Describe a Mentally Healthy Person, According to Adler.

Topics: Alfred Adler, Psychology, Birth order Pages: 6 (1861 words) Published: September 14, 2013
Theresa Byers, SID# 55876
PSY 380 PERSONALITY THEORIES

3). Describe a mentally healthy personality, according to Adler.

Most of society thinks that a mentally healthy person is a person with a sound sense of self and someone who functions on a daily basis within the community without problems of any signs of a mental illness. 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, thus the measurement of his or her mental health. Named after Alfred Adler, Adlerian theory primarily emphasizes concepts pertaining to inferiority and superiority, styles of life, family constellation and birth order, and social interests as principle components of personality.

Adler starts out with the striving for inferiority toward superiority complexes. He believed that a person’s behavior is motivated by a desire to achieve success or superiority. Adler believed that all people are born with physical inadequacies, which makes young children feel inferior to those around them. As a result, people commit very early in life to rid themselves of these feelings of inferiority. There are, however, two ways to overcome those feelings: striving for success and striving for superiority, the latter of which is less mentally healthy. Adler wrote that psychologically healthy people will attempt to overcome feelings of inferiority by instead striving for the success of mankind. Other people, by contrast, will strive for superiority without regard for anybody else. The more healthy approach is more socially concerned while the other shows more interest in socially nonproductive personal achievement. Although the desire to strive for

Theresa Byers, SID# 55876
PSY 380 PERSONALITY THEORIES

3). Describe a mentally healthy personality, according to Adler.

success and superiority is partially innate, according to Adler, the behavior must be developed by the social environment.
Adler then goes into the unity of personality also known as the style of life. However, when suggesting his theory, Adler “emphasized the unity of personality” (Cloninger, 2008), which this was before he separated from Freud. Adler later “abandoned the drive model and described personality as held together by the fictional finalism and unique style of life” (Cloninger, 2008).

This puts us into Adler’s unique style of life. Adler refers to the unique style of life as “the style of life [beginning] as compensatory process, making up for a particular inferiority” (Cloninger, 2008). There is a goal in one’s life to make up for one’s inferiority and Adler puts it this way, “besides the goal, the style of life includes the individual’s concepts about the self and the world and his or her unique way of striving toward the personal goal in that world” (Cloninger, 2008). Adler is trying to say that people compensate in areas such as being hardworking, aggressive, and driven to seek out their own gratification and motivation. Adler also puts three categories under the style of life including first memories, mistaken styles of life, and healthy styles of life. First, according to Adler, “a person’s style of life is established by the age of 4 or 5” (Cloninger, 2008). Adler agreed with Freud that early life experiences did help determine one’s personality. “Any early memories, even if they are not the very first memories, provide valuable clues to a Theresa Byers, SID# 55876

PSY 380 PERSONALITY THEORIES

3). Describe a mentally healthy personality, according to Adler.

person’s unique style of life” (Cloninger, 2008). Secondly, is the mistaken style of life, which is maladaptive to a person’s life style. There are three maladaptive types of the mistaken life styles, including the ruling type, getting type, and the avoiding type. The ruling type likes to control others. Cloninger (2008) says, “they may actively confront life’s...

References: Cloninger, Susan. Theories of Personality: Understanding Persons. 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2008
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