in which he seeks to achieve the objectives of fictitious focused on excellence or perfection.

According to Adler, person’s lifestyle is most clearly manifested in its attitudes and behavior directed at solving the three major life tasks: work, friendship and love.

Based on the assessment of the severity of social interest and activity levels in relation to these three problems, Adler distinguishes four main types of plants, related to lifestyle: control, receiving, avoidant and socially-useful type.

Adler believed that the lifestyle is created through the creative power of the individual; a certain influence on its formation has also the ordinal position in the family. Adler distinguishes four ordinal positions: first-born, singleton, middle child and last child in the family. 

The final construct, on which individual psychology emphasis is the social interest. The internal tendency of man to participate in the creation of ideal society. In terms of Adler’s social interest severity is an indicator of psychological health.

Judging from the initial position, which adheres to Adler, the scientist, far from being “Neo-Freudian”, as he believed, could be much better understood as a harbinger of modern humanistic and phenomenological psychology.

Application of Adler’s principles in psychotherapy contributed to understand the nature of neurosis and how to treat them.  Adler’s therapeutic approach emphasizes the importance of understanding the lifestyle of the patient, awareness of its problems and strengthening its social interest.

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Posted in Freud Related Articles
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