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Alfred Adler (1870-1937) is one of the founders of modern psychology, along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Adler’s school of thought is referred to as individual psychology and his theories place importance on inferiority in the development of personality.
Alfred Adler’s theories were developed following his break from Freud, who called his ideas contrary. Adler preferred to the see the individual as a whole, rather than a subdivided consciousness. Adler’s theories focus on a number of personality aspects, including social interest of the individual, inferiority, birth order and family structure, guilt, adolescent psychology and organizational psychology.
Alfred Adler and The Neurotic Character
In his book, The Neurotic Character, Adler maintained that a human’s personality could be explained teleologically, that is the unconscious works to convert feelings of inferiority towards completeness. The individual’s desires are balanced by social and ethical demands, but an unrestrained inferiority complex could result in narcissism or egocentrism.
Adler’s theories also include personality types. Adler developed four:
- The getting type - An antisocial individual who does not give back;
- The avoiding type - Who hate rejection and do not take risks;
- The dominant type - Who control others and strive for power;
- The socially useful type - Outgoing individuals who strive to actively make changes for the good.