Adler and Psychology
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Alfred Adler (1870-1937) was a close associate of Sigmund Freud until his split, becoming an adversary whose theory was the antithesis of Freud’s. While Freud’s theory of depth psychology was an objective one, Adler’s was subjective, the individual was the center of his work. Adler differed from Freud in the following ways:
- He presented his theory as Individual Psychology.
- He described the human as goal-oriented, making choices rather than being solely driven by instincts.
- He viewed people as wanting to be part of groups and identify with them.
- Because of this group identity and the social relationships that develop in families and the community, the person’s emotional and physical health is affected for the better or adversely.
People develop their lives around social interest and their primary life tasks of work, friendship and intimacy (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1964).
Alfred Adler's Concepts
Many of his concepts have entered common usage in psychology without his being given credit. Ansbacher and Ansbacher (1964) attribute this to his obscure writing which prompted students of psychology to seek out more lucid writers who could more clearly explain the concepts he wrote about. These concepts include feelings of inferiority and insecurity, the striving for power and self-enhancement, the oversolicitous mother, the dethroning of the first born, and the need for affection. His was an optimistic theory and therapy that viewed the individual as ever changing and striving for a successful life. Over the past years, psychologists and psychiatrists have begun studying his works because they are in tune with modern society.