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Rudolf Dreikurs (1897-1972) was an Austrian-born psychiatrist and author who took Alfred Adler’s method of individual psychiatry and turned it into a practical method called the Social Discipline Model. A lifelong disciple of Adler, Dreikurs was a founding member of the North American Society of Alderian Psychology.
Dreikurs was born and raised in Vienna, and graduated from the University of Vienna. As director of a child guidance center, Dreikurs began to apply Alder’s theories to family and educational settings. Dreikurs fled the persecution of the Nazi Party in 1937, taking a faculty position at the University of Chicago, working with Adler.
Rudolf Dreikurs' Social Discipline model
Dreikurs’ Social Discipline model uses the four basic premises of Adler’s theories, concluding:
- human are social beings and belonging is the most basic motivator
- all behaviors have a purpose
- human beings are decision-makers
- we only perceive reality and our perception may be either mistaken or biased.
Dreikurs famously maintained that misbehaviors in children had a specific purpose, and promoted logical consequences over reward or punishment. Dreikurs held that children are seeking their place within the group and that some children conclude that the only way to function within the group is to misbehave in order to maintain status. Dreikurs then formulated techniques in order to redirect and address misbehaviors.