Manual The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 11: Education for Prevention

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Feelings of inferiority lead to attitudes of passive avoidance, as expressed in traits such as timidity, insecurity, anxiety, submissive obedience. The compensatory striving for superiority leads to an exaggerated need for acknowledgement and power, the ambition to be better than others, more attractive, stronger, bigger, and more intelligent.

One form of striving for superiority is the so-called masculine protest, that is, the wish to be a man or to not be a woman, because in the cultural judgment, victory is conceived as masculine, defeat as feminine. Both feelings are not based on realities but are fictions of the imagination, developed within the individual, as he sees himself in comparison to others. They form the basis of the "life style" of the individual, developing in early childhood.

Adler regarded the development of community feelings as a means for overcoming the compensatory needs for power needs in the individual, or at least for channelling these needs in socially useful directions.


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Community feeling or social feeling such as compassion, altruism, selflessness, or a unifying bond of mutual trust is a genuine psychological virtue and an index of man's inborn sociability. This community feeling was Adler's therapeutic goal and educational precept, to induce the individual to accept the desirability and the inevitability of social ties. It was Adler's personal mission to give people educational guidelines in mental health and the prevention of neurosis. His recommendation was to encourage the strengths of the individual in order to support his self-confidence.

In "Red Vienna" during the s Adler was a teacher, reformer, popular orator, and political activist. He felt supported and stimulated by the increasing number of his associates who identified chiefly with social democratic policies. In this atmosphere, individual psychology flourished as a branch of applied clinical psychology and became a leading psychological movement. Adler's chief contribution was the establishment of educational counseling centers in cooperation with schools and other educational organizations. In addition, individual psychologists worked in progressive classes and, after , in a progressive school, kindergartens, residential treatment centers, day-care centers, clinics for the disabled, and in a therapeutic out-patient center.

Adler himself gave a series of lectures about education and group psychotherapy to students, schoolteachers, and to the public at large. He wrote a number of books in German and English. His most important publication during this period was his book Menschenkenntnis ; Understanding Human Nature.

At the beginning of the s, Adler focused increasingly on the metaphysical and philosophical aspects of his work. Bruder-Bezzel, Almuth. Alfred Adler.

Individual Psychology:Alfred Adler (PSY)

Die Entstehungsgeschichte einer Theorie im historischen Milieu Wiens. Ellenberger, Henri. New York , Austin, Tex. Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler was credited with developing several important theories on the motivation of human behavior. He founded the school of individual psychology, a comprehensive "science of living" that focuses on the uniqueness of the individual and a person's relationships with society.

Alfred Adler was born on February 7, , in a suburb of Vienna, Austria.

He was the second of seven children of a Hungarianborn grain merchant. The Adlers were a musical family and Alfred was known for his singing voice. Although he was encouraged to pursue a career in opera, in his childhood he suffered some illnesses and the death of a younger brother. These experiences contributed greatly to his early decision to become a physician, or medical doctor. Later, he married Raissa Epstein, a Russian student. Adler's early career was marked by enthusiasm for social reform improvement , often expressed in articles in socialist newspapers.

Socialism is a social system where the goods and services are owned by the government and distributed among the people. His first professional publication was a social-medicine monograph pamphlet on the health of tailors. In famed Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud — invited Adler to join a small discussion group, which became the famous Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Adler was an active member but did not consider himself a pupil or follower of Freud.

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He could not agree with Freud's basic assumption that gender male or female was the main factor in the development of an individual's personality. Whereas Freud tried to explain man in terms of his similarity to machines and animals, Adler sought to understand and influence man in terms of what makes man different from machines and animals, such as concepts and values. This humanistic view characterized all the ideas of his theory. In Adler resigned from Freud's circle to found his own school. Adler worked three years of hospital service during World War I — 18 when European forces fought for world domination.

In he organized a child-guidance clinic in Vienna, and also became a lecturer at the Pedagogical Institute. He was perhaps the first psychiatrist to apply mental hygiene mental health in the schools.

Personal life

Working with teachers in child-guidance clinics, he carried out his groundbreaking counseling before a small audience, dealing with the family and teacher as well as the child. Adler left behind many theories and practices that very much influenced the world of psychiatry. Today these concepts are known as Adlerian psychology. His theories focused on the feelings of inferiority, and how each person tries to overcome such feelings by overcompensating trying too hard to make up for what is lacking.

Adler claimed that an individual's lifestyle becomes established by the age of four or five, and he stressed the importance of social forces, or the child's environment, on the development of behavior. He believed that each person is born with the ability to relate to other people and realize the importance of society as a whole. As a therapist, Adler was a teacher who focused on a patient's mental health, not sickness. Adler encouraged self-improvement by pinpointing the error in patients' lives and correcting it. He thought of himself as an enabler, one who guides the patient through "self-determination," so that the patients themselves can make changes and improve their state.

Adler was a pioneer in that he was one of the first psychiatrists to use therapy in social work , the education of children, and in the treatment of criminals.

Grey, Loren. Westport, CT: Praeger, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, Rattner, Josef. New York : F. Ungar, Alfred Adler was born in a suburb of Vienna , Austria , in After graduating from the University of Vienna medical school in , he at first practiced ophthalmology but later switched to psychiatry. In , Adler joined the discussion group that later became the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

Influence on depth psychology

Sigmund Freud was also a member. Adler eventually became president and editor of its journal. After , however, Adler's growing disagreement with Freud's theories, especially with their heavy emphasis on the role of sexuality in personality formation, alienated him from the ranks of Freudians. In , Adler and his followers left the Psychoanalytic Society to form their own group, The Society of Individual Psychology, and developed the system of individual psychology, a holistic, humanistic, therapeutic approach. Adlerian psychology views the individual as primarily a social rather than a sexual being and places more emphasis on choices and values than Freudian psychology.

Adler saw the individual striving toward perfection and overcoming feelings of inferiority a concept later popularized as the " inferiority complex ". After serving in military hospitals during World War I , Adler became interested in child psychology. He established a network of public child guidance clinics in the Vienna school system, offering what was probably the very first family counseling. There were 28 of these facilities in operation until the Nazis ordered them closed in Adlerian parent study groups still meet throughout the United States and Canada.

Publisher Series: The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler

In Adler began dividing his time between Vienna and the United States. He was appointed visiting lecturer at Columbia University in New York in Adler died suddenly in in Aberdeen, Scotland , while on a lecture tour. There are more than professional Adlerian organizations and 34 training institutes in the United States, Canada, and Europe. New York : Norton, He was the founder of individual psychology, a theory of personality and method of psychotherapy based on the concepts of unity, self-determination, and future-orientation of man.

His views were opposed to the elementaristic and mechanistic views of man which prevailed at that time. Born in Vienna, Adler qualified at the university there in After his marriage he adopted Protestantism, a small minority denomination in Austria at that time, considering it the most liberal religion. Adler's theories were set forth in such a manner as to be understandable and useful to a wide audience, including especially teachers and counselors. He himself established many child-guidance clinics.

In Freud invited Adler to participate in his discussion group which had weekly meetings in Vienna. In Adler was elected the president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, which grew out of the informal discussion group. In he resigned from the society as a consequence of his new theoretical views and established his own society and journal. From on Adler visited the United States regularly and eventually settled in New York where he was professor of medical psychology at the Long Island Medical College.

He died while on a lecture tour in Scotland. Primary in Adler's system is the conception that the organism, growing from a single cell, remains biologically and psychologically a unit. All partial processes such as drives, perception, memory, and dreaming are subordinated to the whole. Adler called this unitary process the individual's style of life. A unitary concept of man requires one overall motivating force. For Adler it is a striving to overcome and compensate for inferiorities directed toward a goal of superiority or success, which the individual creates quite uniquely.

Though the goal may take on strange forms, it always includes maintenance of self-esteem. The individual, however, cannot be considered apart from society. The three important life problems, occupational, social, and sexual, are all actually social and require a well developed "social interest" for a successful solution.

Thus the individual's goals will include social usefulness corresponding to the ideals of the community. Neurotic, psychotic, sociopathic, addictive, suicidal, and sexually deviant personalities are all failures in life because of an under-developed social interest and strong inferiority feelings. The role of the psychotherapist is to raise the patient's self-esteem through encouragement, illuminate his mistakes in lifestyle, and strengthen his social interest. In this way a cognitive reorganization is produced and the patient directed toward more socially useful behavior.

Birth order among siblings , dreams, and early recollections are used by the therapist in diagnosing the patient's lifestyle. Interest in Adler's psychology increased with the gain in the humanistic conception of man, which he pioneered.