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ADLERIAN THERAPY. INTRODUCTION Alfred Adler 1870 – 1937 He grew up in a Vienna family of six boys and two girls. His brother died as a very young boy.

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Presentation on theme: "ADLERIAN THERAPY. INTRODUCTION Alfred Adler 1870 – 1937 He grew up in a Vienna family of six boys and two girls. His brother died as a very young boy."— Presentation transcript:

1 ADLERIAN THERAPY

2 INTRODUCTION Alfred Adler 1870 – 1937 He grew up in a Vienna family of six boys and two girls. His brother died as a very young boy in the bed next to Adler. He was sickly and was very much aware of death. At age 4 Adler almost died of pneumonia. He overheard the doctor tell his father that “Alfred is lost.” This is when Adler decided to become a physician. Adler felt dethrone after the birth of his brother. He developed a trusting relationship with his father but he did not feel very close to his mother. Adler was extremely jealous of his older brother, Sigmund. Given his early relationship with Sigmund Freud it is suspected that patterns from his early family constellation were repeated in this relationship. Adler’s early years were characterized by struggling to overcome illnesses and feelings of inferiority. He felt inferior to his brother and peers; which made him determined to compensate for his physical limitations, and gradually he overcame many of his limitations. His early childhood had an impact on the formation of his theory. Adler is an example of a person who shaped his own life as opposed to having it determined by fate. His teacher advised his father to prepare Adler to be a shoemaker but not much else.

3 With determined effort Adler eventually rose to the top of his class. He went on to study medicine at the University of Vienna. He entered private practice as an ophthalmologist, and later shifted to general medicine. He eventually specialized in neurology and psychiatry, and he had a keen interest in incurable childhood diseases. Adler had a passionate concern for common person and he was outspoken about child-rearing practices, school reforms, and prejudices that resulted in conflict. Adler wrote spoke and wrote in simple, non-technical languages so that the public could understand and apply the principles of his Individual Psychology. (Adler’s (1959) Understanding Human Nature was the first major psychology book to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in the United States. Adler created 32 child guidance clinics in the Vienna public schools and began training teachers, social workers, physicians, and other professional. He pioneered the practice of teaching professional through live demonstrations with parents and children before large audiences.

4 The clinics he founded grew in numbers and in popularity, and he was indefatigable in lecturing and demonstrating his work. In the mid 1920s he began lecturing in the United States. He ignored the warning of his friends to slow down and on May 28, 1937, while taking a walk before a scheduled lecture in Aberdeen, Scotland, Adler collapsed and died of heart failure.

5 Along with Freud and Jung, Alfred Adler was a major contributor to the development of the psychodynamic approach to therapy. Freud and Adler parted company after 8 to 10 years when Freud felt that Adler had deserted him. Adler resigned as the president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1911 and founded the Society for Individual Psychology in It was at this point that Freud asserted that it was not possible to support Adlerian concepts and still remain in good standing as a psychoanalyst. Later a number of other psychoanalysts deviated from Freud’s orthodox position. These Freudian revisionist, included Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, and Harry Stack Sullivan, agreed that social and cultural factors were of great significance in shaping personality.

6 These three were typically called neo-Freudians, it would be more appropriate, as Heinz Anshacher (1979) has suggested, to refer to them as neo-Adlerians because they moved away from Freud’s biological and deterministic point of view and toward Adler’s social psychological and goal oriented view of human nature. Adler stresses that unity of personality contending that people can only be understood as integrated and complete beings. Adler emphasized that where we are striving to go is more important than where we have come form.

7 He saw humans as both the creators and the creations of their own lives; which means that people develop a unique style of living that is both a movement toward and an expression of their selected goals. In this sense we create ourselves rather than merely being shaped by our childhood experiences. After Adler’s death in 1937, Rudolf Drekurs was the most significant figure in bringing Adlerian psychology to the United States, especially as its principles applied to education, individual and group therapy, and family counseling. Dreikurs is credited with giving impetus to the idea of child guidance centers and to training professionals to work with a wide range of clients.

8 VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE Adler abandoned Freud’s basic theories because he believed Freud was excessively narrow in his stress on biological and instinctual determination. Adler holds that the individual begins to form an approach to life somewhere in their first 6 months. Focuses on how the person’s perception of the past and his or her interpretation of earl events has a continuing influence. According to Adler, humans are motivated primarily by social relatedness rather than by sexual urges. Behavior is purposeful and goal-directed Consciousness; more than unconsciousness, which is the focus of therapy

9 Unlike Freud, Adler stresses choice and responsibility, meaning in life The striving for success, completion and perfection Freud and Adler created contrasting theories Their individual and very different childhood experiences in their families were the key factor that shaped their distinctly different views of human nature.

10 Adler’s theory focuses on inferiority feelings, which he sees as a normal condition of all people and as a source of all human striving. Inferiority can be the wellspring of creativity. They motivate us to strive for mastery, success (superiority), and completion Around age 6 our fictional vision of ourselves as perfect or complete begins to form into a life goal. The life goal unifies the personality and becomes the source of human motivation.

11 Every striving and every effort to overcome inferiority is now in line with this goal. From the Adlerian perpective, human behavior is not determined solely by heredity and environment. Instead, we have the capacity to interpret, influence, and create events. Adler asserts that what we were born with is not as important as what we choose to do with the abilities and limitations we possess.

12 Adler’s theory is a psychology of “use” rather than of possession. Although Adlerians reject the deterministic stance of Freud, they do not go to the other extreme and maintain that individuals can become whatever they want to be. Adlerian recognize that biological and environmental conditions limit our capacity to choose and to create. Adlerian put the focus on reeducating individuals and reshaping society.

13 Subjective Perception of Reality Adler was the forerunner of a subjective approach to psychology that focuses on internal determinants of behavior such as values, beliefs, attitudes, goals, interests, and the individual perception of reality. Adler was the pioneer of an approach that is holistic, social, goal-oriented, systemic, and humanistic. Adler was the first systemic therapist, in that he maintained that it is essential to understand people with the systems of which they are a part. Adler attempt to view the world from the client’s subjective frame of reference, an orientation described as phenomenological. It is call this because it pays attention to the individual way in which people perceive their world.

14 This “subjective reality” includes the individual’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, convictions, and conclusions. Behavior is understood from the vantage point of this 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.

15 Unity and Patterns of Human Personality A basis premise of Adlerian Individual Psychology is that personality can only be understood holistically and systemically. The individual is seen as an indivisible whole, born, reared, and living in specific familia, social, and cultural contexts. Human personality becomes unified through development of a life goal. There is more focus on interpersonal relationships than on the individual’s internal psychodynamics.

16 Behavior as purposeful and goal-oriented The concept of the purposeful nature of behavior is perhaps the cornerstone of Adler’s theory. Adler replaced deterministic explanations with purposive, goal oriented one. A basic assumption of Individual Psychology is that we can only think, feel, and act in relation to our perception of our goal. Therefore. We can be fully understood only in light of knowing the purposes and goals toward which we are striving.

17 Adler was influenced by the philosopher Hans Vaihinger’s (1965) view that people live by fictions (or views of how the world should be) Fictional Finalism refer to an imagined central goal that guides a person’s behavior. Adler replaced this term with “guiding self-ideal” and “goal of perfection” to account for our striving toward superiority or perfection.

18 Adler stresses that striving for perfection and coping with inferiority by seeking mastery are innate. An individual core beliefs and assumptions through which the person organizes his or her reality and finds meaning in life events constitutes the individual’s lifestyle. In striving for goals that have meaning to us, we develop a unique style of life. In striving for the goal of superiority, Adlerian believe some individuals develop their intellect, other, their artistic, talent; others, athletic skill; and so on.

19 Social Interest and community feeling Social interest and community feeling are probably Adler’s most significant and distinctive concepts. These terms refer to individuals’ awareness of being part of a human community and to individual’s attitudes in dealing with the social world. Social interest includes striving for a better future for humanity. The socialization process begins at childhood; which involves finding a place in society and acquiring a sense of belonging and of contributing. Social interest is taught, learned and used.

20 Adler equated social interest with a sense of identification and empathy with others: to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another. Social interest is the central indicator of mental health. From the Adlerian perspective, as social interest develops, feelings of inferiority and alienation diminish. People express social interest through shared activity and mutual respect.

21 BIRTH ORDER AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS 5 PSYCHOLOGICAL POSITIONS OLDEST RECEIVE GOOD DEAL OF ATTENTION/SPOIL SECOND OF ONLY TWO ACTS AS THOUGH THEY ARE IN A RACE COMPETITIVE/SEEK WEAKNESS IN #1 MIDDLE FEELS SQEEZED OUT/POOR ME/PROBLEM CHILD YOUNGEST PAMPERED/GO THEIR OWN WAY/NEW WAYS OF DOING THINGS ONLY SHARE CHARACTERISTICS OF AN OLDER CHILD/HIGH ACHIEVER/HARD TO SHARE WITH OTHERS

22 Birth order and the interpretation of one’s position in the family have a great deal to do with how adults interact in the world. Although it is important to avoid stereotyping individuals, it does help to see how certain personality trends that began in childhood as a result of sibling rivalry influence individuals throughout life.

23 The Therapeutic Process/ Adlerian Therapy Therapeutic Goals *The therapeutic process includes forming a relationship based on mutual respect and identifying, exploring, and disclosing mistaken goals and faulty assumptions within the person's style of living. *The main aim of therapy is to develop the client's sense of belonging and to assist in the adoption of behaviors and processes characterized by community feeling and social interest. *Adlerians do not see clients as "sick", instead they view clients as being discouraged. So the goal would be to reeducate clients so that they can live in society as equals, both giving and recieving from others.

24 The Therapeutic Process CONT… *Adlerians believe that encouragement is the most powerful method of changing a person's belief. **Mosak(2000) listed these goals for the educational process of therapy: Fostering social interest Helping clients overcome feelings of discouragement and inferiority Modifying clients' views and goals Changing faulty motivation

25 The Therapeutic Process CONT… Assisting clients to feel a sense of equality with others Helping people to become contributing members of society

26 Therapist's Function and Role *Major function of the therapist is to make comprehensive assessment of the client's functioning. Therapist gather information by means of a: 1. Questionaire on the client's family constellation; parents, siblings, and others in the house. This gives the therapist an idea of the client's early social world. 2. The counselor also uses early recollections as a diagnostic tool. 3. Lifestyle assessment- This is created after the early recollections are summarized and interpreted, and this gives a target for therapy.

27 Client's Experience in Therapy * In the therapy clients explore what Adlerian's call Private Logic- the concepts about self, others, and life that constitute the client's philosophy of life. * The core of the therapy experience consists of clients' discovering the purpose of behavior or symptoms and the basis mistakes associated with their coping. * After a lifestyle assessment is complete the therapist should be able to help the client identify their mistaken ideas about life. * Through therapy, the client will discover that he of she has resources and options to draw on in dealing with significant life issues and life tasks.

28 Relationship Between Therapist and Client Adlerian's consider a good client-therapist relationship to be one between equals that is based on cooperation, mutual trust, respect, confidence, and alignment of goals.

29 Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures Adlerian Brief Therapy (ABT): 4 Phases Phase 1: Establishing the Relationship Working collaboratively and being caring, involved, supportive Making person-to-person contact rather than starting with “the problem”

30 Phase 2: Exploring the Individual’s Dynamics Two Interview Forms: Subjective Interview – Active listening (followed by a sense of wonder, fascination, and interest) to help the client tell their story as completely as possible. Objective Interview – Gathering info as to how the clients’ problems began, precipitating events, medical history, social history, reasons for choosing therapy, coping skills, and a life assessment. “Lifestyle Investigator”: The Family Constellation and Early Recollections

31 Phase 3: Encouraging Self-Understanding and Insight To help the client understand the motivations in their life, understand how they are contributing to their problem, and making adjustments to correct the situation

32 Phase 4: Helping with Reorientation Putting insights into practice Encouragement Process Change and the Search for New Possibilities Making a Difference! Promoting

33 Contributions to Multicultural Counseling Adlerian theory addressed social inequities long before it became a focal point in the profession

34 Adler’s multicultural approach to counseling include the following ideas The importance of the cultural context The emphasis on health as opposed to pathology A holistic perspective on life The value of understanding individuals in terms of their core goals and purposes The ability to exercise freedom within the context of social constraints The focus on prevention and the development of a proactive approach in dealing with problems

35 Adlerian theory encourages clients to define themselves within their social environment, therefore, making the approach a good one when dealing with a culturally diverse population. Culture is defined broadly including age, roles, lifestyle, and gender differences. Adler advocated for equality for women. When practiced appropriately and competently, it is difficult to identify major multicultural limitations. Adlerian approach seeks to find opportunities for viewing the self, others, and the world from different cultures perspectives. The strengths of one culture can often help correct the mistakes in another.

36 Summary and Evaluation Individual Psychology assumes that people are: motivated by social factors responsible for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions the creators of their own lives are impelled by purposes and goals

37 The goal is to help clients identify and change their mistaken beliefs about self, others, and life and thus participate more fully in a social world. Clients are not seen as mentally sick but as discouraged. The client and therapist work collaboratively to challenge the client to translate the client’s insights into action in the real world. Major contributions include elementary education, consultation groups with teachers, parent education groups, marriage and family therapy, and group counseling.

38 Adlerian therapists are mainly concerned with doing what’s best for the client rather than squeezing them into a theoretical framework. The theory lends itself to short-term formats. This is beneficial to a client to help them believe change can occur in a short amount of time. Adler influenced many other therapy systems. They are all based on the concept of the person as purposive, self-determining, and striving for growth. Adlerians’ basic premise is that if clients can change their thinking then they can change their feelings and behavior.

39 Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory Adler chose to teach and practice over getting organized and presenting a well- defined systematic theory, making his written presentations difficult to follow. More research needed to support the effectiveness of the theory. Limited use for clients seeking immediate solutions to their problems and unwilling to explore childhood experiences, early memories, and dreams.


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