Abraham Maslow and Alfred Adler shared similar views of positive human development. Maslow's vigorous study of optimal human functioning provided an inspiring extension of Adler's vision of the cooperative, caring, productive human being--one who is infused with vigorous activity, courage, creativity, and a deep feeling of community. Maslow also offered profound insight into the potential for therapeutic movement from deficiency to growth motivation, Being-cognition and values, and the process of self/task/other-actualization.
Adler's style of depth-psychotherapy offers one of the most effective means of promoting the higher levels of functioning described by Maslow, and the re-awakening of a client's creative power. Classical Adlerian psychotherapy achieves this by gradually dissolving the style of life and fictional final goal. The individual is then no longer pulled by an egocentric, hypnotic, compensatory goal, but elects to pursue one of the higher, universal values that draws out his "best self" in the service of others. Therapeutic strategies will be offered that promote this process of transcending the limits of a style of life; the symptoms that verify such an accomplishment will also be described.
One of Alfred Adler's most important contributions to psychology was his focus on prevention. Ever prescient, he understood that attending to children early in their lives was a much more efficient and hopeful endeavor than treating them after their life styles had been fully formed and somewhat rigidly fixed.
Bright Beginnings is a prevention program focusing on children, from zero to three years old, and their families. I will illustrate how Adler's concepts of community feeling, inferiority feeling, and striving guided the development of a model of parenting for this program. The model has three components: (1) building the attachment relationship, (2) promoting competence, and mastery, and (3) guiding and overcoming egocentricity. I will illustrate with videotape clips mothers and babies interacting with one another how these components of parenting are addressed in the program, and how they contribute to a child's moving toward the useful side of life.
Within the past few years, the similarities between the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Classical Adlerian constructs have gradually become clearer to many people. There is some speculation that the founders of AA may have been influenced by Adler's ideas, especially his views of the interconnectedness of all of life, the importance of cooperation and social interest, and the feeling of inferiority as an impetus for striving toward completion or superiority.
The combination of depth Adlerian Psychotherapy and the philosophy of AA is a creative integration which is extremely useful in the treatment of recovering addicts and alcoholics. Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy offers a unique and effective means of creating a bridge of cooperation between the therapist, the client and the AA community. This bridge gradually awakens the creative power of the client and increases social interest. At this point AA is an important support system. However, it is not psychotherapy and can not assist the client in dissolving the style of life and fictional final goal. This is the task of psychotherapy.
The focus of the address will be the need for fostering "democratic character" development in all areas of our life in order to realize our political and social ideals, and why the philosophy, theory, and practice of Adlerian psychology is well-suited for such a task. Democratic relationships, based on deep feelings of equality and connectedness must be nurtured in the family, school, and work place for a genuinely democratic society to emerge. According to social critic Philip Slater, "We can never call ourselves a true democracy until the values of our heritage are reflected in the reality of our daily lives."
This recording also includes: "Ethical Issues in Psychotherapy of Children, Adolescents, and Families," by Ulrike Lehmkuhl (in German); "Globalization and Community Feeling: Are They Compatible," by Arthur Nikelly (in English); and a post-plenary discussion.
An online version of "A Psychology for Democracy" is available at http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/iaip-5.htm .
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