Theories of Counseling-Adlerian

Theories of Counseling Adlerian

I am not personally familiar with the work of Alfred Adler. Actually the Freudian and psychodyamic theories of counseling have not impacted my personal style directly, but their humanistic development has.

So I am quoting from Wikipedia in regards to basic background information on the theory of counseling created by Adler.

I hope you find it useful.

From Wikipedia, "Adler was influenced by the mental construct ideas of the philosopher Hans Vaihinger (The Philosophy of As If/Philosophie des Als Ob) and the literature of Dostoevsky. While still a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society he developed a theory of organic inferiority and compensation that was the prototype for his later turn to phenomenology and the development of his famous concept, the inferiority complex.

Adler was also influenced by the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Rudolf Virchow and the statesman Jan Smuts (who coined the term "holism"). Adler's School, known as "Individual Psychology"—an arcane reference to the Latin individuus meaning indivisibility, a term intended to emphasize holism—is both a social and community psychology as well as a depth psychology. Adler was an early advocate in psychology for prevention and emphasized the training of parents, teachers, social workers and so on in democratic approaches that allow a child to exercise their power through reasoned decision making whilst co-operating with others. He was a social idealist, and was known as a socialist in his early years of association with psychoanalysis (1902–1911). His allegiance to Marxism dissipated over time (he retained Marx's social idealism yet distanced himself from Marx's economic theories).

Adler (1938) was a very pragmatic man and believed that lay people could make practical use of the insights of psychology. He sought to construct a social movement united under the principles of "Gemeinschaftsgefuehl" (community feeling) and social interest (the practical actions that are exercised for the social good). Adler was also an early supporter of feminism in psychology and the social world believing that feelings of superiority and inferiority were often gendered and expressed symptomatically in characteristic masculine and feminine styles. These styles could form the basis of psychic compensation and lead to mental health difficulties. Adler also spoke of "safeguarding tendencies" and neurotic behavior long before Anna Freud wrote about the same phenomena in her book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense.

Adlerian-based scholarly, clinical and social practices focus on the following topics:

* Mental Health Prevention * Social Interest and Community Feeling * Holism and the Creative Self * Fictional Finalism, Teleology, and Goal constructs * Psychological and Social Encouragement * Inferiority, Superiority and Compensation * Life Style / Style of Life * Early Recollections (a projective technique) * Family Constellation and Birth Order * Life Tasks & Social Embeddedness * The Conscious and Unconscious realms * Private Logic & Common Sense (based in part on Kant's "sensus communis") * Symptoms and Neurosis * Safeguarding Behaviour * Guilt and Guilt Feelings * Socratic Questioning * Dream Interpretation * Child and Adolescent Psychology * Democratic approaches to Parenting and Families * Adlerian Approaches to Classroom Management * Leadership and Organisational Psychology

From its inception, Adlerian psychology has always included both professional and lay adherents. Indeed, Adler felt that all people could make use of the scientific insights garnered by psychology and he welcomed everyone, from decorated academics to those with no formal education to participate in spreading the principles of Adlerian psychology.

Personality in the Adlerian Theory of Counseling

Adler's approach to personality

Adler's book, Über den nervösen Charakter (The Neurotic Character) defines his earlier key ideas. He argued that human personality could be explained teleologically, separate strands dominated by the guiding purpose of the individual's unconscious self ideal to convert feelings of inferiority to superiority (or rather completeness). The desires of the self ideal were countered by social and ethical demands. If the corrective factors were disregarded and the individual over-compensated, then an inferiority complex would occur, fostering the danger of the individual becoming egocentric, power-hungry and aggressive or worse. Common therapeutic tools include the use of humor, historical instances, and paradoxical injunctions.

Psychodynamics and teleology

Adler believed that human psychology is psychodynamic in nature yet unlike Freud's metapsychology, which emphasizes instinctual demands, human psychology is guided by goals and fuelled by a yet unknown creative force. Like Freud's instincts, Adler's fictive goals are largely unconscious. These goals have a "teleological" function. Constructivist Adlerians, influenced by neo-Kantian and Nietzschean ideas, view these "teleological" goals as "fictions" in the sense that Hans Vaihinger spoke of (fictio). Usually there is a fictional final goal which can be deciphered alongside of innumerable sub-goals. The inferiority / superiority dynamic is constantly at work through various forms of compensation and over-compensation. For example, in anorexia nervosa the fictive final goal is to "be perfectly thin" (overcompensation on the basis of a feeling of inferiority). Hence, the fictive final goal can serve a persecutory function that is ever-present in subjectivity (though its trace springs are usually unconscious). The end goal of being "thin" is fictive however since it can never be subjectively achieved.

Teleology also serves another vital function for Adlerians. Chilon's "hora telos" ("see the end, consider the consequences") provides for both healthy and maladaptive psychodynamics. Here we also find Adler's emphasis on personal responsibility in mentally healthy subjects who seek their own and the social good (Slavik & King, 2007).

Alfred Adler at Wikipedia 

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