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Alfred Adler1870 - 1937

Alfred Adlerwas a physician, psychotherapist, and the founder of Adlerian psychology, sometimes called individual psychology.He is considered the first community psychologist, because his work pioneered attention to community life, prevention, and population health.

Alfred AdlerAdlerian psychology emphasizes the human need and ability to create positive social change and impact.He held equality, civil rights, mutual respect, and the advancement of democracy as core values.He was one of the first practitioners to provide family and group counseling and to use public education as a way to address community health.

Alfred Adler- He was among the first to write about the social determinants of health and of mental health. His values and concepts drive the mission, work, and values at the Adler University today.

His LifeAlfred Adler was born on February 7, 1870 in Vienna.He was the second son and third child of a Jewish grain merchant and his wife.

His LifeAlfred did not walk until he was four because he suffered from rickets. At the age of five, he almost died of pneumonia.These events are what motivated him to became a physician. Growing up, Alfred was a very outgoing, popular, and involved scholar.

His LifeAfter graduating with a medical degree in 1895 from the University of Vienna, he began his career as an ophthalmologist, but soon switched to general practice in a less affluent area of Vienna near an amusement park and circus.

His LifeWorking with people from the circus, Adler was inspired by the performers unusual strengths and weaknesses.

His WorksIn 1907 Adler was invited to meet with Sigmund Freud.Adler and Freud, along with Rudolf Reitler and Wilhelm Stekel, began meeting weekly during Wednesday Night Meetings that eventually grew to begin the psychoanalytic movement. Together, they formed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, of which Adler was the first president.

His WorksHis best-known work isThe Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology(1923). Adler had a tendency to change his theory on personality throughout his life but he ultimately believed that people are focused on maintaining control over their lives. He believed in single "drive" or motivating force behind our behavior, claiming that the desire we have to fulfill our potentials becomes closer and closer to our ideals.

His WorksAlthough Freud looked upon Adler as one of his first disciples, Adler never viewed himself that way, and broke with Freud and Freudian psychoanalysis in 1911. Many of Adlers concepts and ideas were separate from Freuds, particularly regarding the importance of the social realm. Adler used these ideas to form individual psychology, and founded the Society of Individual Psychology in 1912.

His WorksAfter serving as a doctor in the Austrian Army in World War I, Adler established a series of child guidance clinics in Austria and embarked on extensive lecture tours in the United States and Europe.After his Austrian clinics were closed due to his Jewish heritage, Adler emigrated to the United States where he began a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine.

His WorksIn 1937, while on a lecture tour in Aberdeen, Scotland, with his student and Adler University founder Rudolph Dreikers, Alfred Adler died of a heart attack. His body was cremated in Edinburgh, but the ashes were never reclaimed. They were rediscovered in a casket at Warriston Crematorium and returned to Vienna for burial in 2011.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaUnity of the IndividualThinking, feeling, emotion, and behavior can only be understood as subordinated to the individual's style of life, or consistent pattern of dealing with life. The individual is not internally divided or the battleground of conflicting forces. Each aspect of the personality points in the same direction.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaGoal OrientationThere is one central personality dynamic derived from the growth and forward movement of life itself. It is a future-oriented striving toward a goal of significance, superiority, or success. In mental health, it is a realistic goal of socially useful significance or superiority over general difficulties. In mental disorders, it is an unrealistic goal of exaggerated significance or superiority over others. CONT.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaGoal OrientationThe early childhood feeling of inferiority, for which one aims to compensate, leads to the creation of a fictional final goal which subjectively seems to promise future security and success. The depth of the inferiority feeling usually determines the height of the goal which then becomes the "final cause" of behavior patterns.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaSelf-Determination and UniquenessA person's fictional goal may be influenced by hereditary and cultural factors, but it ultimately springs from the creative power of the individual, and is consequently unique. Usually, individuals are not fully aware of their goal. Through the analysis of birth order, repeated coping patterns, and earliest memories, the psychotherapist infers the goal as a working hypothesis.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaSocial ContextAs an indivisible whole, a system, the human being is also a part of larger wholes or systems -- the family, the community, all of humanity, our planet, and the cosmos. In these contexts, we meet the three important life tasks: occupation, love and sex, and our relationship with other people -- all social challenges. Our way of responding to our first social system, the family constellation, may become the prototype of our world view and attitude toward life.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaThe Feeling of CommunityEach human being has the capacity for learning to live in harmony with society. This is an innate potential for social connectedness which has to be consciously developed. Social interest and feeling imply "social improvement," quite different from conformity, leaving room for social innovation even through cultural resistance or rebellion. The feeling of genuine security is rooted in a deep sense of belonging and embeddedness within the stream of social evolution.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaMental HealthA feeling of human connectedness and a willingness to develop oneself fully and contribute to the welfare of others are the main criteria of mental health. When these qualities are underdeveloped, feelings of inferiority may haunt an individual, or an attitude of superiority may antagonize others.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaMental HealthConsequently, the unconscious fictional goal will be self-centered and emotionally or materially exploitive of other people. When the feeling of connectedness and the willingness to contribute are stronger, a feeling of equality emerges, and the individual's goal will be self-transcending and beneficial to others.CONT.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaTreatmentAdlerian individual psychotherapy, brief therapy, couple therapy, and family therapy follow parallel paths. Clients are encouraged to overcome their feelings of insecurity, develop deeper feelings of connectedness, and to redirect their striving for significance into more socially beneficial directions. Through a respectful Socratic dialogue, they are challenged to correct mistaken assumptions, attitudes, behaviors, and feelings about themselves and the world. CONT.

Adlerian Seven Critical IdeaTreatmentConstant encouragement stimulates clients to attempt what was believed impossible. The growth of confidence, pride, and gratification leads to a greater desire and ability to cooperate. The objective of therapy is to replace exaggerated self-protection, self-enhancement, and self-indulgence with courageous social contribution.