Adlerian theory states that psychopathology results from lack of courage, exaggerated feelings of inferiority, and underdeveloped social interest. Making, the chief purpose psychotherapy is to enhance courage, lessen feelings of inferiority, and encourage social interest.
What to expect?
Adlerian counseling rests on a collaborative arrangement between the patient and the therapist. In general, the therapeutic process proceed by forming a relationship based on mutual respect; a commitment toward holistic psychological investigation; and disclosing incorrect goals and faulty assumptions within the person’s style of living, followed by a reeducation of the client toward the useful side of life.
How does it work?
The task of enhancing the courage, lessening feelings of inferiority, and encouraging social interest, however, is not easy since patients struggle to hold on to their existing, comfortable view of themselves. Through the use of humor and warmth, Adler attempted to increase the patient’s courage, self-esteem, and social interest. He believed that a warm, nurturing attitude offered by the therapist encourages patients to expand their social interest to each of the three important problems of life: sexual love, friendship, and occupation.
Adler innovated and created a unique method of therapy with children experiencing problem by treating them in-front of an audience of parents, teachers, and health professionals. When children receive therapy in public, they more readily and easily understand that their problems are community problems. Adler (1964) believed that this procedure will not only enhance children’s social interest by allowing them to feel that they belong to a community of concerned adults but also render a clear understanding that they are an important component of the society, as important as the other adults. Adler was careful about not putting the blame of the child’s misbehavior on that of their parents. Instead, he worked to win the parents’ confidence through enhancement of therapeutic relationship and to persuade them to change their attitudes toward the child.
Although Adler was quite actively involved in setting the goal and direction of psychotherapy, he maintained a friendly and permissive attitude toward the patient. He established himself as a congenial coworker during the therapy sessions, refrained himself cautiously from moralistic preaching, and placed great value on the human relationship and in this context therapeutic relationship. To the patient it so appeared that by cooperating with their therapists, patients establish contact with another person. The therapeutic relationship actively awakens their social interest in the similar manner that children gain social interest from their parents. Once awakened, the patients’ social interest should hereby spread among family members, friends, and people outside the therapeutic relationship (Adler, 1956)
When it is used?
Since Individual Psychology is based on a growth model, not a medical model, it is applicable to such various spheres of life as child guidance; parent–child counseling; couples counseling; family counseling and therapy; group counseling and therapy; individual counseling with children, adolescents, and adults; cultural conflicts; correctional and rehabilitation counseling; and mental health institutions.
Role of a Adlerian therapist:
Adlerian counselors realize that clients can become discouraged and function ineffectively because of incorrect beliefs, faulty values, and goals that are never achieved. The therapist initially operate on the assumption that clients will feel and behave better if their basic mistakes are discovered and corrected. Therapists tend to look for these mistakes and attempts to correct them using various techniques.
Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. 8th ed. Australia ; Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole.
Atkinson, R. L. et al (1996). Hilgard's introduction to psychology (12th ed.). Harcourt Brace College Publishers