Psychology – Adler Related

Adlerian Psychology
Much on-line material I’ve found on Adler is presented for serious ‘academic’ study and not geared for more immediate,  practical, use. I’ll add information on “Adler-compatible” understanding/practices as I find it in forms that seem most useful.  Much cognitive and similar psychology of late 20th Century is very compatible with Alfred Adler’s findings and practices.

Without getting ‘into the deep’ too far – Adler, like his contemporary Freud – perceived that a child’s very earliest experiences shape later beliefs, values, and choices. For Adler, the insights were a practical concern. His questions were – “How can we identify problem beliefs that contribute to feelings of failure later in life – and once we’ve identified them, how can we shift the beliefs to bring more comfort and self-realization of the individual in community?”

Adler didn’t write all that much. Instead, he busied himself exploring strategies for child-rearing that would reduce a child’s likelihood of ‘neurosis’. In the case of troubled adults, he similarly explored means to help the adult recognize “mistaken beliefs” – beliefs that in the child’s life had had purpose for survival in close community, but that in later years were hindrance to personal confidence in wider community. Much that emerged as powerful emotional healing by late 20thC can be seen as a match to Adler’s work.

Links offered here are partly specific to Adler, and partly representative of Adler’s legacy.

  • The Puget Sound Adlerian Society, (member of The North American Society of Adlerian Psychology), gives an excellent brief summary of Alfred Adler and Adlerian teachings here. The website is quite ‘narrow’ in scope (it seems dedicated to Puget Sound interest.) However, the site offers two ‘pages’ of information great usefulness to anyone who wants to learn more: (1) the brief summary link, and (2) An excellent list of materials for purchase by teachers, parents, and others who want to learn more, and want to find guidance in Adlerian practices. 
  • I’ve given descriptions of Adlerian principles in a number of posts.  Typing ADLER into the search box found in right-hand column of this blog will give you titles of my posts.
  • is a website rich with Adlerian based and/or Adlerian compatible ideas and explanations – geared to adults who are caregivers to children and youth, (obviously – many adults are not ‘technically’ parents, but all adults involved with children have moments of ‘parenting role’ – sometimes day-in, day-out!)  The site is geared to teach background understandings, as well as to teach practical tips.  It appears to cover all likely concerns and interests, and is set-up in a familiar, user-friendly style
  • Positive Parenting and Positive Teaching Resources  Whereas ‘‘ described above is ‘one-stop shopping’, and may offer all that is wanted,  ‘Positive Parenting and Positive Teaching Resources‘ is also excellent. The site has articles for reading, and gives many links for those who want more sources of ideas/information.
  • Epigenetics – University of Utah Information page: new discoveries of human genomes give evidence that environment, including emotional experience, determines significant outcomes by influencing ‘genetic expression’.  This is early 21st Century (late 20th Century) proof of that nurture/nature (environment/inherited biology) are inter-active. This is a new area of study for me. I post this University of Utah page as a place to begin learning. 
  • David Brooks: TED Talk (YouTube link)Our Social Nature, 18 minutes. I’ve posted it also here at Thoughts From The Well. We are enjoyably informed that what really ‘makes us tick’ is our subconscious ‘driver’ to find what we want in life. It’s not cars, houses, boats, fame and public recognition. It’s valued relationship  in community. ‘Social capital,’ if understood as ‘clever and smooth relationship, such as a politician has with potential voters, is ’empty’ of ‘social trust’. No matter how ‘cordial’ such a politician seems to be, the strong behavior is that they forget this cordiality when shaping social policy. Brooks observes: “This is symptom of a larger problem.” The larger problem is that our entire culture’s sense of ‘success’ is skewed to a measure of success that lacks social trust. He cites new science on human behavior that confirms his descriptions.
  • Dr. Gabor Mate – I have no idea whether or not Dr. Mate would consider himself influenced by Adler’s insights. Yet I find Mate’s profound compassion and insight is representative of where Adler might have  gone, had Adler participated in late 20thC-early 21stC blends, of neuroscience and physiology, with more traditional understandings of psychology. Mate’s biography is telling – he has experienced human dilemma beyond what many encounter. Mate speaks and writes to audiences who may have no background in fields of psychology, medicine, or counseling, yet he informs at high-level quality.  Website has links to books, audio/visual lectures and interviews, etc.

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