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Adlerian Theory

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  • 1. Adlerian Therapy
    • Alfred Adler
  • 2. Alfred Adler biography
    • Alfred Adler – 1870 Vienna, Austria
    • 2 nd born of six
    • Middle-class Jewish family
    • Close to mother until younger brother then sought
    • the support of his father
    • Developed rickets, which kept him from walking until
    • he was four years old
    • Nearly died of pneumonia at five
      • Co-founder of the psychoanalytic movement as a
      • core member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society
      • Founder of  the school of Individual Psychology
            • Was the first major figure to break away from 
      • psychoanalysis to form an independent school of psychotherapy and personality theory
            • Died in 1937 of Heart Attack
  • 3. Adlerian Therapy
      • -a therapy of teaching, informing and encouraging the client, in order to help the client fix basic mistakes in their personal logic, and the therapeutic relationship is a collaborative one.
  • 4.
    • Focuses on the feelings of self that arise from interactions and conflicts. (ego)
    • *Ego - the central core of personality; it is what makes someone an individual
    • Childhood experiences are not necessarily important - what is important is our perception of these experiences, it is not unconscious instincts and our past that determine behavior but our present perceptions.
    • Social Interest – a feeling of being part of the social whole and wanting to contribute to the general social good ( an interest in others and an interest in the interests of others )
    • Emphasized the conscious as central to the development of the personality
    • Individuals strive to become successful
    Adlerian Therapy
  • 5.
    • Stresses a positive view of human nature and that we are in control of our own fate and not a victim to it
    • All behaviors are goal-directed & purposeful
    • People initially feel inferior to others and develop an inferiority complex
    • People who overcompensate their feelings of inferiority develop a superiority complex
    • Future goals influence people as much their past
    •   Developing empathy is one of the basic objectives, or ‘to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another’
  • 6. Birth order is important, and that it motivates later behavior.
    • Firstborns:
    • Monarch of the family
    • Receive all the attention, the parents practice on them.
    • They strive to achieve, behave and please.
    • Are parent substitutes for their siblings.
    • When another sibling is born, they are dethroned and may become resentful or overcompensate with power and authority
  • 7.
    • Secondborns
    • Don’t worry about power and authority, are never dethroned.
    • Usually are more outgoing, carefree and creative and less concerned with rules.
    • Usually are the opposite of the firstborn
  • 8.
    • Middle children – feel squeezed in & treated unfairly. They learn the art of negotiation & understand family politics. Often are manipulative and make reasoned choices about where to find success
    • Youngest children – receive a great deal of attention from others, expect others to care for them. Can be quite charming and funny but have a hard time breaking out of the baby role Can become spoiled but often can be quite successful if the older siblings are good role models
  • 9.
    • The therapist will gather as much family history as they can. 
    • They will use this data to help set goals for the client and to get an idea of the clients' past performance. This will help make certain the goal is not to low or high, and that the client has the means to reach it.
    • The goal of Adlerian Therapy is to challenge and encourage the clients' premises and goals .  To encourage goals that are useful socially and to help them feel equal.  These goals maybe from any component of life including, parenting skills, marital skills, ending substance-abuse, and most anything else.
    • The therapist will focus on and examine the clients' lifestyle and the therapist will try to form a mutual respect and trust for each other. 
    • They will then mutually set goals and the therapist will provide encouragement to the client in reaching their goals. 
    • The therapist may also assign homework, setup contracts between them and the client, and make suggestions on how the client can reach their goals.
  • 10. Several practical techniques are used in Adlerian therapy
      • Life Tasks. There are five basic obligations and opportunities: occupation, society, love, self development, and spiritual development. These are used to help determine therapeutic goals.
      • Interpretation . Adlerians express insights to their clients that relate to clients' goals. Interpretations often focus on the family constellation and social interest.
      • Immediacy . Communicating the experience of the therapist to the client about what is happening in the moment.
    •   Encouragement . used to build a relationship and to foster client change. Supporting clients in changing beliefs and behaviors is a part of encouragement.
      • Acting as if. clients are asked to "act as if" a behavior will be effective. Clients are encouraged to try a new role, the way they might try on new clothing.
  • 11.
    • Catching Oneself. P atients learn to notice that they are performing behaviors which they wish to change,. When they catch themselves, they may have an "Aha" response.
      • Aha Response . Developing a sudden insight into a solution to a problem, as one becomes aware to one's beliefs and behaviors.
      • Avoiding the Tar Baby. By not falling into a trap that the client sets by using faulty assumptions, the therapist encourages new behavior and "avoids the tar baby" (getting stuck in the client's perception of the problem).
      • The question. Asking "what would be different if you were well?" was a means Adler used to determine if a person's problem was physiological or psychological
    • Spitting in the client’s soup. Requires the counselor to make certain behaviors less attractive to the client
      • Homework. Specific behaviors or activities that clients are asked to do after a therapy session
    Several practical techniques are used in Adlerian therapy
  • 12. Advantages of Adlerian therapy
      • It can be used for numerous issues and disorders.
      • Uses encouragement.
      • It is phenomenological.
      • It does not consider people to be predisposed to anything.
  • 13. Disadvantages of Adlerian therapy
      • The amount of family and lifestyle information that is collected.
      • Sometimes difficult to do the interpretations, especially the dreams.
      • Adlerian therapy works best with highly verbal and intelligent clients. This might leave out many people who do not fit that category.
      • Might be too lengthy for managed care.
      • Adlerians do not like to make diagnoses as it labels people.

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