Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology
Social interest is
Birth order and sibling
Therapy as teaching,
informing and encouraging
Basic mistakes in the
client’s private logic
relationship — a collaborative partnership
The Phenomenological Approach
Adlerians attempt to
view the world from the client’s subjective frame of reference
How life is in reality
is less important than how the individual believes
It is not the childhood
experiences that are crucial ~
it is our present interpretation of these events
and our past do not determine our behavior
Adler’s most significant
and distinctive concept
Refers to an
individual’s attitude toward and awareness of being a part of the
Mental health is measured by the degree to which we successfully
share with others and are concerned with their welfare
Happiness and success
are largely related to social connectedness
Oldest child ~ receives more attention, spoiled,
center of attention
2) Second of
only two ~ behaves as if in a race, often opposite to first child
~ often feels squeezed out
~ the baby
5) Only ~
does not learn to share or cooperate with other children, learns
to deal with adults
Encouragement is the most
powerful method available for changing a person’s beliefs
self-confidence and stimulates courage
Discouragement is the
basic condition that prevents people from functioning
Clients are encouraged
to recognize that they have the power to choose
to act differently
• Both normal and neurotic people create
symptoms as a means of protecting their fragile self-esteem. These safeguarding
tendencies maintain a neurotic style of life and protect a person from
public disgrace. Similar to Freud’s concept of defense mechanisms
The goal of Adlerian
therapy is to create a relationship between therapist and patient that fosters
the patient’s social interest, courage, and self-esteem. To ensure that the
patient’s social interest will eventually generalize to other relationships,
the therapist adopts both a maternal and a paternal role.
Twelve Stages of Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy
1) Empathy and Relationship Stage:
Establishing an empathic, cooperative, working
relationship. Offering hope, reassurance, and encouragement.
2) Information Stage:
of relevant information. Details of presenting problem and overview of general
functioning. Exploration of early childhood situation, memories, and dreams.
thinking with Socratic questioning. Evaluating consequences of ideas and
behavior. Correcting mistaken ideas about self and others.
Encouraging thinking and
behavior in a new direction. Beginning to move in a new direction, away from
life style. Clarifying feelings about effort and results.
5) Interpretation and
feelings, style of life, and fictional final goal of superiority. Identifying
what has been in avoided in development. Integrating birth order, earliest
recollections, and dreams.
6) Knowing Stage:
self-awareness of life style and feelings about new successes. Client knows
what needs to be done but may feel blocked.
When needed, promoting
emotional breakthroughs with "missing experiences" that correct past
or present negative influences. Use of role-playing, guided imagery, and group
8) Doing Differently
Converting insight into
a different attitude. Experimenting with concrete actions based on abstract
ideas. Comparing new and old behavior.
Encouraging all new
movements toward significant change. Affirming positive results and feelings.
Evaluating progress and new courage.
10) Social Interest
Using client's better
feelings to extend cooperation and caring about other people. Learning to give
generously of oneself and to take necessary risks. Awakening feeling of
11) Goal Redirection
Challenging client to
let go of self and the old fictional goal. Dissolving the style of life and
adopting new values. Discovering a new psychological horizon.
12) Support and
Launching client into a
new, creative, gratifying way of living for self and others. Learning to love
the struggle and prefer the unfamiliar. Promoting a path of continual growth
for self and others.
Cognitve, Affective, & Behavioral Change
strategies stimulate cognitive, affective, and behavioral change. The Socratic
method guides clients to insights that generate decisions and plans for action.
Guided and eidetic imagery, as well as "missing experience"
techniques facilitate affective change and growth. Role-playing and
"future scenarios" provide safe and encouraging behavioral
preparation and practice.
psychotherapy attempts to bring each individual to an optimal level of
personal, interpersonal, and occupational functioning. For some clients, brief
therapy is the limit of their interest or budget and therapy stops at the
fourth stage of treatment. For others, after completing the twelve stages,
philosophical and/or spiritual issues are discussed.
Early Recollections and Personal Traits
Research shows that
early recollections are related to a number of personal traits, such as birth
order, depression, college major, alcoholism, criminal behavior, and eating
disorder. Nichols and Feist (1994) showed that optimists and pessimists
had quite different early recollections. In general, they found that optimists
were more likely to include other people in their ERs, see themselves as
active, have clear and vivid ERs, have more sustained interpersonal
interactions in their ERs, recall events in which they gained success, and have
more pleasant ERs.
Early Recollections and Psychotherapy Outcomes
Research has also shown
that early recollections are related to success in counseling and
psychotherapy. For example, Savill and Eckstein (1987) found that patients
receiving therapy changed their ERs from pre- to post-treatment. In addition,
Statton and Wilborn (1991) demonstrated that change as a result of counseling
may be capable of producing changes in early recollections.