This essay aims to provide a psychological personality analysis of Soname Yangchen, the author of the autobiography, Child of Tibet, through the theories of Alfred Adler in his Individual Psychology approach. Adler’s idiographic approach to psychology evolved from Freud’s own Psychoanalytical theory and places great emphasis upon the analysis of the individual’s personal experiences in interpreting their personality. Yangchen’s autobiography recounts her life experiences as a child slave in Lhasa from which she escapes both her position as a slave and her country to become a refugee in Dharamshala, India. From here, Yangchen manages to make her way to England where she marries an Englishman and is discovered as a singer. This essay will divulge into certain aspects of Adler’s theory including the aggressive drive or masculine protest, fictional finalism and goal setting, the individual’s need for affection, and the phenomenon of social interest in order to analyse and interpret certain aspects of Yangchen’s personality.
A Psychological Profile: Soname Yangchen According to the Theories of Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler’s approach to psychology is termed as Individual Psychology and illustrates that an individual’s personality is a reflection upon their lifestyle. A person’s lifestyle is your psychological makeup, or the way one deals with the world and reacts to certain events (Derrington, 1999). A person’s lifestyle is determined through their experiences during childhood, particularly in the way an individual views themselves in relation to other family members. One’s lifestyle affects the way one views the world and how one reacts to experiences. Adler believed that all actions are undertaken by an individual are done with the goal of improving one’s current situation (Hooper, Holford & Hyatt, 1998). Alfred Adler first developed his theories from within Freud’s inner-circle of psycho-analysts and thus Adler’s Individual Psychology theory has similar origins to Freud’s psychoanalysis in terms of drives and the subconscious. However, Adler disagreed with Freud’s focus upon the sexual drive as the primary motivational force in the human psyche which ultimately forced Adler to leave Freud’s group. The book, Child of Tibet: The Story of Soname’s Flight to Freedom by Soname Yangchen, illustrates her personal journey from a poor child slave in Lhasa to a rising singing sensation throughout Europe. By adopting Alfred Adler’s methods of individual personality analysis, a deeper insight into the personality of Soname Yangchen can be explored by looking at four different Adlerian phenomene; the masculine protest, fictional finalism, the need for affection, and social interest. Masculine protest and fictional finalism reveals the motivations behind an individual’s personality as they strive to overcome feelings of inferiority to attain power, stability and well-being. Adler also observed the human trend in a need for affection, especially as a child. Yangchen’s experience as a child slave in Lhasa demonstrates the consequences of a child starved of affection through Adler’s interpretations. A focus upon social interest in the development of the ideal person is also explored through Adlerian theory as Adler believed that the ideal individual would show a fervent interest in other people’s well-being. It is through these four elements that Yangchen’s story will be dissected and her personality evaluated.
In addition to Freud’s sexual drive, Adler emphasised the existence and importance of a multitude of drives of which there is one in particular, the aggressive drive. Adler’s movement away from Freud’s focus upon the sexual drive as the foremost means of human motivation is also supported in Yangchen’s story. Yangchen’s belief that she was ‘not exposed to sexuality in Tibet’ which was seen as ‘decadent Western stuff’ (Yangchen, p.85) proposes that Freud’s sexual drive theory may not be applicable across different...
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