Adlerian Theory

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Sonjia D.Lynch

November 19, 2009

Scholarly Paper

COU 6312-40

Group Counseling

Dr. Crook

The Adlerian theory, which was named after Alfred Adler, primarily emphasizes birth order, individual life styles, social interests, and concepts pertaining to inferiority and superiority as principle components of personality.  For Adler, psychological health is determined by the level of social contribution beneficial to the greater community.  To the degree, that one integrates and furthers the social context, the measurement of his or her mental health.  Social contribution is increased through the reduction of mistaken beliefs, which frequently lead to maladaptive feelings of inferiority or superiority.  This goal of combating false beliefs is attained through an understanding of family constellations, early memories, and dreams. The goals of the Adlerian theory are to bring about an increased social interest modify self-destructive behavior, and solve problems more efficiently.  To reach these aspirations in a clinical setting, psychotherapy provides a choice to counselors as a base for identifying and addressing incorrect thoughts and belief patterns.  Sigmund Freud, is a indirect contributor to Adlerian therapy. During the initial sessions of the Adlerian theory the therapists provides and opportunity to observe and assess clients in order to gauge their family dynamics present lifestyle, and early childhood experiences.  These assessments may be formal or informal using questionnaires or direct inquiry.  Therapists also rely on dreams and the interpretive meaning for the client’s current situation and struggles.  “Meanings are not determined by situations, but we determine ourselves by the meanings we give to situations”(Hoffman, 1994)

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Initial sessions provide Adlerian therapists with an opportunity to observe and assess clients in order to gauge their family dynamics, present lifestyle, and early childhood experiences.  These assessments may be formal or informal using questionnaires or direct inquiry.  Further to this, therapists also rely on dreams and the interpretive meaning for the client’s current situation and struggles.  There are several techniques that are used in Adlerian therapy.  Immediacy asks the client to communicate events at the present moment.  By focusing on the immediate here and now, clients are groomed into a position conducive to a greater understanding of their situation.  The technique of encouragement helps to build rapport between therapist and client.  Counselors also use encouragement to assess client lifestyle to provide tools for overcoming inferiority and low self-concept.   Acting as if requests the client to presume the successful result of a not yet attempted action.  Another technique, spitting in the client’s soup, requires the counselor to make certain behaviors less attractive to the client.  Once a particular behavior is seen as repulsive, it is less likely to recur.  The question tests the client in order to identify the existence of a psychological problem through the use of deliberately constructed questions by the counselor.  If the client makes a connection between the answer to the question and another problem altogether, the therapist then presumes the root of the illness is to avoid the problem connected by the client.  Finally, Adlerian therapists often assign homework as a means to assist clients in solving problems outside the counseling session. “ Simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along

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with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view.” (Carlson, 2005). Another technique, spitting in the client’s soup, requires the counselor to make certain behaviors less attractive to the client.  Once a particular behavior is seen as repulsive, it is less likely to recur.  The...
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