Alfred Adler Institutes of San Francisco and Northwestern Washington

Biographical Sketch of Alexander Müller

[Mueller photograph]

Alexander Müller was born in Kormorn, Hungary on May 6, 1895 into a traditional Jewish family. He grew up and went to school in Hungary and later began studying medicine in Vienna. These studies were interrupted in 1916 by World War I when he became a soldier and prisoner of war in Russia for four years.

After the war Alexander Müller returned to Vienna and became a student and co-worker of Alfred Adler. He helped with the organization of child guidance centers and was active in therapy, teaching, lecturing, and the training of therapists.

In 1927 he married Klara Newmann. When the National Socialist Party increased in power, the couple decided to emigrate. They tried settling in Italy, France and Belgium until they eventually found shelter in Amsterdam. Here Dr. Müller founded an Individual Psychology group.

During World War II when the Germans invaded Holland, Dr. Müller and his wife went back to Hungary and eventually were interned in a concentration camp. When that war was over, he and his wife returned to Holland until 1952 when he accepted a position in Zurich as lecturer for Individual Psychology at the Institute for Applied Psychology.

Dr. Müller became Director of the Swiss Society of Individual Psychology, and served as the First Secretary of the International Association of Adlerian Psychology from 1954 to 1957. He retired in 1961 to write a text book for Individual Psychology. Seriously ill, he did not finish this work. He continued as Director of the Swiss Society and First Secretary of the International Association for Individual Psychology until his death in 1968, in Zurich, at the age of 73.

Edith Hass, a close friend and editor of his last book, offers an inspiring overview of Müller's character and ability to find meaning in adversity.

"Two events have marked him--as so many of his generation--the First World War and being a prisoner of war. This forced him to live in the face of constant anger and death..... The manner in which he accepted his later fate, how he conducted his life, in spite of everything, and his understanding love for people--all this was.....a source of strength for many..... He did not survive from these unimaginable physical and spiritual human degradations..... broken, and deeply wounded, but rather wiser.....stricter and more demanding. Demands which were not only directed to himself, but also to others..... To help a person continue on his way, was to Alexander Müller--to develop social consciousness, to find YOU and ME in order to unfold the I. That is only possible through demands on the self and self-discipline."

Elske Soghikian recalls him fondly: "The most striking thing about Dr. Alexander Müller was perhaps his eyes: cool, black and penetrating, set in an almost sweet face full of freckles, and showing dimples when he smiled. His inner depth and beauty as a human being would come through radiantly."


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