Adlerian Therapy

  1. Theory of Personality-Nature of Humans
    We are born:
    • whole, unified organism
    • creative
    • with goals (teleological)
    • knowing” we must interact with society—this the potential for social interest
  2. Theory of Personality-Nature of Humans
    • •Innate Striving For Superiority
    • •We are born inferior—we move from the sense of inferiority to a sense of superiority (occurs throughout life).
    • •We learn ways to elicit care from people
    • •Social interest potential varies from person to person.
  3. Function of the Personality
    • •When we enter the world, we are immediately looking for our a drive to strive for significance.
    • •The organism (the person) has a need to interact with others, to find a place in the world.
    • •Interact with the environment to get a…
  4. Role of the environment
    • •LIFE STYLE (also called a style of life)
    • –This is how a person adapts to obstacles in life & ways of creating solutions
    • –Based on overcoming a series of inferiorities
  5. Lifestyle
    •Established by the time you reach 6 years old

    •Difficult to change after this time

    •Understood by the way that individuals approach three major tasks:




    •Now added:


    • •It is based on or in “private logic.”
    • •At the core: the lifestyle goal: a long term goal of which a person is usually non-conscious (also called fictional goal…)

    •Called fictional goal as children believe that when the goal is achieved, they have met superiority
  7. Superiority


    •Avoid meaninglessness

    –Complain about being overworked
  8. Control
    •No ridicule

    •Must master situations, no humiliation

    •Socially distant

    –Complain of no friends
  9. Comfort
    •Avoid stress of pain

    •Delay dealing with problems

    •Avoid, avoid, avoid

    –Low productivity
  10. Pleasing
    •Avoid rejection

    •Seek constant approval

    •Constant need for acceptance

    •Go to great lenghts to win approval
  11. Family Constellation
    •Psychological positioning is as important as chronological positioning

    –Within the family, a child creates a lifestyle—aspiration, long range goals, ways of finding and creating security
  12. Family Atmosphere
    •Parental attitudes toward children

    •Discipline philosophies

    •Life-style of the parents

    •Family values

    •Parents’ family of origin

    •Marital relationships & parenting skills

    •Personal problems—how you interact is based on your ability to be warm, respectful, etc…
  13. Birth Order
    •First Born—hardworking, achievement-oriented, assertive, pleasing, conforming, athletic, bossy of others, critical, fun-loving, withdrawn, sensitive, daring, responsible, demanding, critical of self, demanding
  14. Middle Children
    • •Size up the older ones, can I compete, move in another direction
    • •A study in contradictions:
    • •Shy, outgoing, easily frustrated, laid back, very competitive, easy going, rebel, peacemaker
    • •Make friends out of the family

    •Good at mediation

    •Do not feel respected or special growing up
  15. Babies
    •Carefree & vivacious, people-person

    •Charming, outgoing, affectionate

    •Rebellious, uncomplicated, critical, temperamental


    •Want to be taken seriously

    •Youngest, want to prove themselves

    •Burning desire to make a contribution to the world
  16. Only Children


    •Critical, scholarly


    •Lonely only

    •Adult like quickly

    •Proving self over and over and over and over…
  17. So, to get attention, Children misbehave—meaning…
    • •I need attention
    • –I only count when others see me

    • •I need power
    • –I only count when others know what I do

    • –I need revenge
    • •I can’t be liked, but I can hurt others, and then I will count
  18. Misbehavior
    • •Inadequacy
    • –I’m stupid, inadequate, and really hopeless, so why try—do not expect anything from me…
  19. Positive Behavior
    • Attention, involvement, contribution
    • –I can belong—a result of my contributions
    • Autonomy
    • •Age appropriate power

    •Responsible decisions


    • •Justice
    • –Cooperate, be fair

    –Respond to cruelty with kindness

    –Avoid conflicts & Accepting others

    •Making skills

    •Resolve conflict w/out fighting
  20. Life style convictions
    •Self-concept—convictions about who I am (the way I see the world)

    •Self-Ideal: convictions of what I should be to belong

    •Picture of the world: picture of the not self; what the world demands

    •Ethical convictions: personal right-wrong
  21. Behavior is…
    •Purposeful! We do things for a reason—what are we gettin’ from that?

    Goal –Oriented—we are trying to achieve something

    Fictional Finalism—what we think the world should be…Final is the ultimate nature of the person’s goal…
  22. So we have social interest when we are …
    •Caring for others, cooperating with others

    •Amount of energy displayed when taking on a problem
  23. Superiority
    Competence, self-control

    •Positive sense—striving for a resolution over problems, and trying to make life better

    •Negative sense—we think we are better than others—boastful, self-centered, arrogant, sarcastic, feeling important by demeaning others
  24. Social Interest is the
    •Innate ability for cooperation & social living

    •The measure of our psychological health

    Parent-child relationship is VERY important

    –If the parents are too strict, or detached—lack of interest
  25. Unhealthy Functioning is:
    • •Capitulating to our Basic Mistakes
    • –Overgeneralizations—There is no fairness in the world

    –False goals—I must please everyone

    –Misperceptions of life and its demands—Life is difficult

    –Denial of one’s worth—I’m (fill in adjective that is negative)

    –Faulty values—You must get to the top, and steamroll who is in the way
  26. Healthy Functioning is:
    •Social Interest!

    •Look to help others

    •Belonging, contributing

    •Care and try to work with others…
  27. How change occurs:
    •Realization of basic mistakes

    •View mistaken goals

    •Faulty assumptions

    •Fostering of social interest

    •Overcome feelings of discouragement

    •Sense of equality with others

    •Modify client’s views and goals
  28. Conditions necessary for change:


    •Respect & Mutual trust

    •Agreement on goals

    •Encouragement of progress—symptoms, feelings—attitudes can change
  29. Role of the client:
    •Recognize errors

    •Leave old patterns

    •Get new patterns

    •–Look for private logic (the concepts about self, others, work) to see what is being done

    –Work of basic mistakes
  30. Role of the therapist:

    •Look for major thinking errors

    •Sense of humor

    Positive lifestyle (socially interested)
  31. Goals of counseling
    •Fostering social interest

    •Helping to overcome feelings of discouragement

    •Overcome inferiority

    •Modify client’s goals

    •Change faulty motivation

    •Assisting in feeling equal

    •Contributing members of society
  32. Relationship with client
    •Should be good

    •Cooperation, mutual trust, respect, confidence, and alignment of goals

    •Therapist is a model

    •Collaborative partnership
  33. Techniques:
    • •Establish relationship
    • –Find out the problem: How is the person presenting himself?—what can be known by the way the person speaks? Attend and listen

    –Encouragement starts—a faith in clients

    –Remember, the therapist looks to the subject’s subjective world

    •Explore the Individual (Assessment):

    –Family constellation


    –Early recollections

    –Basic Mistakes And…


    • Insight & Interpretation
    • •Confront basic mistakes

    •“What would be different if you did not have this problem?”

    •Suggestions: “it seems to me that…” “I wonder if…” “Isn’t it possible that…”

    • •Identify the goal of behavior
    • Reorientation
    • •Immediacy

    •Encouragement of trying new things

    •Acting as if

    •Catching oneself

    •Asking the question

    •Task setting


    •Spitting in the client's soup

    •Avoid the tar baby

    •Paradoxical intervention

    •Push button technique

Card Set
Adlerian Therapy
Dr. Muro's Theories Class