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Chapter 5 - CHAPTER 5 Alfred Adler and Individual...

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CHAPTER 5 Alfred Adler and Individual Psychology Alfred Adler The Development of Individual Psychology Important Theoretical Concepts View of Human Nature The Importance of Feelings of Inferiority Family Constellation and Birth Order Lifestyle Goals Social Interest Phenomenological Perspective Treatment Using Individual Psychology Therapeutic Alliance Stages of Treatment Interventions Application and Current Use of Individual Psychology Application to Children Application to Parenting Application to Couples Application to Assessment Application to Diagnostic Groups Application to Multicultural Groups Evaluation of Individual Psychology Limitations Strengths and Contributions Skill Development: Analyzing Earliest Recollections Case Illustration Exercises Large-Group Exercises Small-Group Exercises Individual Exercises Summary Recommended Readings Additional Sources of Information Alfred Adler initially shared Freud’s perspectives on human development and psychotherapy. However, as Adler’s thinking evolved, he came to disgree with the emphasis Freud placed on biological and physiological determinants of psychological development. Adler believed that early childhood experiences played an integral part in future development, but he viewed Freud’s concepts as too deterministic and limited. Adler eventually established his own theory of human development and psychotherapy, which he called Individual Psychology . Adler’s ideas are compatible with current thinking about mental health. Adlerian therapy pays considerable attention to social context, family dynamics, and child rearing. This approach is phenomenological, empowering, and oriented toward both present and future. As a result, Adler’s ideas have experienced a resurgence of popularity during the past 25 years or so and are currently viewed as an important approach to psychotherapy, especially for clinicians working with children and their families. ALFRED ADLER Alfred Adler was born on February 7, 1870, in Vienna, Austria, the third of six children. His father, Leopold Adler, was a merchant. Alfred Adler had a difficult childhood. When he was three years old, a brother died in the bed they shared (Orgler, 1963 ). Adler himself was prone to accidents and illnesses. Twice he was run over in the streets; he had pneumonia, suffered from rickets and poor eyesight, and was sickly and delicate. Because of his medical problems, Adler was pampered, especially by his
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mother. However, when his younger brother was born, Adler felt dethroned as his mother shifted her attention from him to her new baby. This led Adler to transfer his attention to his father and to his peers, from whom he learned “courage, comradeliness, and social interest” (Orgler, 1963 , p. 3). Adler’s subsequent interest in birth order, inferiority, and parental overprotectiveness may have originated in his own childhood experiences.
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