Adler: Individual Psychology
After reading Chapter 3, you should be able to:
Distinguish between striving for superiority and striving for success.
Describe the role of subjective perceptions in Adler's theory of personality.
Explain how seemingly contradictory behaviors may reflect a single goal of striving for superiority.
Define social interest and give examples of what it is and what it is not.
Explain organ dialect and give examples of how it is expressed in a person's behavior.
Define causality and teleology and discuss Adler's teleological approach to personality.
Define style of life and discuss various methods of identifying a person's style of life..
List and describe three types of Adlerian safeguarding tendencies.
Discuss Adler's ideas on birth order.
Compare and contrast Adler's view of women with that of Freud.
Summarize recent research on early recollections.
Critique Adler's ideas as a scientific theory.
Overview of Adler's Individual Psychology
Adler was an original member of Freud's psychoanalytic group, but he never saw himself as a disciple or a follower of Freud. If fact, throughout his life he carried with him the note Freud had sent to him proposing the establishment of an organization of physicians. Adler saw the invitation as Freud's recognition of Adler as an equal. After Adler broke from that group, he built a theory of personality that was nearly diametrically opposed to that of Freud. Whereas Freud's view of humanity was pessimistic and rooted in biology, Adler's view was optimistic, idealistic, and rooted in family experiences. II.
Biography of Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler was born in 1870 in a Viennese suburb, a second son of middle-class Jewish parents. Like Freud, Adler was a physician, and in 1902, he became a charter member of Freud's organization. However, personal and professional differences between the two men led to Adler's departure from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1911. Adler soon founded his own group, the Society for Individual Psychology. Adler's strengths were his energetic oral presentations and his insightful ability to understand family dynamics. He was not a gifted writer, a limitation that may have prevented him from attaining world recognition equal to that of Freud.
Introduction to Adlerian Theory
Although Adler's individual psychology is both complex and comprehensive, its main tenets can be stated in simple form. IV.
Striving for Success or Superiority
The sole dynamic force behind people's actions is the striving for success or superiority.
The Final Goal
The final goal of success or superiority toward which all people strive unifies personality and makes all behavior meaningful.
The Striving Force as Compensation
Because people are born with small, inferior bodies, they feel inferior and attempt to overcome these feelings through their natural tendency to move toward completion. The striving force can take one of two courses—personal gain (superiority) or community benefit (success).
Striving for Personal Superiority
Psychologically unhealthy individuals strive for personal superiority with little concern for other people. Although they may appear to be interested in other people, their basic motivation is personal benefit.
Striving for Success
In contrast, psychologically healthy people strive for the success of all humanity, but they do so without losing their personal identity. V.
People's subjective view of the world—not reality—shapes their behavior.
Fictions are people's expectations of the future. Adler held that fictions guide behavior, because people act as if these fictions are true. Adler emphasized teleology over causality, or explanations of behavior in terms of future goals rather...
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