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Alfred Adler

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Alfred Adler. Biography. Born in 1870 in Vienna Second child of the family; older brother was Sigmund, younger brother, Rudolph, died in childhood Was a frail child who had several brushes with death Became a doctor to learn how to defeat death - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Alfred Adler

Carl Jung

Alfred AdlerBiographyBorn in 1870 in ViennaSecond child of the family; older brother was Sigmund, younger brother, Rudolph, died in childhoodWas a frail child who had several brushes with deathBecame a doctor to learn how to defeat deathGraduated from the University of Vienna in 1895 and set up his own practiceMarried Raissa Epstein and had four childrenDisagreements with Freud1902: invited to join Freuds Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and eventually became president of it1911: left the group because of heated disagreements with Freud and the others over the idea that pleasure and sexuality were the prime motivators for humansSet up his own society called the Society for free Psychoanalysis (later changed to the Society for Individual Psychology).Individual PsychologyAdler named his theory Individual Psychology because he believed that human motivations were complex and unique to the individual.He thought humans were motivated by their perceived niche in society.Like Jung, he believed in the teleological (goal-directed) nature of humans.Also much more concerned than Freud was with social conditions.Believed that people had to take preventive measures to avoid personality disturbances.Inferiority Complex1930: Adler wrote that a central core of personality was striving for superiority. Inferiority complex arises when people feel overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness or powerlessness that leaves them feeling inferior.Normal feelings of incompetence become exaggerated, and person feels hopeless that goals can be achieved. Dealing with InferiorityPeople deal with inferiority in two ways:Compensation: trying to build up the weak areas and concentrate on other areas. Motivated to strive from a felt minus (feeling of inferiority) to a felt plus (feelings of superiority, perfection, and totality).Motivating force behind all behavior is called Striving for Perfection or Superioritythe desire for competence and mastery over ones environment.More on overcoming inferioityMasculine protestthe way in which a person strives for competence and independence rather than being merely an outgrowth of his or her parentsPerfection strivingpeople spend their lives trying to meet their fictional goals (sometimes called fictional finalism)imagined future achievements.Superiority ComplexAn exaggerated arrogance in an attempt to maintain ones self-worth and overcome an inferiority complex.Perceived as obnoxious by others.Two additions to Adler's theoryAdlers theory started changing as his thoughts about human motivation changed.Organ inferioritythe idea that everyone is born with some physical weakness where incapacity or disease is most likely to take root. The body tries to compensate for the weakness in another areaan important motivator of life choices.Aggressive drivea reaction to perceived helplessness/inferioritylashing out against inability to master something. Style of LifeEstablished by age 4 or 5 using the Creative Self, the dynamic force that allows us to use our experiences and heredity to construct our style of life, including goals, self-concept, feelings for others, and attitudes toward the world.The interaction between heredity, environment, and ones creative power.Should not be rigid or inflexible.Can be identified through early memories.Doesnt matter if memories are true or not.Represents ones first perceptions of self and world.

Social issuesAdler was very concerned about three fundamental social issues, which are all intertwined:Occupational taskschoosing/pursuing a career that makes one feel worthwhile.Societal taskscreating friendships/social networksLove tasksfinding a suitable life partner.Adler's TypologyBased on the Greek notion of temperamental humors

Greek HumorsGreek TypeSocial InterestActivityAdlers TypeYellow bileCholericLowHighRuling-DominantPhlegmPhlegmaticLowLowGetting-leaningBlack bileMelancholicVery lowLowAvoidingBloodSanguineHighHighSocially UsefulRuling/DominantAggressive & domineering May bully othersMay be passive-aggressive (suicide attempts, addictions)Seeks to dominate others in some way

Getting-leaningTakes from othersSomewhat passiveDependent on others for everythingMost common type, according to AdlerAvoidingConquers problems by running awayTries not to deal with problems at allPhobias are an exampleSocially usefulMeets problems realisticallyCooperative and caringThe only orientation thought to grow out of early experiencesInnate trait that makes all humans value societal contributions and helping othersMost productive way to compensate for feelings of inferiorityThe more socially oriented, the healthier the person: Gemeinschaftsgefuhl

Maladjustment in NeuroticsUnderdeveloped social interestLive in their own private worldSet their goals too highHave rigid and dogmatic style of lifeMight develop in children with physical/intellectual disabilitiesthe mind sees the body as a burden, and they become self-centered (egoistic) as a result.Road to physical & mental health is overcome self-centeredness.Safeguarding StrategiesNeurosis creates a need for safeguarding strategies, similar to defense mechanisms.Excuses or rationalizing strategies (Yes, but; If only)Aggressive strategies (open or disguised hostility toward others)Depreciation (devalue others through threats or inflating own value)Accusation (blame othersno personal responsibility)Self-accusation (blame self in such a way that it attracts attention, sympathysometimes induces guilt in others)Distancing strategiesavoiding situations and problems; avoiding challengesParenting: Mom's perspectiveSocial interest arises from mother-child relationship during first months of infancyMom needs to foster a bond that encourages childs social interest and fosters a sense of cooperationMom should be centered on her childs well-being not her own needs and wants.If she favors the child over the father, child may become spoiled or pampered. If she favors father over child, child may feel neglected and unloved.Parenting: Father's perspectiveFather must show caring attitude toward wife and othersIdeal father cooperates on equal footing with mother in caring for child & treating child as human beingSuccessful father avoids the errors of emotional detachment and paternal authoritarianism.Emotionally detached fathers child has a sense of neglect and warped social interest; parasitic attachment to MomPaternal authoritarianism sees Dad as tyrant; strives for power and personal superiorityImportance of ParentsAdler believed parents were so important early in life that the relationship with mother and father smothers the effects of heredity.By the time a child is 5, the effects of heredity become blurred by the powerful influences of the childs social environment.By this time, environmental forces have shaped or modified nearly every aspect of childs personality.Birth Order EffectsAdler believed that birth order was an important factor in determining personality.First child: the worst position to be in. Second-borns: the best positionLast-borns: second worst positionBirth order has generated a lot of research.

Adler's view of birth order effectsBirth OrderPositive traitsNegative traitsOldest childNurturing and protective of othersGood organizerHighly anxious, exaggerated feelings of power, unconscious hostility; fights for acceptance; must always be right; highly critical of others; uncooperativeSecond childHighly motivated, cooperative, and moderately competitiveHighly competitive; easily distractedYoungest childRealistically ambitiousPampered; dependent on others; wants to excel in everything; unrealistically ambitiousOnly childrenSocially matureExaggerated feelings of superiority; low feelings of cooperation; inflated sense of self; pamperedResearch about Firstborns/Only childrenMore achievement-oriented and perfectionist. Also more visits to mental health clinicsMore likely to support parental authorityLess open to new ideasMore responsible, ambitious, organized, academically successful, energetic, self-disciplined, and conscientious.Negative side: more neurotic, anxious, temperamentalMore assertive and dominantMiddle-bornsLots of research on these childrenLess likely to define self-identities by their familiesFeel less close to families; more into friends than siblingsMore rebellious, impulsive, less conscientiousLess likely to ask parents for help or visit parentsReport feeling less loved as childrenMore likely to live farther apart from parentsLater-bornsCharmer of the familyMore agreeableWarmerMore idealisticEasygoing, trusting, accommodating, altruistic, adventurousProne to fantasy, attracted by novelty; untraditionalMore sociable, affectionate, fun-loving, excitement-seeking, and more self-conscious.Bottom line on birth order effectsNot shown consistently across studiesBirth order alone is not as big of a factor as birth order combined with other factors such as number of children, level of conflict between each child and parents, gender of the children, spacing between children, temperament, social class, and loss of parent.Birth order studies usually do not separate biological birth order from rearing order. They need to do this.Social InterestFor Adler, social interest was of supreme importance. Not synonymous with charity.The sole yardstick for measuring psychological healthThe sole criterion for human valuesThe only gauge for judging ones worth and the value of a life.To the degree that people possess true social interest, they are psychologically mature.