1. Form A -‐ Peter ‘Max’ Quinn Critical Evaluation Format CN528 Counseling & Development Professor Ciri -‐ November 21, 2011 Theory: Adlerian Theory KEY CONCEPTS OF Adlerian Theory: View of Human Nature / Basic Assumptions Underlying Adlerian Theory § Behavior is purposeful & Goal-‐directed § Consciousness more than Unconsciousness § Choice & Responsibility § Meaning in Life § Striving for success, completion and perfection § Driven to overcome our sense of inferiority -‐ Motivate us to strive for mastery, success (superiority) and completion § The Life Goal unifies the personality and becomes the source of human motivation § Humans have the capacity to interpret, influence, and create events § Genetics and heredity are not as important as what we choose to do with the abilities and limitations we possess § Recognize that biological & environmental conditions limit our capacity to choose and to create § Focus on reeducation & reshaping of society § Focus on internal determinants of behavior (values, beliefs, attitudes, goals, interested, and the individual perception of reality) § It is essential to understand people within the systems that they live Most Important concepts of Adlerian Theory: Subjective Perception of Reality § View the world from the students subjective frame of reference -‐ Basic factor explaining behavior § Phenomenology -‐ The individual way in which people perceive their world § Subjective Reality -‐ Individuals perceptions, thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, convictions, and conclusions § Objective reality is less important than how we interpret reality and the meanings we attach to what we experience Unity & Patterns of Human Personality § Understanding the Whole-‐Student (Individual Psychology) o How all the dimensions of a person are interconnected components, and how all of these components are unified by the individuals movement toward a life goal § Emphasis on unity and indivisibility of the student § Holistic Concept -‐ We cannot be understood in parts, but all aspects of ourselves must be understood in relationship § Understanding the Whole-‐Student within their socially embedded contexts of family, culture, school, and work § We are social, creative, decision-‐making beings who act with purpose and cannot be fully known outside the contexts that have meaning in our lives § Human personality becomes unified through development of a life goal § A students thoughts, feelings, beliefs, convictions, attitudes, character, and actions are expressions of their uniqueness, and all reflect a plan of life that allows for movement toward a self-‐selected life goal § Student is an integral part of a social system Behavior as purposeful and goal oriented § All human behavior has a purpose § Humans set goals for themselves, and behavior becomes unified in the context of these goals § We can only think, feel, and act in relation to our perception of our goal § Students can only be fully understood in light of knowing the purposes and goals toward which they are striving § Interested in future without minimizing the importance of past influences § Decisions are based on the students experiences, on the present situation and on the direction in which they are moving § Fictional Finalism -‐ Imagined central goal that guides a students behavior (Striving toward superiority or perfection) § Guiding Self-‐Ideal -‐ Students image of a goal of perfection, for which they strive to achieve in any given situation o Because of our subjective final goal, we have the creative power to choose what we will accept as truth, how we will behave, and how we will interpret events
2. Striving for Significance & Superiority § Striving for perfection and coping with inferiority by seeking mastery are innate § The goal of success pulls people forward toward master and enables them to overcome obstacles § “Superiority” as defined by Adler = Moving from a perceived lower position to a perceived higher position § Students cope with feelings of helplessness by striving for competence, mastery, & perfection (weakness to strength) Lifestyle § An individuals core beliefs and assumptions guide each person’s movement through life and organize their reality, giving meaning to life events § Connecting themes and rules of interaction that unify all our actions § Our perceptions regarding self, others, and the world § Includes an individuals characteristic way of thinking, acting, feeling, living, and striving toward long-‐term goals § Style of Life -‐ Accounts for why all of our behaviors fit together to provide consistency to our actions § People are viewed as adopting a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to their social environment § Events in the environment influence the development of personality, such events are not the causes of what people become § Experiences in themselves are not decisive factors; rather, it is our interpretation of these events that shape personality § Faulty interpretations may lead to mistaken notions in our private logic, which significantly influences present behavior § Once we become aware of the patterns and continuity of our lives, we are in a position to modify those faulty assumptions and make basic changes § Consciously create a new style of life Social Interest & Community Feeling § Individuals awareness of being part of the human community and to individuals attitudes in dealing with the socil world § Social Interest -‐ An action line of one’s community feeling, and it involves the individuals positive attitude toward other people in the world -‐ The capacity to cooperate and contribute § Social Interest requires that we have enough contact with the present to make a move toward a meaningful future, that we are willing to give and take, and that we develop our capacity for contributing to the welfare of others § “To see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another” § Central indicator of mental health § Life Tasks: Building Friendships (social task), Establishing intimacy (Love-‐Marriage task), Contributing to society (occupational task), Getting along with ourselves (self-‐acceptance), Developing our spiritual dimension (including values, meaning, life goals, and our relationship with the universe, or cosmos) o Requires the development of psychological capacities for friendship and belonging, for contribution and self-‐ worth, and for cooperation Therapeutic Process: Most important Therapeutic Goals • Collaborative arrangement between professional & student • Forming a relationship based on mutual respect; a holistic psychological investigation or life-‐style assessment; and disclosing mistaken goals and family assumptions within the student’s style of living • Re-‐education of the student toward the useful side of life • Develop the students sense of belonging and to assist in the adoption of behaviors and processes characterized by community feeling and social interest • Increase students’ self-‐awareness and challenging and modifying their fundamental premises, life goals, and basic concepts. • Provide information, teaching, guiding, and offering encouragement to discouraged students • Foster social interests • Help students overcome feelings of discouragement and inferiority • Modify students’ views and goals (changing their lifestyle) • Changing faulty motivation • Encouraging the student to recognize equality among people • Helping students to become contributing members of society Functions and Role of the Student Affairs Professional • Operate on the assumption that students will feel and behave better if they discover and correct their mistakes • Look for major mistakes in thinking and valuing such as mistrust, selfishness, unrealistic ambitions, and lack of confidence
3. • Assist students in better understanding, challenging, and changing their life story • Make comprehensive assessment of the students’ functioning The student’s role in the Therapeutic process • To understand their lifestyle and why they resist changing it • Understand errors in their thinking and the purposes o their behaviors • Become un-‐fearful of learning new behaviors and correcting old patterns • Understand their Private Logic -‐ The concepts about self, others, and life that constitute the philosophy on which their lifestyle is based. • Understand convictions & beliefs that get in the way of social interest and how to facilitate useful, constructive belonging Techniques and Procedures of Adlerian Theory: -‐Techniques and methods to incorporate into counseling practice in Student Affairs: Phase 1: Establish the Relationship § Collaboratively establish a sense of deep caring, involvement, and professional relationship § Person-‐to-‐person contact § Help students to become aware of their assets and strengths § Listen, respond, demonstrate respect, exhibit faith, hope, and caring towards students § Provide support (antecdote to despair and discouragement) § Pay attention to the subjective experiences of the student § Provide a wide-‐angle perspective that will eventually help the student view their world differently Phase 2: Explore the Individuals Psychological Dynamics § Get a deeper understanding of the students lifestyle § Focus on students social and cultural context § Assist with overcoming the ‘Five basic mistakes’: 1. Overgeneralizations -‐ “There is no fairness in the world” 2. False of impossible goals of security -‐ “I must please everyone if I am to feel loved” 3. Misperceptions of life and life’s demands -‐ “Life is so very difficult for me” 4. Minimization of denial of one’s basic worth -‐ “I’m basically stupid so why would anyone like me” 5. Faulty Values -‐ “I must get to the top, regardless of who gets hurt in the process” § Help students to identify common fears: Imperfect, being vulnerable, being disapproved of, and suffering from past regrets Phase 3: Encourage Self Understanding & Insight § Insight -‐ Understanding translated into constructive action -‐ Foundation for change o Understanding of the motivations that operate in a students life § Self-‐Understanding -‐ Only possible when hidden purposes and goals of behavior are made conscious § Interpretation -‐ Students underlying motives for behaving the way tey do in the here and now o Creating awareness of ones direction in life, ones goals and purposes, ones private logic and how it works and ones current behavior o “It seems to me that… o “Could it be that… o “This is how it appears to me…. § Come to understand motivations, the ways in which these motivations are now contributing to the maintenance of the problem, and what the student(s) can do to correct the situation Phase 4: Reorientation & Reeducation § Putting insights into practice § Helping students discover a new and more functional perspective § Encourage and challenge students to develop the courage to take risks and make changes in their life § Reorientation -‐ Shifting rules of interaction, process, and motivation o Facilitated through changes in awareness (put into practice) § Reeducation -‐ Teach, guide, provide information (resources), and offer encouragement to students § Reorientate students toward the “Useful side of life” -‐ A sense of belonging and being valued, having an interest in others and their welfare, courage, the acceptance of imperfection, confidence, a sense of humor, a willingness to contribute, and an outgoing friendliness
4. Encouragement Process: § Courage develops when students become aware of their strengths, when they feel they belong and are not alone, and when they have a sense of hope and can see new possibilities for themselves and their daily living § Showing faith in students § Expecting them to assume responsibility for their lives § Valuing students for who they are § Acknowledging that life can be difficult, yet it is critical to instill a sense of faith in students that they can make changes in their life, their school, and the world § Fundamental attitude, rather than a technique § Help students to recognize or accept their positive qualities, strengths, & internal & external resources Change & he Search for New Possibilities § Allow students to “catch” themselves in the process of repeating old patterns that have lead to ineffective behavior § Students must commit to change -‐ Willing to set tasks for themselves in everyday life and do something specific about their problems o Transfer new insights into concrete actions Making a Difference § Seek to make a difference in the lives of students § Manifest a change in behavior, attitude, or perception § Focus on motivation modification more than behavior change and encourage students to make holistic changes on the useful side of living -‐Strength of Adlerian theory from a diversity perspective: § Focus on the importance of the cultural context of the student § Emphasis is on health as opposed to pathology § Show a holistic perspective on life § Value the understanding of individuals in terms of their core goals and purposes § Exercise freedom within the context of societal constraints § Focus on prevention and the development of a proactive approach in dealing with problems § Focus on their student in a social context § Encourage students to define themselves within their social environments § Discuss the effects of age, ethnicity, lifestyle, and gender differences § Be flexible § Understand the student in a familial and sociocultural context -‐Evaluation of the Adlerian Theory I see this approach able to be used throughout most interactions with students. As the textbook concludes, “The basic goal of the Adlerian approach is to help [students] identify and change their mistaken beliefs about self, others, and life and thus participate more fully in a social world.” This synopsis speaks volumes to the work Student Affairs practitioners do. We help students develop, grow, and work through problems. As educators, we help them develop themselves -‐ the Whole-‐Student -‐ and foster their relationship and view of the institution we are collectively apart of. In my evaluation, thus far, the Adlerian approach is the most applicable to Student Affairs practice. -‐What do you consider the most significant contribution of this approach? Adlerian therapists, like Student Affairs practitioners, “are resourceful and flexible in drawing on many methods, which can be applied to a diverse range of [students] in a variety of settings.” The framework Adler created allows professionals to take aspects of his theory that apply to the student at hand and “forget the rest”, whereas; Freud for example, required that systemic steps be taken to achieve progress. Adlerian theory focuses on the importance of recognizing a students life goals, putting them in their own unique social context and help them to navigate through their mistakes in a hope to allow them to grow and develop while attaining the goals they have set for themselves. -‐What is the most significant limitation? According to Corey, the lack of empirical testing and comparative analysis is the most significant limitation. I don’t see many limitations of this theory, however, validity and reliability are essential for success of any experiment or theory.