Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washngton

Classical Adlerian Quostes - Encouragement

Developed by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

The following Classical Adlerian quotations are from the Adlerian Translation Project Archives at the Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington (AAINW/ATP). Selected works of Alfred Adler, Kurt Adler, Lydia Sicher, Alexander Mueller, Sophia de Vries, Anthony Bruck, Erwin Wexberg, Alexander Neuer, Sophie Lazarsfeld, Ida Loewy, Ferdinand Birnbaum, and other Classical Adlerians have been collected, translated, edited, and converted into electronic text. All of this material is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without the expressed consent of Dr. Stein at

Alfred Adler:

"Education should encourage the child and make him capable of unimpeded contact with his fellows and the real problems of life, by the development of his social feeling, rather than discourage him into striving towards the fictitious goal of superiority over all others." (From a new translation of "Progress in Individual Psychology," IZIP, Vol.II No. 1, 1923, in the AAINW/ATP Archives).

"Encouragement can increase the tolerance for failures and prevent the outbreak of neurosis, ameliorate it, or defer it. " (From a new translation of "The Degree of Tolerance of the Human Soul," IZIP, Vol. II, No. 2, 1923, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"Essentially, Individual Psychology is a method of limitless encouragement." (From a new translation of "Individual Psychology," Psychotherapie und Erziehung, 1926, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"All symptoms of neuroses and psychoses are forms of expression of discouragement. Every improvement comes about solely from encouraging the sufferer. Every physician and every school of neurology is effective only to the extent that they succeed in giving encouragement. Occasionally, a layman can succeed in this also. It is practiced deliberately only by Individual Psychology." (From a new translation of "Individual Psychology," Psychotherapie und Erziehung, 1926, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

Anthony Bruck:

"The individual must be encouraged, but not by words or nice talk. He must be encouraged to develop a different way of seeing inferiorities." (From "Illustrated Adlerian Psychology," an unpublished manuscript in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

Alexander Mueller:

"Children who lack courage in one area, will expand it to many, sometimes even all other areas. Conversely, it is true that a child that can be encouraged in one area, may be able to expand this to others." (From a new translation of a lecture held for the Indivual-Psychologische Werkgemeenschap in het Gooi, The Netherlands. March 13th, 1938, from the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"The higher the level that man reaches, the more he can pass on, the more he can encourage others." (From "You Shall Be a Blessing," published by the AAISF.)

"It is important to do what is in the best interest of the other. Goal and meaning of action have to be focused on the other. When someone is satisfied with his own way of being and doing good, separating it from whether it helps or hinders another, then his goodness is meant for himself and not for the other. Moral action, however, must emphasize the other and must strive to encourage the other. For this, however, it is necessary to know what encourages the other." (From "You Shall Be a Blessing," published by the AAISF.)

Lydia Sicher

"The attitude of the therapist should be characterized by an indisturbable benevolence. The neurotic needs the encouragement for his achievement. In the person of the therapist he confronts, for the first time in his life, an average fellow man who accepts him as a complete equal, that is to say, who takes him seriously and in his entirety and can therefore really understand him and criticize him with an honest belief in his evolution." (From a translation of "Wish and Will," a lecture in the Allmayer House, on October 21st, 1936, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

Sophia de Vries:

"There are things that look hard, and you find them impossible. Let a child know that he finds them impossible, but that other people have been able to do it and to conquer it, other children have conquered it. So, how much courage do you have to do the impossible? 'Can you make a little attempt in this direction?' This is the crux of the treatment. It's always the encouragement. And the encouragement translated is really, 'try to do the impossible'." (From a transcribed, tape recorded seminar given by Sophia de Vries on 10-15-76, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"I have learned to help people to generate their own courage. If you cannot do that, and if you encourage from the outside, but it doesn't take, then it is an injection that you might just as well have left out. But if you have learned to make a person generate his own courage, then I think it is a very satisfactory type of therapy, because that begins to snowball. If a person has courage, he tries something he hasn't tried before. If he is not successful, and still has courage left, he can also come back and complain that it was not a success. Then you can encourage him again to try once more. If he is successful, there is nothing that is more encouraging than success, and that builds up the amount of courage that he has, to approach life in general" (From a transcribed, tape recorded seminar given by Sophia de Vries on 11-18-76, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"One of the fundamental rules of education is 'never do for a child, what he can do for himself.' And the minute that you see that in the developement of the child, he is beginning to do something by himself, and makes a feeble effort, which is not adequate yet, let him be inadequate; so that he learn to overcome his inadequacy. That is encouragement." (From a transcribed, tape recorded seminar given by Sophia de Vries on 7-16-76, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"There is nothing that encourages more than a good result. And when a child does not give up, but keeps going, he keeps using his natural activity. As long as there is a natural activity that gets satisfaction out of conquering, there is no way in which this person is going to be neurotic. Neurosis only begins when there is a giving up of what should be done; there is a giving up of activity." (From a transcribed, tape recorded seminar given by Sophia de Vries on 7-16-76, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

" As a therapist, you are a support and an encourager--every time the person leaves he has to have the feeling that he can do a little more then he has done the last time." (From a transcribed, tape recorded consultation with Sophia de Vries on 5-31-77, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

Henry Stein

"Our knowledge of each individual's unique, fictional final goal, style of life, inferiority feeling, and antithetical scheme of apperception, permits us to plan and offer a more precise form of encouragement in Classical Adlerian psychotherapy. We can shape the direction, scale, and intensity of that encouragement to foster what has been missing from the person's development. Generally, we have to provide and sustain a considerable degree of encouragement before the client is able to accept and digest a full interpretation of his style of life." (From a transcribed, tape recorded interview of Henry Stein on 5-5-93, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

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