Topics: Cognitive behavioral therapy, Psychotherapy, Alfred Adler Pages: 14 (2909 words) Published: October 18, 2014


Individual Counseling Theory Techniques
Lamar University



Adlerian, Cognitive Behavioral and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy are three major theories that are used extensively in the counseling world. Some counselors use each as a single treatment approach while others chose to blend things from two or more together. The theory or approach that is chosen by a counselor must be one that they are knowledgeable in and feel comfortable with. It’s also important to remember that not every approach will fit every client.

Adlerian Theory
Key Concepts
Adlerian Theory sometimes referred to as Individual Psychology was developed by Alfred Adler. Adler stressed a positive view of human nature. He believed that everyone can control their fate through analyzing their lifestyle and helping others. One of the key concepts of Adlerian Therapy is that “objective reality is less important than how we interpret reality and the meanings we attach to what we experience.” (Quinn, 2011) Adlerian Theory suggests that behavior is purposeful and goal-oriented and that the “life goal” unifies the personality. (Quinn, 2011) Genetics and heredity are not as important as what we chose to do with the limitations and abilities that we possess. (Quinn, 2011) Adler offered a “value-oriented psychology that envisioned human beings as capable of profound cooperation in living together and striving for selfimprovement, self-fulfillment, and contribution to the common welfare.” (Stein & Edwards, n.d.) Adler felt that if humans did not learn to cooperate and work things out, that we would eventually “annihilate each other.” (Stein & Edwards, n.d.) Adler felt that when we feel encouraged, we feel capable and appreciated and will generally act in a



cooperative way. The flip side of this is when we get discouraged. If we are discouraged we may act in unhealthy ways by competing, withdrawing, or giving up. ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012) Finding ways of expressing and accepting encouragement, respect, and having social interest will help us feel fulfilled and optimistic. Adlerian Theory is distinguished from other theories because it contains lynchpins, seven critical ideas. These areas are: unity of the individual, goal orientation, self-determination and uniqueness, social context, the feeling of community, mental health and treatment. Unity of the individual is thinking, feeling, emotion, and behavior. It can only be “understood as subordinated to the individual's style of life, or consistent pattern of dealing with life.” ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012) Each aspect of the personality points in the same direction. “The individual is not internally divided.” ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012) Goal orientation is moving toward that “goal of significance, superiority, or success.” ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012) “The early childhood feeling of inferiority, for which one aims to compensate, leads to the creation of a fictional final goal which subjectively seems to promise future security and success. ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012) The depth of the inferiority feeling usually determines the height of the goal which then becomes the "final cause" of behavior patterns.” ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012) Self-determination and uniqueness has to do with an individual becoming aware of their goal. “Through the analysis of birth order, repeated coping patterns, and earliest memories, the psychotherapist infers the goal as a working it becomes something a client can become aware of and work toward. ("Alfred Adler: Theory and Application," 2012). Social context is the aspect of looking at



the human being as a part of a larger system. The way we respond to the family, which is considered the first system, affects our attitude and view of life. The feeling of community is just...

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