Adlerian Therapy - 1

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Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Theories and Techniques of Counseling

Essay on Personal Theory of Counseling

“Adlerian Therapy”

Alfred Adler the third child in a family of five boys and two girls was born in 1870. Adler’s childhood was an unhappy one as he was sickly. He almost died at the age of four from pneumonia so as a result he decided to become a doctor. His specialized area was in neurology and psychiatry. Alfred Adler died in 1937. Adler was a major contributor to the development of the psychodynamic approach to therapy. He stressed the unity of personality contending that people could be understood as integrated and complete beings. This view explains that the direction in which we are heading is far more important than where we came from. One of Adler’s key concepts is how he viewed human nature. Adler abandoned Freud’s basic theories because he believed that Freud was excessively narrow in his stress on biological and instinctual determination. However, like Freud, Adler believed that what the individual became in adult life was largely influenced by the first six years of their lives. I was taught this in teachers college and now I am out in the field, I do believe this to be true. It’s like you get them as blank slates as John Locke said and you have to write on it positively if we want productive human beings. He believed that behaviour is purposeful, goal oriented and that consciousness not the unconscious is the centre of personality. Adler stress choice and responsibility, meaning of life and the striving for success or perfection, unlike Freud. His perspective was that humans were not merely determined by hereditary and environment instead they have the capacity to interpret, influence, and create events. He also believed that what we were born with was not the central issue but what we do with the abilities we posses, is most crucial. Subjective perception of reality is another key concept of the Adlerian therapy. Adler attempted to view the world from the client’s subjective frame of reference, an orientation described as phenomenological in that it pays attentions to the individual way in which people perceive their world. This subjective reality includes the individual’s perceptions, beliefs and conclusions. In addition, unity and patterns of human personality is another view of Alfred Adler. The human personality becomes unified through the life goal because an individual’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, convictions, attitudes, character and actions are expressions of his or her uniqueness and all reflect a plan of life that allows for the movement toward a self-selected life goal. Social interest and community feeling is probably Adler’s most significant and distinctive concept (Corey, 1991). The term refers to an individual’s awareness of being a part of the human community and to the individual’s attitudes in dealing with the social world; which includes striving for a better future for humanity (Corey, 1991). Adler equated social interest with a sense of identification and empathy with others: ‘to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another” (Corey, 1991, p.140) because the degree to which we successfully share with others and are concerned with the welfare of others is a measure of mental health (Sherman & Dinkmeyer, 1987, p. 12). From the Adlerian perspective, as social interest develops, the individual’s feelings of inferiority and alienation diminish because people express social interest through shared activity and mutual respect and they develop on the useful side of life. A basic premise of the Adlerian approach is the Individual Psychology. This approach rests on a central belief that our happiness and success are largely related to this social connectedness because we are part of a society and we cannot be understood in isolation...
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