Alfred Adler Essay Research Paper Adler Alfred

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Alfred Adler Essay, Research Paper Adler, Alfred Adler, Alfred (1870-1937), Austrian psychologist and psychiatrist, born in Vienna, and educated at Vienna University. After leaving the university he studied and was associated with Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. In 1911 Adler left the orthodox psychoanalytic school to found a neo-Freudian school of psychoanalysis. After 1926 he was a visiting professor at Columbia University, and in 1935 he and his family moved to the United States. In his analysis of individual development, Adler stressed the sense of inferiority, rather than sexual drives, as the motivating force in human life. According to Adler, conscious or subconscious feelings of inferiority (to which he gave the name inferiority complex), combined with

compensatory defense mechanisms, are the basic causes of psychopathological behavior. The function of the psychoanalyst, furthermore, is to discover and rationalize such feelings and break down the compensatory, neurotic will for power that they engender in the patient. Adler’s works include The Theory and Practice of Individual Psychology (1918) and The Pattern of Life (1930). Alfred Adler studied personality around the time of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung but developed very different ideas (Cloninger, 1996). Although he changed his theory many times during his lifetime, he always believed people had control over their lives and made choices concerning themselves. He named his theory Individual Psychology because he felt each person was unique and no previous theory applied to

all people. Adler?s theory is comprised primarily of four aspects: striving towards superiority, the unity of personality, the development of personality, and psychological health, which includes intervention. Motivation of Actions Adler believed the main goal of all people is to move to a better way of life, although he admits the ways to achieve this goal varies among people (Cloninger, 1996). He first used the term inferiority complex as being overcome by feelings of lack of worth. In other words, the person is not achieving their goal to moving positively in life. People wish to move from feelings of inferiority to superiority. He wrote, “We all wish to overcome difficulties. We all strive to reach a goal by the attainment of which we shall feel strong, superior, and

complete” (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). Superior and superiority, in his usage, has a slightly different meaning than what is commonly thought. It is not necessarily feelings of superiority over others but more along the lines of self-improvement, such as striving for one?s personal best. He eventually switched from superiority striving to simply perfection striving. This was the final stage in the development of his theory. Alder also used the word superiority complex. This complex occurred when a person tried to overcome their inferiority complex by repressing their actual feelings. They are usually very arrogant and tend to exaggerate their achievements. Along with the idea of trying to overcome inferiority, Adler claimed that every person had an idea about what their

perfect self would be like (Cloninger, 1996). He called this imagined goal the fictional finalism. Fictional finalism gives clearer direction as to what decisions to make concerning oneself. Although people may have some idea about their goal, they rarely fully comprehend it. Also, throughout one?s lifetime the goal may be altered. The general direction, however, usually remains the same. Adler wrote, “. . .in every mental phenomenon we discover anew the characteristic of pursuit of a goal, and all our powers, faculties, experiences, wishes and fears, defects and capacities fall into line with this characteristic” (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). Adler believed that it was impossible to understand a person without understanding that person?s fictional finalism. Unity of