Classical Adlerian psychology

From ArticleWorld

Classical Adlerian psychology is considered to be an optimistic approach to psychology in that it emphasizes individual growth in addition to well-being in the community. The aim of the approach is the development of mental health in order to ensure the contribution of individuals, couples and families to social equality and democracy.

According to this theory, the basic drive is one of expansion and growth, completion and security. This is a positive instinct, but one which may become negative and manifest itself in a longing for power or superiority over others. One concept Adlerians use is ‘style of life’ which embodies the decisions one makes in the approach to the three main areas of life – to other people, to work and to love and sex.

Feelings of inferiority

Adlerians consider a feeling of inferiority in infants and children normal and logical and if all proceeds well, an incentive for development. If, however, the child has physiological difficulties, lives in a dysfunctional family where abuse or neglect is present or if there are negative cultural influences, then the feeling of inferiority may become pathological. This could lead to unrealistic high expectations of oneself as an adult, and because such goals are impossible to reach and repeated failure more or less assured, an inferiority complex develops.

Feeling of community

This school of thought emphasizes the importance of the community and the fact that there exists interdependence on others, that the actions of one will affect the actions of the next. There is a need for feeling a bond with others and while some of our actions should be aimed at self-development, there is also a need to be helpful to society.