Journal #1 – Adlerian Theory
Rubric #1: Personal Style and Counseling Theory
1. How congruent is the theory with your truth/personal philosophy? Alfred Adler said, “I would like to stress that the life of the human soul is not a ‘being’ but a ‘becoming’.” In my opinion, this quotation is a perfect summation of both what we have learned about the Adlerian theory and of my own personal philosophy for life. The congruency between my philosophy and the Adlerian theory was immediately apparent, because like Adler, I believe in a holistic and teleological approach to life. Adler believed in a holistic concept of looking at a person as a whole, rather than a sum of its parts unlike what Freud did with his concepts of id, ego, and super ego. With this holistic concept, Adler accounted for genetic and environmental influences on human behavior, but believed a person’s capacity to choose and create his/her own life was more influential on how that person would behave. My personal philosophy on life is very congruent with Adler is this holistic sense, as I am a product of my past including my genetics and my childhood environment. I do believe, however, much more of who am I today and how I act has been decided by the choices I have made. Another way the Adlerian theory is congruent with my own truth is through the concept known as fictional finalism, defined as “an imagined life goal that guides a person’s behavior,” a term that was later replaced with that of “guiding self-ideal.” According to Adler, the choices we make in life will guide us forward towards our final goals of what we view as a life of perfection, and he does not believe our pasts have to dictate what the future will look like. I believe in having a “guiding self-ideal” that represents my dreams of a perfect life, and I believe most of the decisions I make, both consciously and unconsciously, are influenced by my desire to achieve perfection in certain areas. For me, there is not one central “guiding self-ideal” that I drive all aspects of my life, and instead I see many separate ideals that influence different areas of my life, such as relationships, family, career, etc. While I cannot give a finite example or definition of what these “guiding self-ideals” are for most areas, I do have mental picture of what my perfection is. One area where I do feel I can give a finite explanation of my “guiding self-ideal” is as a person in recovery. I believe the promises of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A. Big Book pgs. 83-84) exemplify the “guiding self-ideal” I strive for in sobriety. The promises state “we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it,” just as Adler’ theory incorporates a person’s past. To me, the promises represent Adler’s fictional finalism, because if I make the right choices regarding my recovery, the promises will come true, giving me an ideal life. My personal philosophy also integrates with the phenomenological and encouragement concepts of Adlerian theory. Through my work in a 12-step fellowship, I have come to appreciate the idea of subjective reality. For me, that means I have to always think about where another person is coming from every situation I encounter. I never know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes, until I try to see the world from their reality, just as Adler described. In doing this, I often am able to change my perception of a person or of a situation I am in, which in turn, can be a great learning experience for me. I believe this will help me greatly when I am struggling to understand a client in my career as counselor. Finally encouragement is the last congruency I saw between my truth and the Adlerian Theory, because for me, there is nothing better than knowing there is someone in my corner. Having someone give me encouragement, makes me want to act as if I deserve that encouragement, even when I think I do not....
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