on 20 March 1998
For someone seeking to understand Alfred Adler's work and his relationship to other psychologists of the day, this work is a must. Instead of reading through all of his written works you can study his writings as arranged and discussed in this book. There is an overview of each major thought/idea, and selected quotes from his work itself. The author helps you to place Adler's teachings in context. It has earned a permanent place on my psychology bookshelf.
Alfred Adler is one of the orginators of psychotherapy, who has since become lost under the rubble. This book returns him back to the fore, as he posits a series of challenges to collective belief whether it is masculine protest, social interest, psychology of use, compensation and confluence, organ inferiority, the origin of the neurotic disposition, pampering and the inferiority complex.
I don't think Adler has all the answers, but he out of everyone is near enough there. You can apply his theoretical constructs to understand almost all aspects of human behaviour so complete.
He had the right direction, simply because the issues of child abuse (sexual, physial, emotional, loss) were never fully acknowledged. Freud's retreat from Kraft Ebbing after he tried to introduce his "Seduction Theory" was total and his followers were encased within this shadow.
Adler broke away from drives and innate processes to produce a more subjective view of the world. This was opposed to the iron laws of determinism that Freud had placed as philosophical straightjackets on his subjects. There is a big debate within this book on Freud and Adler that enlightens the strengths of individual psychology.
This is a book is a necessary evolutionary step to relieve us of both Freud and the iron grip of CBT both connected to Adler but for whom he is not responsible for. It is time to retrace the steps away from the mechanistic view of human beings and this book is a catalyst to change direction. Built on his theoretical works, this book is a treasure trove looking at everything from sleep to schizophrenia.
If you ever work with people and want to do more than manage, this is the Bible.
on 25 May 2016
I first read this book in the early eighties. I had a supervisor who was a clinical psychologist who used to say that if you want to understand anyone's behavior you had to know what their goal was. Once you knew that things would fall into place. This was the essential position of Alfred Adler who took a holistic goal oriented approach to understanding human behavior. For Adler a persons thoughts, beliefs and delusions were to be understood as facilitating their personal goal directed life activity.
This book which is a collection of Adler's writings covers all the main basis from philosophical discussions about personality development , the nature and function of thought beliefs and emotions, explanations regarding psychopathology and the correct methods for approaching clients in psychotherapy.
I'm not an Adlerian, more of a Kohutian-Freudian, but I'm always impressed by the arguments that Adler made about sexual and aggressive drives being compensatory means to shore up low self esteem and a vulnerable sense of self over fifty years before Kohut came up with the same arguments in his enhancement of Freudian theory.
Adler was a brilliant writer and doesn't really need anyone to interpret what he really means. I recommend anyone who wants to understand Adler to read his own works. Saying that there's a really good introduction to his work in this book by Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher.