Essay Adlerian Psychotherapy

Essay Adlerian Psychotherapy

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Understand, interpret, direct. This statement is an oversimplification of sorts, but defines the essence of Adlerian psychotherapy. From this minimal overview of Adlerian theory, we can begin to elaborate and explore the intricacies of individual psychology. Adlerians are concerned with understanding the unique and private beliefs and strategies of the individual (private logic and mistaken notions) that we create in childhood, and which serve as a reference for attitudes, private views of self, others and the world, and behavior (lifestyle). Therapeutic work with clients involves short-term and intensive work to increase social interest, to encourage a greater sense of responsibility for behavior, and to support behavioral change. Insight is used therapeutically as an analytical tool to facilitate deeper self-understanding and personal growth.

Concept of the Person
Adlerian Psychotherapy employs a holistic approach to understanding the individual. Adler provides us with an all-encompassing view of the human being, who is a primarily conscious, rather than unconscious creature. Adlerians believe that the most important life problems are social and therefore, the individual must be considered within the social context (Daniels, 1998). Adlerian theory proposes that a human’s principle motive in life is to strive for perfection and that his or her opinion of self, and the world, influences all of the individual’s psychological processes. “Adlerian counseling seeks to correct mistakes in perception and logic that people make in their effort to fit into social relationships and to overcome feelings of inferiority” (Brown & Srebalus 1998). Once the individual has adopted a “mistaken goal”, he or she will formulate other misconceptions to support the “faulty logic” (Brown & Srebalus 1998). Adlerian theory studies the whole person and how that person experiences life.

According to this theory, the individual possesses four “life-style convictions” (Mosak 1995). These are: “The self-concept – the convictions I have about who I am; the self-ideal – the convictions of what I should be or am obliged to be to have a place; the weltbild, or ‘picture of the world’ – convictions about the not self and what the world demands of me; and the ethical convictions- personal ‘right-wrong’ code” (Mosak 1995). When there is conflict between the self-concept and the ideal,...


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...s, D.J. (1998). Introduction to the Counseling Profession. Needham Heights: Allyn & Baron.
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Dayton, Tian (1994). The Drama Within: Psychodrama and Experimental Therapy. Deerfield Beach: Health Communications, Inc.
Marino, Tom (2000). Rapid Emotion: Teaching Young Clients Mood Management Skills. [On-line]. Available: www.counseling.org/enews/volume_1/0105c.htm
Moreno, J.L. (1987). The Essential Moreno: Writings on Psychodrama, Group Method, and Spontaneity. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Mosak, Harold. (1998). Adlerian Psychotherapy. In R.J. Corsini & D. Wedding (ed. 5th), Current Psychotherapies (pp. 51-88). Illinois: Peacock Publishers, Inc.
Stein, Henry (1996). Adler, Dark Side, and The Heart. [On-line]. Available: http://forums.behavior.net/forums/nph
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Stein, Henry (1996). Classical Adlerian Psychology and Democracy. [On-line]. Available: http://www.behavior.net/orgs/adler/index.html

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