Adlerian Psychotherapy: an Overview of Theory and Practice

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Abstract 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…show more content…
On the other hand, if the strivings are for the purpose of overcoming life's problems, the individual is engaged in the striving for self-realization, in contribution to humanity and in making the world a better place to live" (Mosak, 1995, p. 53). Concept of Intervention Like all therapies it is assumed that the individual's present way of living may accord safety but not happiness, and because there are not any guarantees in life, one must risk some ‘safety' for the possibility of greater happiness and self-fulfillment. How each therapy goes about moving the client from a place of ‘safety' to a place of relative ‘risk taking' may differ. Adlerian psychology addresses the complete range of human experience, from optimal to pathological, and sees the ‘therapeutic' relationship as a friendly one between equals (Stein, 1996). At the foundation of Adlerian theory and practice is an optimism about human nature and the premise that the primacy of a feeling of community (connectedness) is an index and goal of mental health (Stein, 1996). The process (intervention) is really one of life-style investigation. The therapist tries to understand the patients life-style, how the individual engages his life, and how that life-style affects the client's current functioning. The goal of treatment is not merely symptom relief, but the adoption of a contributing way of living (Stein, 1996). Adlerians view pain and suffering in a

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