Adlerian Theory Chapter 5
At one time Freud and Adler worked together, but after 8-10 years they parted company with Freud taking the position that Adler was a heretic that had deserted him. Adler stresses the unity of personality, contending that people can only be understood as integrated and complete human beings. This view also advocates the purposeful nature of behavior, emphasizing that where we are striving to go to is more important than where we came from. Adler saw humans as both the creator and the creations of their own lives; that is people develop a unique style of living that is both a movement toward and an expression of their selected goals. In a sense we create ourselves rather than merely being shaped by our childhood experiences. After Alders’ death in 1937, Rudolf Dreikurs was the most significant figure in bringing Alderian psychology to the United States and its principles to education, individual and group therapy and family counseling. Key Concepts:
Humans are motivated primarily by social relatedness rather than sexual urges; behavior is purposeful and goal directed; and conscious, more than the unconscious, is the focus of therapy. Unlike Freud, Adler stressed choice and responsibility, meaning in life, and the striving for success completion and perfection. Adler’s theory focuses on inferiority feelings, which he saw as a normal condition of all people and as a source of human striving. Rather than being considered a sign of weakness or abnormality inferiority feelings can be the wellspring of creativity. They motivate us to strive for mastery, success and completion. We are driven to overcome our sense of inferiority and strive for increasingly higher levels of development. We are driven to overcome our sense of inferiority and to strive of increasingly higher levels of development. From the Adlerian perspective, human behavior is not determined solely by heredity and environment. Instead, we have the capacity to interpret, influence, and create events. Adler asserted that genetics and heredity are not as important as what we choose to do with the abilities and limitations we possess. Adlerians put the focus on reeducating individuals and reshaping society. Adler was a forerunner of a subjective approach to psychology that focuses on internal determinants of behavior such as values, beliefs, attitudes, goals, interests, and the holistic, social, goal oriented, systemic and humanistic. Subjective Perception of Reality:
Adlerians attempt to view the world from the client’s subjective frame of references, an orientation describes as phenomenological. The approach is phenomenological in that it pays attention to the individual way in which people perceive their world. This “subjective reality” includes perceptions, thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, convictions, and conclusions. Behavior is understood from the vantage point of the subjective perspective. From the Adlerian perspective, objective reality is less important than how we interpret reality and the meanings we attach to what we experience. Unity and Patterns of Human Personality:
Adler named this approach Individual Psychology and stressed understanding the whole person – how all dimensions of a person are interconnected components, and how all of these components are unified by the individual’s movement toward a life goal. This holistic concept implies that we cannot be understood in parts, but all aspects of ourselves must be understood in relationship. The focus is on understanding whole person within their socially embedded contexts of family, culture, school, and work. We are social, creative, decision making beings who act with purpose and cannot be fully known outside the contexts that have meaning in our lives. An implication of this holistic view of personality is that the client is an integral part of a social system, there is more emphasis on interpersonal relationships than on the...
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