Alfred Adler Institutes of San Francisco and Northwestern Washington

A Clinician's Guide to The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler

A Unified System of Depth Psychotherapy, Philosophy, & Pedagogy

Edited by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D. & Laurie J. Stein, M.A., M.S.
Classical Adlerian Translation Project

© 2012 by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the editor. All inquiries should be sent to Henry T. Stein, Ph.D., Classical Adlerian Translation Project, Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington, 2565 Mayflower Lane, Bellingham, WA 98226. Tel (360) 647-5670 or e-mail to . Website:

Published 2012 by The Classical Adlerian Translation Project.
Printed in the United States of America

The psychic life has a creative power that is identical with the life force itself. This creative power has the capacity to anticipate, which it must do, because human beings move. The psychic life means movement and direction with one goal.

To fully understand this impetus toward the guiding ideal, the final fictional goal, is to come to know, compressed in a single point: past, present, future and the intended finale, all at the same time.

Another definition of neurosis is “Yes – but.” In the “yes” is embedded the recognition of social feeling; in the “but,” the retreat and its safeguards. The neurotic turns his whole interest toward the retreat, until it becomes an elaborate “Retreat Complex.” Even the question, “Why should I love my neighbor?” springs from the inseparable connectedness of mankind and the stern criterion of the community ideal. Only he who carries within himself, in his “law-of-movement,” a sufficient degree of the community ideal and lives according to it as easily as he breathes, will solve his inevitable difficulties.

Alfred Adler

Table of Contents

Preface by Henry Stein
Introduction by Sophia de Vries
Volume 1 - The Neurotic Character
Volume 2 - Journal Articles: 1898-1909
Volume 3 - Journal Articles: 1910-1913
Volume 4 - Journal Articles: 1914-1920
Volume 5 - Journal Articles: 1921-1926
Volume 6 - Journal Articles: 1927-1931
Volume 7 - Journal Articles: 1931-1937
Volume 8 - Lectures to Physicians and Medical Students
Volume 9 - Case Histories
Volume 10 - Case Readings and Demonstrations
Volume 11 - Education for Prevention
Volume 12 - The General System of Individual Pyschology
Appendix A - Basic Principles of Classical Adlerian Psychology
Appendix B - Classical Adlerian Theory and Practice
Appendix C - Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy: Distance Training


          Why study The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler (CCWAA)? Because misrepresentations of Adler permeate academic textbooks, training programs, and journal articles. Some instructors pull a few of his ideas out of their complex coherence to create easy-to-learn, popularized systems. Some organizations use these systems to “market” Adler to prospective students, who are then taught something with Adler's name that may bear little resemblance to his original teachings and style of treatment. Some authors of journal articles try to “improve” Adler to show how he can be connected to the latest trend, or “incorporated” into an eclectic approach. None of this does justice to Adler.

          Why study The CCWAA? Because what he says there cannot be found anywhere else. Simplifications and distortions of Adlerian theory of personality, strategies for treatment, and philosophy of living are widespread. Indeed, these misrepresentations not only constitute the bulk of what is widely known as “Adlerian” today, but have also alienated much of the wider, depth therapy community, who often dismiss Adler's approach as superficial and aggressive. Based on what they have probably been taught, read, or seen demonstrated at workshops and conferences, they mistakenly pass judgment on Adler in a way that does not do him justice.

          Why study The CCWAA? Because today, we all labor under a common handicap; none of us has studied personally with Alfred Adler. At best, a few of us have studied with mentors who were trained by Adler. Even fewer have studied with mentors who remained faithful to Adler's original teachings and style of treatment. Consequently, if we wish to do justice to Adler's approach, especially if we practice or teach psychotherapy, we have to compensate in two ways. First, we have the obligation to study and discuss his original writings until they become a rock-solid foundation for our treatment style. Also, to make Adler's theory, philosophy, and treatment principles come alive, we need to find a mentor who reflects the congruence of knowledge and character that Adler required of Individual Psychologists.

          My mentor, Sophia de Vries, a masterful therapist who studied with Alfred Adler, Lydia Sicher, and Alexander Mueller, represented Adler faithfully in her work and her personal life. She inspired a small group of us to keep Adler's work alive in its original form. She cherished what Adler had given her, and felt obligated to pass it on as accurately as possible. In her mid-nineties, she still regularly studied Adler's writings in English and German. She encouraged me to teach others what I had learned from her, and to publish new English translations of Adler's important clinical writings. The publishing project, which became The CCWAA, took many years, and is now available in paperback and e-book formats. Sophia's mentor, Alexander Mueller, predicted in the 1950's that Adler's work would have to be rediscovered by a new generation. We can be that generation.

          Why study The CCWAA? Although Adler's popular books, like Understanding Human Nature, What Life Could Mean to You, The Science of Living, and Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, provide fine introductions to his ideas for students and the general public, they are insufficient resources for the psychotherapist. Only in The CCWAA can we find the accurate, complete Adler. These twelve volumes contain the full range of his therapeutic constructs, all repeatedly applied to a multitude of difficult cases. We cannot achieve an effective life style analysis by merely listing a client's mistaken ideas or identifying a typology. The heart of a successful treatment plan begins with a diagnosis based on using all of Adler's constructs which are appropriate to that case, customizing our diagnosis and treatment for the unique needs of each individual, as Adler did.

          In practice, this means combing through all our interview notes and impressions to find clues that reveal the client's hidden dynamics, framing them with the relevant constructs: depth and type of inferiority feelings; strength and direction of the striving for superiority; degree and zone of activity (cognitive, affective, behavioral); level and type of intelligence; spectrum and purpose of feelings and emotions; range and depth of the feeling of community; private logic; modes of distance; depreciation tendency; antithetical scheme of apperception; and counter-fiction. Our initial guesses about the client's movement in relation to his life tasks, combined with the relevant constructs, provide the raw material for the fermentation of analysis and imagination that helps us uncover the height, direction, and range of the compensatory, unconscious, fictional final goal – the key to each individual personality. This last, crucial step involves an intuitive, creative leap that is not easy to master. In order to uncover the fictional goal, we have to learn how to translate our case impressions into psychological movement, a skill that is missing from most Adlerian training today. Yet Adler emphasizes the importance of “looking for the movement” repeatedly in his writings.

          The CCWAA provides the foundation for our training and certification in Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy. Our students study and discuss all of Adler's theoretical constructs and eventually use these constructs in extensive case supervision, focusing on life style diagnosis and treatment planning. They participate in a rigorous, personal study analysis, in order to dissolve their restrictive life style and redirect striving away from a compensatory fictional goal toward universal values, so that they can live more creatively, serving their clients more fully. We also include the inspirational writings of Abraham Maslow, since they provide a compatible path to Adler's vision of optimal human development. Only someone who experiences firsthand the emotional/intellectual/affective gestalt of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy can accomplish it successfully with clients. This mentor-oriented, one-to-one relationship cannot be achieved quickly or in a group setting. Once a year, our community of learners comes together from all over the world in a three-day experiential workshop. Students help each other work on personal or professional issues, practicing what they know about Adlerian theory and treatment, building bonds of mutual support that exist nowhere else.

          Why study The CCWAA? Because Adler was a genius. When we want to listen to Mozart, we play Mozart, not some imitation. Those who want to simplify and reduce Adler resemble Mozart's patron in the film, “Amadeus, who, bewildered by the richness and complexity of Mozart's music, suggests that the composer abbreviate his composition because “there are too many notes.” In Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy, we are dedicated to training depth psychotherapists who can “play all the notes.”

          Why study The CCWAA? Because unless more people learn not only what he really said, but also how to use it, we risk losing his legacy. If more clinicians do not learn how to practice Adler's original art of depth psychotherapy, what will happen to it? Who will teach it in years to come? Will it fade into obscurity, with merely the misrepresentations surviving? Adler's voice deserves to be heard today, because only his unique synthesis of psychology, pedagogy, and philosophy points the way for therapists to guide clients toward democratic living by building democratic character. He deserves no less.

          A Clinician's Guide to The CCWAA: These chapter summaries were compiled by James Wolf, Manu Jaaskelainen, and Laurie Stein. Much more than standard abstracts, they guide a clinician to the heart of Adler's work by giving many examples of what he said and how he treated clients. In effect, they provide a primer for Classical Adlerian psychotherapy. For the purposes of focus and summary, many of Adler's quotations have been tightened. Henry and Laurie Stein did the final editing.

          While Adler was generally far ahead of his time, most notably in his “unified field theory” of personality, insistence on gender equality, and emphasis on preventive education, his views on homosexuality reflect the bias of his time and culture. Nevertheless, in the interests of scholarship and historical accuracy, the article, “On Homosexuality,” is included in Volume 4 of The CCWAA. The contemporary Classical Adlerian view of sexuality focuses on encouraging cooperation between partners, and attempts to correct domination or depreciation within all sexual orientations.

          Finally, grammatical correctness in Adler's time dictated the use of masculine pronouns. As his entire psychology is based on “the individual,” attempting to change all his references to the “gender-neutral” plural, or alternating masculine and feminine pronouns, would change his voice completely. We are dedicated to promoting what he originally said. For Adler, equality is fundamental, regardless of pronoun usage.

Henry T. Stein, Ph.D. Bellingham, WA 2012

An Introduction by Sophia de Vries

"The repeated rendering of an oral tradition over many generations inevitably leads to errors in transmission and the gradual loss of the original content, a degradation of information that occurs more slowly with the successive reprinting of written accounts."

Carl Sagan: "The Dragons of Eden"

To those of us who have had the privilege of learning Individual Psychology from Alfred Adler himself before his death on May 28th, 1937 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and who have worked together with his closest followers afterward, it is very satisfying that Individual Psychology has become known as an important discipline in psychology. However, certain aspects of what goes under the name of Individual Psychology today would not readily be recognized by its originator.

At one time music meant compositions by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and the like. There also was "entertainment" music. Nowadays, anyone who can put his finger on an instrument and at the same time abuse his vocal chords, makes music. Creating art by means of painting was done by people like Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Renoir, etc. Today, four-years-olds do "art" work in finger-painting. Popularization can have its drawbacks.

When I introduced Adler for the last lecture to his audience in Holland before he left for England, his topic was "responsibility." To this day I recall his penetrating look, when he finished his talk with: "Those of you who really understand Individual Psychology and have learned to apply it, carry a heavy responsibility." In the following years we experienced this and still do. For that reason I have presented Adler's original Individual Psychology the way he taught it himself, and have added translations of some lectures and articles by Adler as published in the Internationale Zeitschrift für Individualpsychologie.

Some composers have used another composer's theme, calling it "variations on a theme" by the other's name. Others just used the theme and published the composition under their own name. Painters have copied great masters and called it a copy, while some have copied the style of the master, putting the master's name on the fraud. Art and science can be interpreted in different ways, except when the originator has been explicit in his interpretation. Toscanini interpreted Beethoven the way Beethoven had written his music. Alfred Adler was an originator who was outspoken in his interpretations, if one only listened and made an effort to comprehend.

The reader should not forget that Adler still got a “lot of flack” from the existing (early) group of Freudians. In some articles he clearly denounces his opponents. In others he warns his own followers who did not understand him or thought they could do better. Most of these passages have been included, because they will always remain valid.

During World War II Individual Psychology was dormant. Hitler had decreed that Adler's and Freud's theories should not be learned, as both men were born Jewish. Only Jung's psychology could openly be practiced. Practicing Adlerians had to be extremely cautious. Many got out of Austria, Germany, and the occupied countries.

In Holland Individual Psychology owes its rebirth in a large part to Dr. Alexander Mueller, who had been a close co-worker of Adler, Dr. Ronge, and others. Later Mueller established himself in Zürich, Switzerland, where his name is still mentioned in the Individual Psychology group he helped to form. During his years in Holland, we had worked closely together and later I visited him in Zürich. On my last visit, before his death in July, 1960, we discussed the inroads Individual Psychology had made. Mueller's conclusion was, "Adler has not yet been fully understood. He has to be rediscovered from the roots up.”

(Sophia J. de Vries, who studied with Alfred Adler, Lydia Sicher, and Alexander Mueller, wrote this introduction in 1990 to a series of journal articles by Alfred Adler that she had translated. At the time, she was living in Oakland, California and was a consultant and senior training analyst for the Alfred Adler Institute of San Francisco. Her work served as an incentive to carry on the translation of Adler’s clinical works and served as reference documents for later translations.)

Volume 1 - The Neurotic Character:
Fundamentals of Individual Psychology & Psychotherapy

Volume 1 of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler (CCWAA) consists of Adler's magnum opus, The Neurotic Character: Fundamentals of Individual Psychology and Psychotherapy. The first edition was published in 1912, the second in 1919, the third in 1922, and the fourth in 1927. The version chosen for CCWAA is the fourth edition, which reflects Adler's most mature thinking. While the systematic structure of this book is not customary today, it was common in Adler's time for medical textbooks in German-speaking Europe. The book is divided into two main parts: Theoretical Part I and Practical Part II. The Theoretical Part consists of general conceptual background, while the Practical Part contains studies on particular symptoms, syndromes, and neurotic constellations. Adler uses the term “part” instead of “chapter” in this book. So we find Part I-I, I-II, I-III; Part II-I, II-II, II-III, and so on. The six different prefaces, which provide a historical context for the book, are summarized first.

The first preface, To The Reader (1911), is signed collectively by “The Directors of The Vienna Society for Free Psychoanalytic Studies,” formed in 1911 after the Adlerians left Freud's group. Here Adler makes clear that free and critical study of psychoanalysis is needed, because psychology is a young science that should not close itself off from the freedom to research new solutions. Also, the Individual Psychologists thought it fair and just to be judged only on the basis of their own work.

In the Original Publisher's Preface (1912), Adler states, “The aim of the publications of The Vienna Society for Free Psychoanalytic Studies is to apply the empirically obtained results of the psychology of neuroses to the further study of philosophic, psychological, and pedagogical questions.” (In this first sentence, Adler describes the nature of all his work: an interconnected system of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy.) More specifically, he introduces a theory of personality based on observations that reveal “a picture of a series of developments, a microcosm, a symbol of the whole.” The direction of behavior “is provided by an unconsciously set and constantly active goal.” This goal is part of the child's “life-plan,” created as compensation for “the comparative inferiority of his physical organs and fundamental insecurity about life.” The focus of Adler's theory of neuroses will be uncovering this life-plan and goal, rooted in the feeling of inferiority, (sometimes in organ inferiority), “psychic compensations, and security tendencies.”

In Adler's Preface to the First Edition (1912), he defines Comparative Individual Psychology as an empirical science, dedicated to examining the individual's “fictional idea of personality” as it relates to the neurotic character and neurotic symptoms. “The individual becomes a unified whole in which all parts work together toward a common goal showing a purposive dynamic flowing through every feature of psychic existence, assuming an even clearer expression in the psychology of neuroses and psychoses.” Thus, Adler declares his opposition to Freud's fundamental theory of personality and pathology.

In Adler's Preface to the Second Edition (1919), he comments on the world war that has occurred between the first and second edition, dramatically illustrating the victory of “the striving for power” over "the logic of human social life, the community feeling." He asserts that this striving for power is a compensation for the inferiority feeling, and defines the purposes of Individual Psychology (IP): “to lead the way in demolishing the striving for personal power and in educating the community.”

In Adler's Preface to the Third Edition (1922), he vigorously denies “that there is an organic disposition for neurosis,” and maintains that all neuroses and psychoses “originate in (the individual's) attitude toward the logic of human coexistence.” We may infer that his ideas are the reason that his application to be appointed as a lecturer at the University of Vienna was refused, at this time, preventing him from giving public lectures there to students and physicians. However, this rejection did not diminish his passion for disseminating his ideas “for the common good.”

In the short Adler's Preface to the Fourth Edition (1927), he argues that IP is based on empirical observations, pointing out that its practical observations have helped to reinforce its status.

In Theoretical Part I – Introduction, Adler starts with a statement by the Roman philosopher, Seneca, that “everything depends on opinion.” Neuroses can be understood only in the total context of the human mind, and depend on a fictional final goal, which has “formative, directive and organizing power.” The neurotic goal is a fictional elevation of the feeling of self-worth, the simplest form of which is the “masculine protest.” Safeguarding is a neurotic manifestation of psychic insecurity, the will to be safe and secure under conditions that are experienced as threatening. Neurotic expressions serve as a means to prepare a stance in life, to take a position that guarantees a feeling of superiority. The neurotic character, therefore, serves the individual's fictional purpose. In the practical part of this book, Adler discusses a number of cases in detail to illustrate his theories.

Theoretical Part I-I: The Origin and Development of the Inferiority Feeling and its Effects presents basic concepts in Individual Psychology (IP). Starting with organ inferiority, Adler reviews contemporary literature, referring to other authors who have discussed related concepts. “The neurotic carries this feeling of inferiority with him constantly. Because of this, the development of his analogical reasoning, and his attempts at finding a solution by using his earlier experiences as analogy, are stronger and clearer.” Here we find the concept of the fiction, which easily spreads wider than the original idea. Neurotics typically strive toward a final goal of superiority. Adler comments on a number of compensatory mechanisms that help people strive for superiority, e.g. the tendency to devalue people and things. He also finds an increase in the need for self-worth, which may degenerate into the “will to appearance.” He concludes, “In an apparently hostile world, the interest in one's own person will grow stronger and the interest in others will dwindle.”

Theoretical Part I-II: Psychic Compensation and its Preparation continues the previous chapter's discussion of the inferiority feeling. First inferiority, then compensation. Adler refers to Vaihinger and his theory of fictions: the human mind emerges in the midst of chaotic impressions; one of the primary challenges is to organize all these impressions into meaningful wholes, fictions. Thus, fictions are actually quite normal for survival; we all need them. The fictions are also compensatory means; rather than suffering from feelings of inferiority, we may create fictions of greatness and achievement. These fictions are normal if we use them to achieve real, socially useful goals; if we use them for unreal, socially negative purposes, they are a sign of neurosis. One example of this dynamic is ambition; it may lead to greatness if the person is capable of real achievements, or to neurosis, if the person is not able to create anything real and valuable. Adler cites other examples as well, such as the dreams that often serve as a cautionary voice, or the sense of guilt that may act as a safeguarding tendency. Neurotic problems are manifestations of the compensatory force released by the inferiority feeling.

In Theoretical Part I-III: The Accentuated Fiction as Guiding Idea in the Neurosis, Adler elaborates on his fundamental idea that: “ . . . the child creates a guiding line, a guiding image, a specific, fixed point outside her own person that she is striving after, in the expectation that this is the best way to find her orientation and achieve the gratification of her needs, the avoidance of discomfort and the realization of pleasure.” This guiding fiction (also referred to elsewhere as an “imaginary goal,” “personality ideal,” “fictitious plan of life,” “guiding personality ideal,” “fictitious guiding line,” and “life plan”) helps the child free herself from her inferiority feelings. With neurosis, the primary aim of this guiding fiction is to provide security from failure, from feeling inferior, at any cost. He then talks about specific neurotic syndromes and how they relate to inferiority feelings. This section also contains a diagram created by Adler, demonstrating the various concepts used in IP and some of their connections. The neurotic guiding idea may be accessible to consciousness by means of some particular visual memory. It may reflect some remnants of a childhood experience, or it may be imaginary; if it is imaginary, it is often a reflection of a safeguarding tendency. He explains various manifestations of the neurotic guiding idea, such as ailments, pampering, and greed.

In Practical Part II-I: Greed, Distrust, Envy, Cruelty, Derogatory Criticism of the Neurotic, Neurotic Apperception, Neuroses of Old Age, Changes in the Form and Intensity of the Neurosis, and Organ Jargon, Adler's stated intention is to address those characteristics found in all neurotics: “ . . . expressed directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, by means of purposive thinking and acting, or by an arrangement of symptoms, toward increased possession, toward an expansion of power and influence, toward a depreciation and belittling of others.” Toward this end, he discusses at length the details of several cases, which illustrate his stated intention, as well as the topics in the section title: 1) a philanthropic man, driven to amass wealth, who sought treatment for stammering, depression, and gastro-intestinal trouble; 2) a man suffering from impotence and suicidal thoughts, who feared women and belittled everyone; 3) an older woman with anxiety, vertigo, nausea, abdominal pain, and severe constipation.

Practical Part II-II: The Neurotic Extension of Limitations through Ascesis, Love, Travel Mania, Crime; Simulation & Neurosis; Inferiority Feeling of the Female Sex; Purpose of the Ideal; Doubt as an Expression of Psychic Hermaphroditism; Masturbation & Neurosis; The “Incest-Complex” as a Symbol of the Desire for Power; The Nature of Delusions deals with the complicated, manyfaceted expressions of neuroses. The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate “how the compensatory guiding idea, the desire to have everything, may deviate from its straight course in order to stimulate exceptional neurotic and criminal, yet also creative, achievements in order to eventually reach its goal and succeed in elevating the feeling of self-worth.” Adler discusses the stinginess and self-discipline of the neurotic from this point of view. Also, lies, thefts, and other crimes are attempts on the useless side of life to defy life's limitations. He elaborates on the problems of love and sexuality, which may be caused by a striving to create distance from the partner, to be independent and free. In these cases, the person may have strong safeguards against any real intimacy. In particular, girls and women tend to feel inferior in our male-dominated society, which “alters their psychic existence to such an extent that they will betray certain characteristics of the 'masculine protest.'” He points out that ambivalence and vacillation are typical for neurotic individuals. The coherence of neurotic traits, “if perceived correctly, will invariably disclose an image of psychic unity.”

Practical Part II-III: Neurotic Principles; Compassion, Coquetry, Narcissism; Psychic Hermaphroditism; Hallucinatory Safeguarding; Virtue, Conscience, Pedantry, Fanaticism for Truth begins with a definition of neurotic principles. Adler analyzes some final fictions and says, “The more we familiarize ourselves with these (neurotic) ideals, the more we are convinced that they are set up as a fictional standard, to be used to devalue reality by comparison.” The onset of neurosis begins often from the moment when the fear of a decision, a test, a public appearance, marriage, or agoraphobia, requires professional treatment. He discusses one patient who, “shortly before her first public appearance, became ill with piano player's cramp,” and relates her condition to the masculine protest. He has found that many neurotics had doubts and confusion about their sexual role when they were children. Also, “there is not a better way of judging the reaction of the neurotic psyche than the question concerning the evaluation of the other sex.” The safeguarding tendency, as compensation for the inferiority feeling, permeates most neuroses and may be discerned “in morals, religion, superstition, stirrings of conscience, and feelings of guilt. They all create rigid formulas and principles, of the kind the insecure neurotic loves.” Finally, because every neurotic engages in fantasy and “wishful contemplations about the future, reality and community fade into the background, thus every neurosis also implies an immense waste of time.”

Practical Part II-IV: Depreciation Tendency; Obstinacy & Wildness; Sexual Relations of Neurotics as a Metaphor; Symbolic Emasculation; Feeling of Depreciation; Equality to Men as a Plan of Life; Simulation & Neurosis; Substitution of Masculinity; Impatience, Dissatisfaction, & Reticence continues the discussion of the problems of neurosis, especially the masculine protest. The compulsive striving of neurotics to fulfill their personality ideal with the masculine characteristics they value most highly compels them, because of the obstacles that reality puts in their way, especially the feeling of community, so that they seek to attain a goal of superior value by means of circuitous paths. Here, the neurotic transformation begins. Adler also discusses dynamics of the client-therapist relationship, noting that the disputatiousness and hidden contentiousness the client displays in therapy relate to his general depreciation tendency, which presents the therapist with difficult tactical problems. He offers several case studies, including one woman who suffered from various ailments, including painful migraine headaches. Studying her life-conditions in detail, Adler learns that she is unhappy with her achievements and with her life in general. In the background lurks the idea that she would be happier if she were a man, instead of a woman.

Practical Part II-V: Cruelty, Conscience, Perversion and Neurosis presents traits associated with aggression and its transformations. Adler finds cruelty “as a compensatory superstructure among children whose inferiority feelings force them to develop their personality ideal early, with accompanying traits of obstinacy, irritability, sexual precocity, ambition, envy, greed, and malicious delight in the discomfort of others.” Such children show “an aversion to positive emotions, to tenderness, in their attempts to destroy the community feeling.” They clearly manifest a “lust for power” that often shows in the torturing of animals and other children, and in fantasies of violence and death. “The immediate purpose of this whipped up cruelty is to prevent the possibilities of weakness, compassion, and love, because they stand in opposition to the masculine guiding line.” Adler concludes by emphasizing that we “should aspire to put an end to the erroneously exaggerated inferiority feeling and the depreciation tendency resulting from it, those two all-important poles of every neurotic, by means of the patient's insight.”

Practical Part II-VI: Above-Beneath, Choice of Profession, Somnambulism, Antithesis in Thought, Elevation of the Personality by Depreciation of Others, Jealousy, Neurotic Assistance, Authority, Thinking in Antitheses and the Masculine Protest, Dilatory Attitude & Marriage, The Attitude Upward as a Symbol of Life, Compulsive Masturbation, Neurotic Striving for Knowledge deals with how these topics interconnect. Adler starts by explaining the core concept, “above-beneath.” This abstraction plays a crucial role in the cultural development of mankind, and may even have led to the upright posture of human beings. “Among children this tendency to be 'above' is unmistakable and often coincidental with a wish to be big.” When the otherwise normal desire to grow up becomes aggressive, we see various manifestations such as disobedience, depreciation, or showing off. Connecting antithetical thinking with the masculine protest, Adler states, “ . . . in all experience and striving of the neurotic the masculine protest prevails as an arranging and driving principle,” in the form of false dichotomies such as win-lose, strong-weak, above-below, all-nothing. All thinking and expressive gestures of the neurotic point to the “final purpose, the fictional final goal. The problem consists in recognizing these gestures and symptoms and understanding their objective,” which is always concealed.

Practical Part II-VII: Punctuality, The Will to Be First, Homosexuality & Perversion as a Symbol, Embarrassment & Exhibitionism, Faithfulness & Unfaithfulness, Jealousy, The Neurosis of Conflict begins with showing how the neurotic's attitude about punctuality reveals her way of thinking “that indicates an oppositeness to others.” Punctuality may be used to dominate, by demanding from everyone the same on-time behavior the neurotic demonstrates, or by making others wait. Either way, the neurotic displays her “will to be first.” Although the wish to be first is typical in children, it may influence adult behavior as a means for achieving superiority. We often find the urge to be first in people with inferiority feelings. Adler ends with, “The frequent cases of sickness, related to compulsion neurosis, I would like to call 'conflict neurosis,'” in that the sufferer is in constant conflict with her environment and the logic of social living. In all neurotics we find “a cowardly avoidance of the true problems of their life. This nourishes their tendency for conflicts because it keeps them occupied, distracted and relieved from their tasks.”

In Practical Part II-VIII: Fear of the Partner, The Ideal in the Neurosis, Insomnia & Compulsive Sleeping, Neurotic Comparison of Man & Woman, Forms of the Fear of Women, Adler connects the neurotic's striving for superiority with his fear of making decisions, and subsequent fear of the other sex. “Within the family, in games, in the way they experience actual and imagined occurrences, both boys and girls begin to prepare for the struggle for superiority at such an early stage that by the time they reach puberty definite favorable or unfavorable predispositions for love and marriage already exist.” The unfavorable predisposition of the neurotic will include “safeguarding tendencies such as mistrust, caution, jealousy, depreciation, looking for imperfections, digressions and subterfuges.” In his demands for love, the partner must “supply what is lacking,” that is, “fulfill the personality ideal that the neurotic has constructed as a compensation.” Normal children also have ideals, but learn to cope with reality. Not the neurotic, who is “chained to his fixed style of life.” The neurotic is incapable of love, “not because he has repressed his sexuality, but because his rigid predispositions lie in the direction of his fiction, in the direction of power and not in that of community.” As a natural consequence of the fear of women, neurotics often move away “from the present and from life,” in the direction of art and literature, where women are often portrayed as dangerous, and love as servitude. Adler makes clear that as long as this depreciation tendency exists, (on the part of either sex), “a cure for the neurosis is out of the question.”

In Practical Part II-IX: Self-reproach, Self-torture, Repentance and Ascetism; Flagellation; Neuroses in Children; Suicide & Suicidal Ideas, Adler expands on the characteristic self-reproach, self-torture, and suicidal ideas of the neurotic. This “self-torture” of fear, anxiety, depression, envy, impatience, and inevitable physical symptoms is the price the neurotic pays for her fictional superiority. She pays this price because of the distance between her impossible goal and her feared inferiority. But even as she suffers, the suffering serves a purpose, which is to prove “she is more heroic than anyone else,” thus deserving empathy from others, but exempt from showing it herself. Another route to superiority is to do penance, which serves as a “satisfaction of vanity,” moving the penitent from below to above, closer to her god than others, closer to “the fulfillment of her guiding line.” Suicide is one of the strongest means of protest available, “representing an absolute safeguard against depreciation, and a revenge on life itself.” In all his cases of suicide attempts, Adler found signs of organ inferiority, childhood feelings of inferiority and insecurity, and an exaggerated masculine protest. Suicide is a kind of tragic triumph, because in that gesture the individual imagines an ultimate triumph over adversaries, yet does nothing to solve real problems.

Practical Part II-X: The Neurotic's Feeling for Family; Obstinacy and Obedience; Silence & Loquaciousness; The Tendency for Reversal; Replacement of a Characteristic Trait by Means of Safeguards, Expedients, Profession & Ideal relates all these topics to Adler's core concepts of the style of life, guiding fictional ideal, and striving for superiority. The neurotic's exaggerated feeling for the family generally “serves the purpose of confining his own sphere of activity by eliminating the community,” thus depreciating everyone outside the family. The seemingly opposite traits of obstinacy and obedience both allow a person to focus on future victory in order to avoid past defeat. Similarly, both silence (or shyness) and loquaciousness serve the purpose of isolating an individual, distancing him from others and elevating him above others. The neurotic's tendency for reversal reveals his “complete insecurity and caution,” as manifested in attempting to “turn below into above, right into left, front into back, feminine into masculine.” Seemingly antithetical or contradictory traits are the neurotic's “expedients used to attain superiority.” In concluding this final chapter, Adler comments that the Individual Psychologist “must understand not only neurosis and psychosis, but 'normal' life as well, both in its permanent contradictions and in its social sense.” Everything should be judged from the standpoint of social feeling, from the perspective of the fellow-man. But the complexity of the human psyche cannot be captured in a scientific laboratory. “In the end, Individual Psychology is an artistic feat.”

The Conclusion is a grand finale, a short summary of the long journey that a serious study of The Neurotic Character requires. Adler defines neurosis and psychosis as “attempts at compensation, products of the psyche that are the result of an exaggerated guiding idea of a child with a very strong inferiority feeling.” The insecurity of these children forces them to focus on “safeguards in their fictional plan of life and to avoid the problems of life.” When they feel threatened with defeat, their neurotic symptoms materialize, obstructing all positive, forward movement. “In the neurotic psyche the guiding fiction (goal) has unlimited power, making use of experiences as it sees fit.”

Thus, it is the task of IP “to comprehend the significance of these patterns, to understand them from their original, analogical structure, as a symbol of the plan of life, as a metaphor.” To fully understand this impetus toward the guiding ideal, the final fictional goal, is to “come to know, compressed in a single point: past, present, future and the intended finale, all at the same time.” The ultimate fate of the neurotic is “a pattern of behavior in conflict with the community feeling, a route of discouragement which makes it impossible to achieve the full ability to live.” Enforced by vanity, “the final purpose of the neurosis is to safeguard the individual for the collision with the tasks of life, with reality, to prevent him from the revelation of the dark secret of his inferiority.”

At the core, IP is a “psychology of position, in contrast to all psychologies of disposition,” because it is based on the position an individual takes toward life.

Volume 2 - Journal Articles: 1898-1909
A Study of Organ Inferiority: 1907
The Mind-Body Connection; Social Activism & Sexuality

Part I: Journal Articles (1898 - 1909)

Chapter I: Health Manual for the Tailoring Trade (1898). Adler describes the relationship between the economic conditions of workers in the tailoring trade and the resulting illnesses and medical issues common among those workers. Although this is not a psychologically focused paper, it is important in that it shows Adler’s interest in the plight of the common man, and his early insights into environmental, economic, and social forces which influence health issues.

Chapter II: The Penetration of Social Forces into Medicine (1902). Adler traces the influence of social forces on medicine and healing that lead to public health, prevention, and the eventual confrontation of “social misery,” as well as other issues that impact public health. He also comments on the government’s role, its relationship with physicians, and on the role of physicians in the area of public health.

Chapter III: An Academic Specialty for Social Medicine (1902). Adler expresses the need for a state health care system, and asserts that the politically powerful do not truly have the health care interests of the common people as a priority. In a strong political statement, he calls for a “central organization” for health care, an academic specialty, and a seminar for social medicine to investigate health related and social needs.

Chapter IV: Town and Country (3 parts) (1903). In 1903, Adler wrote Part I of this article, challenging the common notion that country living is healthier than city living, due to the improvement of health conditions in the city, resulting from public health measures, social progress, and the growing political power of greater population centers. In Part II, he offers a description of village conditions: the positive consequences of sun and cleaner air, as well as a description of the negative health influences of dirt and uncleanliness. After commenting on the poverty and social conditions of villagers and country people, he concludes that villages and cities are interconnected; the health and sanitation conditions of one affect the other. Part III focuses on the interdependence of the country and the city, sanitation, the quality of food and water, and the spread of disease. Adler emphasizes the role of physicians and social medicine, and the need to expand an adequate health care system to those living in the country.

Chapter V: State Aid or Self Help (1903). In Part I, Adler describes the relationship between the medical profession, the state, the ruling elite, and the political forces that negatively affect the equitable distribution of health care in Austria. In Part II, he explains the decline of medicine and medical training in Austria as due to the political forces, the system that holds the medical profession in low regard and which only begrudgingly addresses social issues, while attending more to the needs of the ruling elite. He calls on the medical profession to shape its own future.

Chapter VI: The Physician as Educator (1904). Adler presents the problems inherent in educating children. He identifies the goals and traits of an educator and also the traits and educational power of a good physician. He refers to Freud’s emphasis on children and the importance of the child’s psyche. He comments on other aspects of the child’s education as well, such as the importance of love and affection, the role of the parents and others in the child’s life. He discusses punishment, spanking, and other forms of discipline, positive and negative, related to specific problem areas. He cites typical issues with children and important points the physician-educator should be aware of. (This article reveals Adler’s early interest in child guidance and education).

Chapter VII: Hygiene and Sex (1904). Part I is a commentary on the work of Professor Max Gruber. Discussed here are the importance of sexual hygiene, prevention of venereal disease, related sexual behavior, and the issue of sexual gratification. In Part II, Adler emphasizes the role of attitude vs. glandular function and the importance of both to the physician. He disagrees with Gruber about the consequences of “immoderation” in sex. He comments on birth control, homosexuality, masturbation, and control of the sex drive.

Chapter VIII: The Problem of Sex in Upbringing (1905). Adler discusses childhood sexuality, the purpose of sexuality and sensuousness, and cautions against too much early sensual gratification and stimulation. He explains pathological developments, sexual prematurity, seduction in childhood, and other influences related to the child’s parents. He examines issues around shame and disgust, cultural adjustment and the submerging of sexuality. He comments on normally developing children, the inappropriateness of punishment to counter sexual abnormalities, and the need for a trained educator.

Chapter IX: Three Psycho-Analyses Concerning Inspired Numbers (1905). Adler analyzes, comments on, and confirms the validity of Freud’s work about the deeper meaning of the choice of numbers in three specific cases: the first two cases are the self-analyses of two people; the third is one of Adler's cases.

Chapter X: Developmental Defects in Children (1907). Adler begins with a statement about the importance of children and attending to their needs for the future of society. He moves on to discuss various childhood physical abnormalities and conditions that cause suffering in children and affect their performance and functioning. He mentions “bad habits” that can develop (thumb-sucking, etc.). He expresses optimism that with modern science, early recognition and intervention, attitudes of prejudice and hopelessness will be overcome.

Chapter XI: The Aggression Drive in Life and in the Neurosis (1908). Still in the camp of drive theory, Adler presents a theory of drives and their interactions. He emphasizes the aggression drive over the sexual and other drives as the primary determiner, organizer and director of the other drives in forming the person’s attitude to the world. He discusses the “innate feeling of community,” “social feeling,” as restraint to the drives, their most important “regulatory mechanism.”

Chapter XII: Inheritance of Diseases (1908). Adler describes the inheritance of disease, what was believed in his day, and what questions remained. He addresses health, environmental, social, and psychological forces that may influence genetic transmission and development.

Chapter XIII: The Child’s Need for Affection (1908). Adler focuses on the child’s need for affection and the importance of a certain amount of gratification of that need. He explains how the need for affection extends to those outside the immediate family, its critical role in the development of social feeling, and how “cultural exposure” is important in directing the need. Lack of cultural exposure, for example, has a negative effect, leading to the seeking of too much immediate gratification, self-centeredness, and other difficulties. He addresses the consequences of denying the child’s need for affection and its gratification: the assumption of an aggressive posture to the world and the impairment in the development of social feeling.

Chapter XIV: The Theory of Organ Inferiority and Its Philosophical and Psychological Meaning (1908). Here, Adler explains his theory of organ inferiority, psychological compensation, and overcompensation. He begins with an explanation of the meaning of the word “inferiority” and how it is used in relation to the body’s organs. He goes on to explore the compensatory relationships between the body’s organs and its systems, heredity, the striving for compensation, and various kinds of organ anomalies. He connects environmental pressures, organ inferiority, thought, psychology, and the development of philosophy as interrelated processes. He illustrates cases of organ inferiority and psychological compensation.

Chapter XV: A Prostitute’s Two Dreams (1908). Adler interprets two dreams of a prostitute using Freud’s principles of dream interpretation: wish fulfillment and repression. He also discusses some impressions of the psychology of prostitutes.

In Chapter XVI: On the Neurotic Disposition (1909), Adler elaborates on what he sees as the roots of the neurotic disposition, including hypersensitivity, organ inferiority, the aggression drive, influences of gender roles or uncertainty about gender role. He mentions various personality characteristics resulting from these influences. He then discusses hypersensitivity, the aggression drive, and inferiority feelings in more depth, as well as the impairment of self-confidence and independence, the inner world (thinking and feeling) of the child, and the expectations and fears of the child. He describes the beginning of “protective measures” the child creates around his hypersensitivity, his philosophy of life, and his “fixed final goal.” The child develops suspicion and mistrust, an “unreconcilability with people” which collides with the progress of social feeling. After explaining the significance of birth order and sexual influences, Adler then cites the case of a sevenyear-old girl. He concludes with a description of “a pattern of neurosis,” its symptoms, and related comments.

Chapter XVII: Myelodysplasia (Organ Inferiority) (1909). (Myelodysplasia is the defective development of the spinal cord.) In this highly technical, medically oriented article, Adler argues that all neurosis can be traced to some degree of organ inferiority and psychological compensation.

Part II: A Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensation (1907).

On November 6, 1905 Adler gave a talk to Freud’s Psychoanalytic Circle, titled “On the Organic Bases of Neuroses.” This was apparently a continuation of his earlier reported research into the “Physiology and Pathology of the Erotogenic Zones.” His lecture previewed ideas that would later be developed in A Study of Organ Inferiority. The book clearly illustrates the nature of overcompensation and was appreciated by his Viennese medical colleagues and members of the Wednesday Psychological Society, who considered it a major contribution toward understanding the biological forces affecting neurotic development. With a keen physician’s insight, Adler takes us on a tour of the human body, offering the equivalent of a short course in physiology. He makes us aware of the interconnectedness of the body’s organs and the internal and external conditions that may lead to disease. Consequently, there is an abundance of medical terms throughout the chapters. As a convenience to the reader, a glossary has been added. Later in his writings, Adler shifted away from the idea of an organic root of neurosis, but in 1907 he explored his early insights and speculations about the interplay of organs, the environment, and the mind.

Volume 3 - Journal Articles: 1910-1913
Elaborating on the Basic Principles of Individual Psychology

In Chapter I: Psychological Hermaphroditism in Life and in the Neurosis (1910), Adler joins many authorities of the day in stating that there are male traits in women and female traits in men. Even Freud “established that in no cases of neurosis were hermaphrodite traits absent.” Adler observes that the child plays a dual role, expressing both feminine and masculine tendencies. However, as children tend to adopt the value judgments of the adults in their environment, they soon view “inhibiting aggression as feminine and heightened aggression as masculine.” The masculine protest develops as over-compensation “because the 'female' tendency is regarded contemptuously as a childhood disorder.” Adler lists some characteristics that may contribute to reinforcing female traits and secondarily reinforce masculine protest. He concludes that the task of the educator and the psychotherapist is to uncover these dynamics and bring them to consciousness.

In Chapter II: Defiance and Obedience (1910), Adler addresses the connection between early childhood dynamics and later neurotic manifestations. While family life has the greatest influence, he says that two conditions may intensify defiance. The first applies to children “who, as a result of inferior organs, are weak, awkward, sickly, retarded in growth, ugly, or disfigured, and can easily have a stronger feeling of inferiority resulting from the contacts with the outside world.” The second condition comes from “the subjective uncertainty that a particular child has for his or her sexual role. This condition does not come by itself but is closely associated with the first.” Many of these children will become neurotic: either defiant, or “obedient only when it helps them to find love or the gratification of their ambitions.” The most important task of parents and educators, therefore, becomes “removing the possibility of the child developing a feeling of inferiority,” which leads to his “unconscious and mistaken attitudes.” A critical aspect of this education process is to emphasize the equality of women.

In Chapter III: The Psychic Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia (1910), Adler explores fundamental aspects of psychosomatics. “Among the nervous symptoms that burden the life, relieve the individual from having to do anything and thereby greatly abrogate all social responsibilities, painful sensations play a significant role.” Examining the main neurotic traits in children and adults, he concludes that the neurotic exhibits “a significant number of interrelated character traits which are designed to systematically enhance or inhibit one another.” Except where pathological-anatomical issues are present, “The starting point of psychosomatic disorders is always a neurotic disturbance of the psychological equilibrium.” The key to diminishing symptoms and promoting a psychologically healthy life is “changing the life style, by strengthening the ability to cooperate.”

In Chapter IV: Fabricated Dream: A Contribution to the Mechanism of Lying in Neurosis (1910), Adler explains the nature of lying in patients. Because the neurotic “sees a struggle in every form of personal relationship,” it is no wonder that this struggle extends to the patient-therapist relationship, where aggression may be expressed in different forms of “insubordination, defiance, aloofness,” and lying. The struggle is essentially one of the contrast between “above and below,” wherein the patient tries to gain a superior position, using symptoms, to rid herself of the feeling of inferiority, “a goal which justifies every means.” Children may also lie “to make themselves bigger, or to avoid punishment or embarrassment.” Again, Adler illustrates his arguments with detailed case analyses. He ends the chapter with, “Loyalty and harmony can only be found deep down. There are no lies in the unconscious.”

Chapter V: Adler's Review of “On Conflicts in the Child's Psyche” by C.G. Jung (1910). At that time, Adler was still the editor of The Journal for Psychoanalysis where he published a number of reviews of different books and papers. Jung's paper discussed the conflicts in the mind of the child, using his own daughter as an example. In his review, Adler finds Jung's interpretations astute, as well as intelligently moderate. However, he describes Jung's views as “strictly bound to the main threads of Freud's libido teachings,” and offers his own Adlerian analysis, focusing on the purpose of behavior and the use of emotion: “With all sorts of subterfuges, the child tries to gain security through fear and knowledge.” He finishes with, “Analyses such as Jung's are the delectable gift of psychoanalysis. Their value lies not only in confirming questionable results, but also in opening new perspectives.”

In Chapter VI: The Role of Sexuality in Neurosis (1911), Adler examines the relationship between neurosis and sexuality. He begins by saying that because sexuality is an important part of everyone's life, it is therefore a part of neurosis, too. “How does sexuality become part of a neurosis and what role does it play? It is kindled early and stimulated by an existing inferiority and a strong masculine protest. It occurs and is felt either as enormously powerful to allow the patient to protect himself in time, or is depreciated and eliminated as a factor if this serves the patient.” Included in a lengthy, detailed case analysis are two of the patient's dreams, about which Adler comments, “The true attitude of an individual toward life can be established on the basis of the earliest remembered dreams and experiences, which proves they were structured in accordance with a planned procedure.” He concludes by stating that the patient's “uncertainty, the lack of preparation for his male role with all its related manifestations, became the axis of his inner life.”

Chapter VII: “Repression” and “Masculine Protest”: Their Roles and Meaning for the Neurotic Dynamic (1911) continues the discussion begun in Chapter VI. While Adler rejects some psychoanalytic explanations provided by the Freudians, he accepts Freud's concept of repression, commenting that it takes place under the pressures of the “ego drives.” Then he elaborates on his ideas concerning the influence of humiliation in the development of neurosis. “Based on my experience, the neurotically disposed person, who actually suffers constantly, responds with an acute and chronic attack to every prospect or every feeling of humilaition. That attack provides us with the point in time from which we date the start of the neurosis.” In order to be successful, treatment must deal with the two major sources of the neurosis: “the feeling of inferiority and the masculine protest.”

In Chapter VIII: On Understanding Resistance During Treatment (1911), Adler places resistance in the context of the most common manifestations of neurosis: obstinacy, hostility, a combative attitude, and dominance. “A patient's contrary attitude toward others can really only be understood in light of her wrongful tendency toward isolation, a powerless, discouraging compulsion to dominate, and vanity. Such behavior, of course, is expressed toward the physician who can then develop the patient's ability to cooperate by disarming her of her weapons of attack and, by enlightening her regarding her utterances, bring her closer to understanding her condition.” While presenting a case, he points out, “The depreciation of one's partner is a regular manifestation among neurotics.” Furthermore, he warns us, “ . . . that the person who has long and seriously been neglected will nurture hatred and animosity against those who attempt to dislodge her from her condition and will oppose them like an enemy.” In other words, therapists should be prepared to face strong resistance from clients.

In Chapter IX: Syphilophobia (1911), Adler focuses on neuroses where the dominating trait is the fear of syphilis. Today, people might question this connection between neurosis and syphilis, but in Adler's time syphilis was a major health problem, somewhat similar to AIDS today. He states, “ . . . phobic and hypochondriac symptoms are particularly suitable to protect those afflicted with defeats in life.” In these individuals, “ . . . fear is replaced by safeguarding.” Thus, part of the neurotic's condition involves arranging “the constant or occasional rejection of protective measures. The patient plays with danger and pursues punishment only to envelop himself more securely in his safety net in order to confront more drastically other dangers from the outside world as well as his own inferiority.” Adler uses examples from literature and a number of paintings, as well as cases, to illustrate the connection between the fear of syphilis and the fear of women. He concludes, “Where a patient manifests syphilophobia it is certain that hidden there is the fear of the woman, respectively of the man, and in most cases a fear of both.”

In Chapter X: A Declaration, published in The Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1911, Adler tells the readers that its publisher, Professor Freud, thinks that the scientific opinions between him and Adler are such that the joint publication of the journal is impossible. Therefore, Adler has voluntarily decided to resign from the editorship. This is an historical landmark in the development of IP, marking Adler's official break with Freud.

In Chapter XI: Organ Dialect (1912), we find major elements of IP: the criticism of Freud’s libido theory; “as if”, or final fictions (with a reference to Vaihinger); organ dialect; guiding ideals; organ-inferiority; and the importance of non-verbal expressions. In organ dialect, the psychological states may be revealed as physical symptoms, and/or physical states (illness, organ inferiority) may be revealed as psychological symptoms. Both ways are possible. When trying to interpret these complicated states, the therapist needs to know what the person’s guiding idea is. Adler discusses Ludwig Klages's theory of expressive movement, and concludes by agreeing with him that “the ways of expressing oneself, acting, emoting, one's physiognomy and all other psychological phenomenon, including those of the sick, are analogous to the subconsciously established and active life plan.”

In Chapter XII: Psychological Hermaphroditism and the Masculine Protest (1912), Adler expands on his previous explanations of hermaphroditism and the masculine protest. He begins with a critique of some existing theory and approaches to therapy, including the idea that the neurotic is “guilty of conscious exaggeration, and could be cured if she were more determined to overcome the symptoms of her illness.” After a brief outline of the history of psychoanalysis, Adler continues to refine key concepts of IP, beginning with organ inferiority and the feelings of inferiority. After reflecting on the logic of the mind, he concludes that “the apparent double life of the neurotic is firmly embedded in a feminine and masculine part of the psyche, both of which strive for one uniform personality, but seem to fail purposely in their attempt at a synthesis in order to rescue the personality before colliding with reality.”

In Chapter XIII: On the Theory of Hallucination (1912), Adler focuses on the psychological dynamics and functions of hallucinations. He begins by presenting a short criticism of a physicalistic and materialist theory of the mind. Psychology cannot be based on the physical transmittance of chemical chain-reactions in the nervous system; the mind is an organ that relates the person to the world and guides the will in a direction characteristic of the individual. In IP, the primary question regarding any psychological phenomenon is: “What are the consequences?” He proceeds to explain hallucinations in the light of some case studies, demonstrating that hallucinations are a means of psychological and social adaptation that lead a person astray. A hallucinating person builds for himself “a second world in which the hallucination has validity because logic no longer matters so much.”

Chapter XIV: On Educating Parents (1912) opens with Adler's rhetorical question: “Does anyone still think that words alone have power?” Unfortunately, contrary to all evidence, many adults still rely on talking rather than educating. The distinction is crucial, and fundamental to IP. Children often resist the word as well as the authority of adults. Raising psychologically healthy children is far from easy; indeed, it is not “a science, but an art.” This art demands above all that parents help nurture a child's social feeling, the primary requirement for her to deal successfully with the inevitable challenges and conflicts with her environment. The first step is to recognize and build on a child's strengths. Relying on arbitrary discipline and exercise of authority does no good; “the human psyche does not endure constant submission.” A child must be won over emotionally to cooperate. The smaller and weaker a child is made to feel, the more she will want to gain recognition by defying her caregiver, and attaining various useless measures of security. Adler offers ideas for helping educators, noting that those with persistent problems are often similar to neurotic individuals. Finally, children who have been improperly educated, especially with regard to the other sex, easily “fall prey to neurosis.” As adults, “The primary characteristic of such people is the struggle against the other sex.” We must teach children equality between the sexes.

Chapter XV: The Organic Substrata of Psychoneuroses (1912) is a lecture on the development of the neurotic character, written after the first edition of The Neurotic Character (CCWAA, Vol. 1) was published. In this paper, Adler defines the neurosis as an unconsciously set goal that springs from a tendency for compensation or security: “ . . . it is generally the nature of the neurotic to attempt to impose on his surroundings a personal superiority in some, often peculiar, form.” He refers to the ideas of Vaihinger (final fictions), Henri Bergson (élan vital), and Ludwig Klages (expressive movements as a means of personality diagnosis). In contrast to Freud's libido concept, Adler emphasizes that at the core of the neurosis is the unconsciously created life style, or guiding idea, not any sexual fixations. In spite of its title, the paper argues for the psychological origin of the neurotic character.

Chapter XVI: Individual Psychological Treatment of Neuroses (1913) contains the following sections: “A) Inferiority Feelings and Compensation, B) The 'Arrangement' of the Neurosis, and C) The Psychic Treatment of Neurosis.” Whereas the first two sections explore ground previously covered in these volumes, the third section offers many practical, strategic “hints on how the physician can prevent being treated by the patient.” Highlights of these recommendations include 1) No absolute promises should be made that the patient will be cured, only that a cure is possible. 2) We must act on the assumption that “the superiority-lusting patient will exploit every commitment of the physician as a means to gain the upper hand.” 3) “Never allow the patient to attribute to the physician a superior, authoritarian role of teacher, father, savior, etc. Such attempts represent a patient's first steps of placing a superior at his service, demeaning him, and then compromising him through defeats engendered by him.” 4) Even greater caution should be exercised against having any expectations of a patient. Meanwhile, in order for treatment to move forward, we must establish a relationship of equality, so that “the process of uncovering the neurotic life plan takes place in a friendly atmosphere.” The patient takes the initiative, while we “search for and uncover in all of his forms of expression and thought processes the operating neurotic line.” At the same time, we try to teach him “to work toward the same end.”

Chapter XVII: On the Function of Compulsion Conception as a way of Intensifying the Sense of Personality (1913) consists of two parts. In Part One, Adler gives a short summary of his theory of obsessivecompulsive neurosis; in Part Two, he presents a case study. The obsessive-compulsive neurosis is an attempt to control a person's life in a manner that guarantees superiority by non-cooperative means. It provides the person with a feeling of quasi-godlikeness. In Part Two, Adler discusses the case of a 35-year-old woman who suffered from loss of energy and compulsive brooding. He describes his discussions with her and some of his conclusions: “Shutting out all external demands is made possible by the gain of power derived from having ascribed legitimacy to the illness.”

Chapter XVIII: Additional Guiding Principles for the Practice of Individual Psychology (1913) is a kind of manifesto. Adler begins with twelve theses. After presenting four central requirements for the practice of IP, he draws some conclusions. Finally, he shares a case study to illustrate his theories. The first of the twelve theoretical theses states, “Every neurosis can be interpreted as caused by a culturally failed attempt to free oneself from the feeling of inferiority so as to gain a feeling of superiority.” In stating the requirements for the successful practice of IP, he emphasizes that the therapist needs to “be endowed with a significant gift of empathy.”

In Chapter XIX: Individual Psychological Findings from Research in Sleep Disturbance (1913), Adler first explores a case study of a client with sleep disturbances, then relates experiences from his own childhood, thus making himself the object of another case study. On the topic of sleep disturbances in general, he comments, “The guiding personality ideas reaching toward their goal do not rest even when asleep.” His childhood experiences give us insight into the formation of IP. Several incidents involving death led to his decision to become a physician; early sickliness and difficulty “moving about” led to his emphasis on psychological movement; a strong, important early recollection proved to be fictional. He presents this personal information in order to make a point about ambition and goals, which relates to his analysis of sleep disturbances: “ . . . ambition is only a means and not an end so that at times it can be used or put aside depending on whether the impending goal can more easily be attained with one character trait or another.” He used his ambition to make a contribution to the welfare of others; ambition resulting in sleeplessness benefits no one.

Chapter XX: The Neurotic Character (1913) re-visits the topic of Adler's book first published in 1912, then revised and re-published in 1919, 1922, and 1927. Here he expands on the philosophical foundations of his theory of neurosis. Similar to art, psychology “demands an equally strong intuitive comprehension of the material, a comprehension and feeling that extends beyond the limits of induction and deduction.” The fictional goal is all-powerful: “The individual's goal that was creatively set and the path she sought to reach it, is reflected in all of her actions, in the way she perceives life, the present as well as the future, and in how she embraces the teachings of the past.” But recognizing and understanding the common thread in all of an individual's expressive movements is not easy; it requires intuitively capturing something fluid: “ . . . only an artist is equal to the task, especially a poet or musician. This is no different from approaching an art form, when we relive the gist of a drama, or when from single notes of a melody we get a sense of the seamless whole.” In order to understand the neurotic's “secret goal,” we must examine the child's psyche. The greater her feeling of inferiority, the higher her compensatory “secret goal,” so that even in old age, the individual will pursue “power, respect, attractiveness, and riches,” measuring herself against others and placing them in her service. Thus, Adler's concept of psychology begins with healthy pedagogy, where teaching the equality of the sexes becomes crucial, “ . . . despite a prevailing condition that demonstrates the opposite.”

Chapter XXI: Individual-Psychological Remarks on Alfred Berger's Hofrat Eysenhardt (1913) is an Individual Psychological analysis of the historical novel by Alfred Berger (1853-1912). Based on a real person in the Hapsburg Empire, his novel tells the story of a famous lawyer and attorney general. “His intellectual gifts and his prodigious memory astonished everybody.” However, he was disappointed in his expectations. Adler explains why this novel is worthy of analysis: “It is true to life not merely because it is based upon an historical personage, but also because of the creative imagination of an artist-psychologist who has more than once given proof of his intuitive knowledge of the human soul. For everyone sees only what he can understand.” Commenting on Eysenhardt's transformation, Adler says, “This transformation shows us to what an extent the development of a character under the stress and tear of the world is dependent on the person's own opinion of himself. It is, in other words, changeable, and can like every other scheme be exchanged for another.” In the end, “Eysenhardt protects himself by developing warning hallucinations and terrifying images. He has his hallucinations just as others have a feeling for society or a religion, in order to protect himself by means of an aggressiveness which defeat has called forth.”

In Chapter XXII: On the Role of the Unconscious in Neurosis (1913), Adler explores the theory and uses of the idea of the “unconscious.” He believes that the “unconscious” refers to the fact that the personality ideal, or life style, of a client is not conscious. The psychological (and biological) function of the unconscious is that it facilitates acting in accordance with a uniformly directed life plan. This unconscious life style and goal do not need to be made conscious in order for an individual to pursue them. In fact, consciousness of these dynamics would probably inhibit the pursuit of that life plan.

Chapter XXIII: Response (to A. Maeder) (1913) is a polemical discussion of Adler's dream theory. There was a conflict between Adler and Maeder concerning priorities. Alphonse Maeder, a member of the Jung group, had published on dream theory, arguing for a teleological interpretation of dreams. In his publications, Maeder made no mention of Adler. Here, Adler seeks to demonstrate and “go on record” that Maeder, in fact, copied Adler's central ideas on dream theory. He explains how dreams evolve from the guiding idea, or the life style, of the individual. Dreams function as compensation for inferiority feelings, provide an attempt at solution of the individual's problems, and forewarn us when we are about to try something that we really should avoid: “The dream is a sketchy reflection of psychological attitudes and it always presents only attempts at thinking ahead.”

In Chapter XXIV: Dreams and Dream Interpretation (1913), Adler begins with historical references that go back to antiquity, a common method of argumentation in Adler's day, because knowledge of the classical world was widespread among all people with some education. Then he presents two questions: Is it really not possible for the human mind to look into the future, within certain constraints, when the individual herself has a hand in shaping that future? Does conjecturing, which is also called “intuition,” not play a far greater role in our lives than uninformed critics assume? His answer to both questions is: Yes. While not directly about dreams itself, this line of thought prepares us for the next step: Expectations, desires, and fears reveal themselves in dreams. Like character, dreams are arranged in accordance with the ultimate purpose of the dreamer: “Dream interpretation has the purpose of describing to the patient how in dreaming she prepares and trains herself, and how it also often reveals her to be the arranger of her sufferings. It also is meant to demonstrate how she tries to approach problems she faces from a perspective that would promote her predetermined, fictitious, goal-oriented striving.” In Adler's approach, all expressive movement, both waking and sleeping, relates to the fictional goal, which unifies the individual's personality. Helping a client move in a different direction requires helping her change her compensatory, selforiented goal to a socially beneficial one.

Volume 4 - Journal Articles: 1914-1920
Expanding the Horizons of Child Guidance; Neurosis & Psychosis

Chapter I: Melancholia and Paranoia (1914) is a study on the theory of psychoses. Adler begins by referring to The Neurotic Character (CCWAA: Vol. 1) and summarizes his earlier conclusions on the theory of psychoses. Psychotic individuals characteristically search for detours and distancing to dodge the expectations of society and to escape a realistic self-evaluation, as well as personal responsibility. Melancholic (depressive) people have a low sense of self-worth. Consequently, they make constant attempts to gain great prestige. They often emphasize their lost opportunities for exceptional development. In their manic phase, they show an unshakable assumption that they are super-beings. Aggressive, systematic ideas characterize paranoid people. Their sense of self is driven to the point of god-likeness, based on a deep-seated feeling of inferiority. The chapter concludes with a separate appendix: a case study on the dreams of a depressive client.

In Chapter II: The Social Impact on Childhood (1914), Adler examines the social context of psychological development. In the beginning, he says, “Everything related to child-rearing must be considered with the individual in mind.” The idea of “social usefulness” is central to child development. He refuses to provide clear-cut rules for education because this activity is essentially more an art than a science. However, he offers some general ideas that guide the normal growth of the child. Both discipline and freedom are needed. The impact of the social environment is important for the development of the feeling of trust; the environment should provide logical values that everyone respects, the educators as well as the children. Harsh discipline may destroy the child's trust in other people. What matters most are the attitudes, goals, and intention of the child and of the educator. Their general attitudes and life goals are important in determining the future outcome of the educational process. The social attitudes hide behind the behavior, and are often difficult to change. The most difficult cases require psychotherapeutic intervention.

In Chapter III: Individual Psychology: Its Assumptions and Results (1914), Adler addresses the philosophical and theoretical premises of IP. He begins by defending his thesis that the unity of the individual is an essential element of his psychology, which has practical objectives. If we know an individual's goal, we can predict her actions. As a prerequisite, we need to know the social context of the person. He emphasizes the importance of the goal: “It is not possible for us to think, feel, desire, or act without envisioning a goal. All the causalities are not sufficient for a living organism to overcome a chaotic future and obviate the haphazardness to which we would become victim.” The psychological manifestations of the personality are best understood as directed toward superiority, or, overcoming the feeling of perceived inferiority. This striving toward a personal sense of superiority explains the predominance of “personal feelings” over “objective, or unbiased” views. He concludes by referring to Dostoyevsky's novel, A Raw Youth, where we find a vivid description of the power fantasies in young children.

In Chapter IV: Child Psychology and Neurosis Research (1914), Adler discusses the origin of neurosis. Neurotic developments can be traced back to the first and second years of life, when children form their attitude toward their environment. Children and neurotics lack independence; they both need others to serve them. Adler emphasizes that we should never draw conclusions or make interpretations based on a single detail, but we should evaluate individuals within the total context of their lives. In the second part of the chapter, he uses case studies to examine the complicated manifestations of neuroses. He closes the chapter with ten concluding remarks, or theses, such as: “Just as an insufficient organ creates an unbearable situation out of which grow numerous attempts of compensation until the organism feels itself equal to the demands, so does the child's psyche out of a feeling of insecurity seek that font of extra strength to rise above that feeling of insecurity.”

In Chapter V: The Problem of Distancing Oneself (On a basic problem of neurosis and psychosis) (1914), Adler states that normal people solve life's problems directly, while neurotic individuals prefer to defend themselves with symptoms and reasons for their failures. He defines neurosis as a “yes-but” condition. On the one hand, the neurotic person expresses inferiority feelings; on the other hand, as compensation, she compulsively strives upward toward a goal of god-likeness. He explains four general categories of psychological movement: 1) Retrogression in extreme cases means suicidal attempts, severe forms of psychosomatic illness, hysterical paralysis, and so on. Normal activities become impossible. 2) Stagnation represents security measures meant to prevent crossing the line. 3) Doubt and a mental or physical “back and forth” ensure that distance is kept, often leading to compulsion neurosis. 4) Creating and overcoming obstacles indicate distancing. He concludes by pointing out that where these neurotic dynamics are manifested, personal responsibility is minimal, if it exists at all.

In Chapter VI: Neurotic Hunger Strike (1914), Adler focuses on what we call “anorexia nervosa” today. The fear of eating begins at about age 17, almost exclusively affecting girls. He presents a number of striking cases that describe this condition and the problems it entails. In explaining the dynamics of the hunger strike, he concludes that the affected individuals (primarily young women) place high value on nourishment, because only by overstating it can they attain their goal of dominating everyone around them, and being the center of attention. They can be critical of everything and create anxiety in their mothers by denigrating their cooking and dictating the choice of meals.

In Chapter VII: The Life-lie and Responsibility in Neurosis and Psychosis (A Commentary on Melancholia) (1914), Adler contends that the neurotic person creates an inner world on the basis of a failed individual perspective, a world that conflicts with reality. In order to protect this unreal inner world (to maintain the “life-lie”), the neurotic needs what Adler calls “safeguarding tendencies.” Using several cases to illustrate his theories, he points out that melancholic (depressive) individuals are not really dedicated to anything, feel rootless, and easily lose confidence in themselves and others. They act hesitantly, recoiling from responsibility of any sort. They use safeguarding intensively, as in excusing themselves with falsehoods that contain evidence of their weakness, but are effective in their struggle with others.

Chapter VIII: Book Review of Theophil Becker's On Diagnosing Paranoid Conditions (1914) is a review of a published study on paranoia. Adler argues that in the first case study presented by Becker, “the psychoses here represent a symptom and a means to do battle, tempered by irresponsibility, wherein the blame ascribed to the other as a paranoid premise becomes apparent. The same holds true for the dominant emperor illusion.” Adler comments on four separate case studies in this review. In every case, he and Becker find implicit or explicit aggression. Adler seems to imply that although Becker was not an Individual Psychologist, his presentation was very much Adlerian.

In Chapter IX: Book Review of Wladimir Astrow's Petersburg Dreams (An Unfamiliar Story by Dostoyevsky) (1914), Adler reviews a paper on Dostoevsky. He refers to a lecture by Stephan Zweig and the Individual Psychologist, Kaus, and their studies on Dostoevsky. Adler writes that “the poet's life becomes a protest against the harsh reality and its demands.” He correlates the ideas of humility and subjugation with revolutionary disposition, because these ideas point toward the surmountable distance: “The act is meaningless, corruptive, or criminal; the healing lies only in subjugation, if it conceals the secret pleasure of being superior over others.”

In Chapter X: Nervous Insomnia (1914), Adler includes some of his famous ideas on sleeping-positions. He remarks that frequently insomnia is used as a recrimination against another person, often the spouse or someone living in the same household. Furthermore, clients often insist that their problem should be taken very seriously. If they receive recognition that they have severe difficulties with sleep, they are relieved of responsibility for possible mistakes in their life. Insomnia often springs from psychological tension caused by individuals having to solve problems for which they believe their ability to cooperate is inadequate.

Chapters XI and XII: Minutes of Meetings of the Organization for Individual Psychology (1914) cover several meetings in 1914. On 7 February, Adler explains kleptomania as a condition of defiance. The rage to become rich is often found among people with a pronounced feeling of inferiority. This theme continues in the meeting of 14 February. Wexberg comments on a case where a schoolgirl fantasized that she could steal from her father without any punishment. In the meeting on 21 March, a paper on morality by Dr. Furtmüller is discussed. Adler comments, “The ambiguity of the ethical phenomena forces us to find therein the line of the individual. Ethics is the incarnation of the sense of community.” The goal of education should be to educate the child for the community.

In Chapter XIII: The Woman: Raising and Educating Children (1916), Adler explores the influence of women as the predominant figure both in the raising of children and in the schools (at least at that time). Referring to the ongoing war (World War I), he notes that children were being raised almost exclusively by their mothers. However, the significance of the father-figure has not diminished: “Therefore, the man has to assume the indisputable responsibility for his part in childrearing.” Adler contends that both parents have a role to play in educating the child. While the mother's impact is certainly valuable, it is regularly subordinated to the influence of the man and the male culture. Ultimately, “Upbringing means: to make someone useful for social interrelationships.”

In Chapter XIV: The Child's Inner Life and Social Feeling (1917), Adler elaborates on the concept of social feeling, arguing that the child's inner life is the most critical aspect of development because organ functions, reflexes, movements, and emotions are influenced by it. In this inner life, a hidden line leads upward. All physiological functions are guided by this hidden line, which starts to develop at the second half of the first year of life. This inner life develops on the strength of the child's feeling of inferiority in relation to the goal which promises tranquility, satisfaction, standing, and superiority, in short, “growth.” We can find the unity in the child's life plan (life style) in his games, career fantasies, and earliest recollections. Social deficiencies, “the absence of a public spirit,” become very apparent. These deficiencies result in conflicts with the demands of life, manifested in two major categories: those who oppose others, and those who blame others. These actions represent the majority of neurotics.

Chapter XV: On Homosexuality (1918), mainly of historical interest, reflects the common bias of Adler's time and culture, as explained in the Editor's Note. Here Adler explores the dynamics of homosexuality, as he sees them: “While we find in the development of some homosexuals the total exclusion of the other sex, we can find others who are able to make compromises. However, the shadow of reproach always falls on the other sex.” Always empathic, he notes that homosexuals frequently “have to train in skills in dealing with the other sex that others have practiced and acquired since childhood.”

In Chapter XVI: Compulsion Neurosis (1918), Adler begins, “Discouragement, the surest sign of the neurotic, forces her to put distance between herself and unavoidable decisions. In order to justify this distancing, she resorts to arrangements that mount before her like a heap of dung. This is how she retreats from life.” The image of the compulsion neurotic is of someone “who busily struggles outside normal human activities, tormented by fear and worries.” Compulsions most commonly take the form of “washing, praying, masturbating, various moral ideas, and brooding.” A variety of other forms exist, many of which are found in literature. Adler emphasizes compulsion “as an almost self-contained pathological picture,” revealing all the essential components of neurosis. He considers compulsion, like all neuroses, a “position illness,” rather than what others may call a “disposition illness,” in that compulsion is a distancing mechanism, enabling a person to “confront life with a dismissive gesture,” providing a defense against an individual's sense of superiority. He concludes, “A neurotic compulsive movement is an arrangement created by a person afraid of life to which that person must adhere because she intelligently, but wrongly, fears everything else.”

In Chapter XVII: Dostoyevsky (1918), Adler explores the connections between the hardships of Dostoyevsky's life, the philosophy embodied by his fictional characters, and IP. The Russian author suffered greatly: from life-long epilepsy, four years of having his feet chained in prison, and four more years as a prisoner in Siberia. Yet, compelled to “find a harmonious interpretation of life,” Dostoyevsky came “closer than anyone else to discover the reality of life, its logic, and of living together. He found the limits for the intoxication with power in loving one's neighbor.” Adler describes him as “a great and unequaled moral philosopher,” whose characters are “wholly integrated,” embodying “all the essentials for existence and striving.” Finally, “his understanding and explanation of dreams have still not been superseded, and his perception that no one acts without a goal coincides with the most modern achievements of IP.”

In Chapter XVIII: Individual Psychology on Upbringing (1918), Adler stresses that physicians have an obligation to understand human nature, if they want to be successful in helping their patients. After noting the close connection between physical and psychological health, and that physical difficulties may lead to a pessimistic view of life, he discusses the inferiority feeling and the problems it may cause. He describes the many pitfalls of parenting, the possible influence of birth order, and the “dangerous corners” of childhood, all of which may lead to psychological difficulties in adulthood. He concludes with, “We regard the schools and school counseling centers as most appropriate for dealing with problem children.” These centers were founded by Individual Psychologists before World War I. Now, in post-war Vienna, Adler and his colleagues were building a network of these centers, with the sole purpose of helping children, families, schools, and everyone concerned. “By working together, physicians, teachers, parents and the child have always found the right way to reinforce the child's ability for cooperation.”

Chapter XIX: Bolshevism and Psychology (1918) begins with Adler's lamentation, “The means of power have been torn from us Germans.” In other words, Germany and Austria have lost the war. “We were never more miserable that at the height of our power. The striving for power is an ill-fated delusion that poisons human fellowship. Whoever seeks fellowship must forsake the striving for power. We are closer to this truth than are the victors.” The deep tragedy experienced by Germanspeaking countries was conditioned by the fatal striving for power, exercised by the ruling classes. “Only in socialism did the feeling of community remain as the ultimate goal and end as demanded by unhampered human fellowship.” However, Adler believes there is no hope for this fraternity of humans, because “The reign of the Bolshevists is like that of all other governments founded on the possession of power.” He refers to “old friends, true comrades, who reached dizzying heights, misled by the drive for power.” So he warns that people should not be misled by the Bolshevist propaganda. Instead, he calls for “the cultivation and strengthening of the feeling of community,” which must begin in earliest childhood.

In Chapter XX: New Aspects of War Neurosis (1918), Adler examines the problems in clinical psychology during the war. He reviews a number of contemporary methods used to “cure” war neuroses, and finds them unsatisfactory. Also rejecting the practice of electrotherapy (“shock therapy”), he refers favorably to a paper by Liebermeister, who recommends avoiding “every method of treatment that offends human dignity.” An important survey of available methods of treatment during WW I, it contains 33 references to different papers by psychiatrists and psychologists on the contemporary problems in treating the neuroses caused by the war. Adler himself stresses the importance of the attitudes of the patient. He believes that neurosis is, essentially, an attitudinal illness.

Chapter XXI: The Other Side: A Mass-Psychological Study of a Nation's Guilt (1919). Taken as a group, this chapter, Chapter XIX on Bolshevism, Chapter XX on war neuroses, and Chapter XXIV on neglected children, all deal with the psychological ramifications of war, before, during, and after the event. Adler argues that the people were not guilty of the war, the leaders were. Eloquently describing how the people were taught to be obedient and subservient, he examines in detail the impact of propaganda: “Then came the general staff with their lies. Poisoned wells were uncovered, dynamited bridges discovered far inland, and tales were told of the martyrdom of citizens living along the borders.” As a result, “the people totally lost their heads; no one trusted anyone.” Some “caught on to the game and sought every possible means to escape front-line duty, employing all sorts of real or imagined ailments. The poor and desperate masses were enveloped by fear of death, jail, and asylums and with no salvation in sight. Then came hunger and the endless lines of desperate women and children who stood day and night in rain and snow before the stores of profiteering merchants.” Adler expresses great sympathy for the German-Austrian people, “They had no voice. They were dragged to the slaughter. No one told them the truth,” and fierce disdain for their leaders who caused “this hell.” This chapter serves as a warning for all time: Those seeking power and profit are not to be trusted. Beware leaders who do not tell their people the truth.

In Chapter XXII: Concerning Female Neurotics and the Masculine Attitude (1920), Adler begins with a citation from Immanuel Kant's Anthropology that many women prefer to be men because in that way they have greater freedom, but “no man would want to be a woman.” Many neurotic patients report doubting their gender identity until late childhood; “others carry lifelong obvious character traits of a magnified masculine protest so that, as a result, their attempts at social adjustment at work, in their family, or at love and marriage, fail. All, however,especially female neurotics, insist that they had always yearned to be a total man.” In several case studies and dream interpretations, Adler illustrates the principle that “ . . . no human being can readily endure real or ostensible inferiority. Wherever we encounter any degree of inferiority feelings, we also find a sense of protest, and vice versa. Hence, all movement tends to go from 'below' to 'above' which can only be discerned clearly when examined in the context of the total personality.”

In Chapter XXIII: The Individual Psychology of Prostitution (1920), Adler argues that society brands prostitution as “appalling and even criminal” but continues to tolerate it, treating prostitution as a kind of “emergency exit.” In contrast to some other contemporary authors, he views prostitution not only from the standpoint of the individual prostitute, but also from the standpoint of the customers; they create the system and the trade, not the women who provide the services. He identifies three categories involved in this social system: those in need of prostitution, the procurers, and the prostitutes. Noting the strong connection between neurosis, psychosis, and prostitution, he comments that “those in need of prostitution suffer from a feeling of inferiority, lack self-confidence, are afflicted with a pathological drive for esteem, tend to be irresponsible, and like to use psychological tricks.” As for the prostitute, “ . . . she only plays the part of a woman for her easily duped partner. For her part, she is far removed from the female role. She is merely selling, aware only of her trade, and the demands made on her. She degrades the man into a dependent means for her subsistence. Both arrive at a fiction that deceives them into feeling personally predominant.”

Chapter XXIV: Neglected Children (1920) concludes Volume 4 with a study on the social situation of Austria after WW I. Adler examines the ordeal of the countless children who had to grow up in squalid conditions, in a society afflicted by the war. Many of them were, and continue to be, neglected. He says that the majority of delinquent children are not mentally sub-normal. However, once they fail, that failure turns into a fear of life that they cannot overcome. He emphasizes strongly the need for positive achievements and positive feedback. He discusses the difficulties often found in schools: overcrowded classes and inadequate teachers. Problems with children are frequently provoked by many teachers who focus only on maintaining discipline, without giving any thought to the educational methods used. He proposes that district counseling centers be established in affiliation with schools. “Finally, teachers must become familiar with IP and with therapeutic pedagogy so that they can recognize the signs of neglect. They should then intervene helpfully with positive feeling. In addition, a model school could serve to provide practical training for educators.” This chapter illustrates the unique interdependence of Adlerian philosophy, pedagogy, and psychology.

Volume 5 - Journal Articles: 1921-1926
Talent & Occupation; Crime & Revolution; Philosophy of Living

In Chapter I: Where the Struggle Against Delinquency Should Begin (1921), Adler's answer is: everywhere. The social situation in Vienna was evidently quite difficult, because Adler mentions all possible contributors: parents, teachers, caregivers, and government. He suggests that the depressed standard of living is one reason for the low moral standards, and criticizes the strategies of punishment and the threat of punishment. He maintains that most institutions, including family and the legal system, cannot correct the situation. Only the schools, although they are beset with a number of problems, can help: “The school is the only institution qualified to check delinquency.” Because delinquency really starts with failure at school, he insists that many changes need to be made in the school system, beginning with the most important one of new teacher-training.

Chapter II: Educational Guidance Center (1922) continues the discussion begun in the previous chapter. Adler proposes that until all teachers can be trained in IP, at least all classroom assistants should receive such training. He states that the “Volksheim” in Vienna are the only institutes where “lectures, modern pedagogy, and IP are practiced.” An Educational Counseling Center was established there in order to respond to questions from children, parents, and teachers regarding problem children; and to counsel these children both within and outside the family. For organizing other parent counseling centers, he recommends following these principles: “1) Do not involve any authorities; 2) Identify the origin of the problem and trace it back to earliest childhood; 3) Pay attention to the rights of the delinquent; 4) Uncover vanity; 5) Develop social feeling and set exemplary role models; 6) Reject the myth of talent and accept realistic limitations; and 7) Work each of these principles with empathy, so that they come alive.” For Adler, pedagogy and psychology are fundamentally connected.

Chapter III: Introductions to Heilen und Bilden, Both Editions, & Postscript (1922). (Editor's note: Heilen und Bilden means “health and education” in German.) The “Introduction to the First Edition” was written by Carl Furtmüller. He says that the physician’s advice and teachings are indispensable for the educator. According to Furtmuller, the tasks of the psychotherapist are to study what in the life-plan of the client has gone wrong and become untenable, and what has forced the client into an unsolvable disparity with reality. The therapist should then help the client shed his unrealistic life-plan and replace it with another that will enable him to adjust to reality.

The “Introduction to the Second Edition” was written by Erwin Wexberg, who describes how the war crippled international scientific relationships in Europe. After stating that IP has emerged as an independent discipline that differs from psychoanalysis, he suggests that a “clean separation” between the schools would be of mutual interest.

Adler added a “Postscript” in 1922, saying, “For us, IP is that artistic striving which allows us to view all expressions in the context of a unified development. In terms of practical child education, it means that by illuminating the unrecognized life-plan and by revising it, by sharpening the sense of reality, the sick and asocial manifestations of the self-created system can be eliminated and the road toward reconciliation can be taken.”

In Chapter IV: Danton, Marat, Robespierre: A Character Study (1923), Adler comments on three important figures in the French Revolution. In this short study of the personalities and processes of the French Revolution, he says of Robespierre, “At school he was always a model student and his university studies produced a prized paper. He lived a clean and highly moral life, but in all his virtuousness he hid an ambition that would not allow for mistakes or corruption. Like a model student, he saw revolution as an academic contest for which he would be crowned at the end. His political tactics were always the same: he skillfully maneuvered one opponent to destroy another. When he and his followers finally faced the last opponent, his quick-wittedness deserted him. He also died under the guillotine, as Danton had prophesied, while on his own last walk toward death.”

Chapter V: Progress in Individual Psychology -- Part I (1923) presents some basic axioms of IP. Adler defines man's inner life as a teleological process: “The development of man's inner life occurs with the help of a presumed teleology, by which a goal is established under pressure of a teleological apperception. Therefore, we will find in all psychological phenomena the characteristic of goal-striving that incorporates all forces, experiences, judgments, desires and fears, deficiencies and abilities. From this we conclude that a true understanding of a psychological phenomenon, or of a person, can be gained only when teleologically examined in a context.” At the root of neurosis and psychosis lies discouragement, resulting from a real or perceived feeling of inferiority, which leads to a compensatory fictional goal. “The striving for significance always shows us that all psychological phenomena contain a movement that starts from a feeling of inferiority and reaches upward. The theory of psychological compensation states that the stronger the feeling of inferiority, the higher the goal for personal power.” The proper education is crucial for developing the child's social feeling and courage in the face of life's demands.

In the very short Chapter VI: The Capacity of the Human Psyche (1923), Adler elaborates on the topic of human capacities by first defining the three tasks facing everyone: the social world, work, and sexuality. Neurotically disposed people are characterized by a wrong attitude toward these tasks. The capacity of the human psyche depends on the strength of the individual's ties to the community, “ . . . measured best when a person is about to make a decision or is confronted by a test.” In therapy, the client's striving for dominance is the starting point. The objective becomes “a reconciliation with reality, and engendering encouragement.”

In Chapter VII: The Dangers of Isolation (1923), Adler explains that animosity between parents, imposing authority, or preventing the development of independence can all lead to the discouragement and insecurity that hinder the child's ability to make social contacts. Characteristics of the isolated child may include: vanity, hypersensitivity, lying, pretending, making excuses, having no friends, or showing courage only in fantasy or for show. “The path to ameliorating childhood insecurity is quite clearly prescribed by logic; it leads to the human community. Its support along with the feeling of belonging can banish the insecurity of the child. Therefore, the task of raising and educating a child is to promote the process of 'taking root' and to awaken a feeling of being at home on this earth.” The right preparation for life is possible only in society, “just as learning to swim is possible only in water.”

ChapterVIII: Individual Psychology and World View - I (1923) is a report based on a paper Adler presented in the First International Congress for Individual Psychology in Munich, 1922. Two basic factors guide man's inner life, “the magnitude and development of which mutually influence the development of a personality: feelings of inferiority and the feeling of community.” Our vulnerabilities and natural inferiority in the face of nature created our capabilities, urging us toward greater security through accomplishments. But we also need the support of others; we are social beings. “Unhappiness, alcoholism, criminality, venereal disease, perversion, impotence, frigidity, rejection of love and marriage” all characterize the decline in the feeling of community. This means that the capacity for social cooperation is essential for the survival of the human species.

In Chapter IX: Punishment in Child-Rearing (1924), Adler again criticizes the standard approach to education. He rejects all forms of physical punishment, and objects to the use of punishment in general. If kindness does not help a situation, we should question whether it was used in the right form or with the right attitude. However, kindness as such is not a panacea, but merely a starting point. “The most serious failure with the principle of punishment is that it touches only the superficial manifestations of a failed psychological attitude; it deals only with its forms of expression. The roots of the personality, the nature of the child remain unchanged.” Punishment often results in a child lying; becoming evasive, hostile, or defiant; or even “finding pleasure in being beaten and occasionally seeking such punishment intentionally. Seen from a broader perspective, it should be understood that children subjected to a system of punishment do not grow into independently thinking and acting people.” In short, punishment harms more than it helps.

Chapter X: Progress in Individual Psychology -- Part II (1924) continues the discussion in Chapter V - Part I. Adler begins with some observations on a manic-depressive client, whose pampering mother “clouded his vision of reality and made it seem natural for him to demand and expect as his due only to be in first place.” As a result, the man was poorly prepared for school and social relationships; he lacked social feeling and was easily discouraged, but had “enormous ambition to realize effortlessly his dreams of domination.” He suffered from recurring bouts of depression and manic attacks. Adler describes how he had to correct the client's wrong attitudes and wrong life style, and calm his feeling of inferiority, but first he had to encourage him. He points out that physical problems often reflect errors in someone's life style. “The final cause of neurosis and psychosis is the superstition about the fundamental inequality of human beings. This forms the basis of the feeling of inferiority and the morbid striving after fictitious superiority.” After the client's work with Adler, the attacks stopped.

In Chapter XI: Change of Neurosis and Training in the Dream (1924), Adler presents the detailed case study of a boy with a neurotic fear of heart trouble. A “mama's boy,” with a father who was strict, domineering, and sometimes drunk, the boy developed a generalized fear-syndrome; he could not go anywhere alone. He preferred long stays at home for health reasons. Adler analyzes the boy's anxiety neuroses, agoraphobia, and obsessive ideas, showing how they all follow the guiding line of his life style and goal. He explains how one of the boy's dreams reveals the typical methods used by a pampered child to avoid challenges presented in school, or later, in work. In concluding, Adler cautions us that, “The psychic phenomena cannot, however, be taken as causal, nor measured quantitatively, for they are all errors and therefore mutable.”

Ch XII: Psychic Causality (1924) is a short paper on a big topic, based on notes from a report of a session at a conference where Adler gave a lecture. He presents insights such as, “We regard the human being as if nothing in her life were causally determined, and that every manifestation in her life could also have been different. . . . People can elevate organ inferiorities to rank and honor and make them into a cause. Man makes something into a cause and something into an effect and then connects them both.” In other words, causality is a psychological fiction.

In Ch XIII: Neurosis and Crime (1924), Adler begins by stating that man is essentially a being who needs fellowship, i.e. social connectedness. Too often, children do not receive the proper nurturing of social interest or development of their courage: “ . . . I am confronted time and again by early childhood behavior and by the lack of preparation for life.” For the proper development of social feeling, the mother plays a crucial role. She “transmits to her child an awareness of the absolute dependence of a human being.” If she is not there, or fails to play her role, it is difficult to find a substitute. Children who grow up without love, or pampered, are both likely to grow up with an aggressive attitude, expressed passively or actively, in neurosis or criminality. “Both styles of life lead children away from the community,” because these children grow up lacking “the essential ingredients for life: security and self-esteem.”

Chapter XIV: A Frequent Root of Sadism (1924) shows us another facet of Adler's vehement objection to the cruelty often found among traditional parenting and teaching methods. Certainly, some adults have suffered under terrible pressures in their own childhood, whether real or merely perceived. However, the sadist responds, like Richard III, “I am determined to become a villain.” Adler says, “ . . . we can perhaps distinguish between two types of educators and parents. The first wish that children have a better experience than they themselves had; the other that the children should have it no better than they did.”

In Chapter XV: Critical Considerations on the Meaning of Life (1924), Adler elaborates on the close connection between his philosophy of life and his Individual Psychology; to accept one is to accept the other. “If we understood the purpose of life, the goal-oriented progress of mankind could not be stopped. We would then have a common goal to which everyone would dedicate himself.” Our hidden, fictional goals are far more important than the customary, short-term objectives in life. If these hidden goals are uncovered, “The false values of our days would then wither quickly and collapse before the certain judgment of our increased self-confidence.” The meaning of life lies in how we respond to our absolute connectedness to others. In this response, we all make small mistakes; those who make large mistakes need the help of IP to correct them.

In Chapter XVI: A Case of Melancholia (1924), Adler offers a case study involving some difficulties in the life of a married couple in Vienna. Both of them fought for dominance, “for superiority; the husband with his depression, and the wife” with infidelity. Adler points out that some generosity of spirit is needed in a marriage; both partners, or at least one, must have it. He recommends that in therapy, we must advance modestly and with caution, not expecting clients to easily give up their neurotic fictions. In some cases, clients may even fight back, continuing to “play their games,” to show that even the therapist is unable to help them.

In Chapter XVII: Problem Children and Neurotic Adults (1924), Adler shows how the psychological dynamics of problem children and neurotic adults are basically the same: “From an all too-low selfevaluation came a striving for significance that lost its way and we recognized in these two ways of life instead of a straight-line progression and a socially valuable solution to the problems of life, an evading and hesitating attitude seeking egocentrically ameliorating circumstances in order to hide the secret of a presumed worthlessness.”

Chapter XVIII: Individual Psychology and World View -- II (1924) continues the discussion begun in Chapter VIII, in a report on the meeting of Individual Psychologists in 1924 in Nurnberg, for the purpose of acquainting more people with IP. Attendees included professionals from the fields of education, medicine, and social services. Adler gives the introductory talk, “Individual Psychology and Outlook on Life,” in which he emphasizes the importance of the communal feeling and adequate preparation for life: “Discouraged people meet the demands of life in a way that considers only their own feelings of weakness.” Then, Dr. Leonard Seif and Ms. Ida Loewy speak on IP and education; Dr. Fritz Kunkel speaks on “Social Interest and Courage”; and Dr. Roemer speaks on “Depth Psychology: Technique and Application.” Adler and others comment on each lecture, and the meeting concludes with a final talk by Adler on “Neurosis and Crime,” which can be found in Chapter XIII of this volume.

In Chapter XIX: Marriage as a Mutual Task (1925), Adler maintains that marriage is a mutual task, where both partners must focus on giving, solving problems together, and “thinking more of the other person than of oneself.” Common marital difficulties result from both partners often acting as if “each fears being weaker than the other,” from the misconception that marriage “can heal neglect and illness,” and from “the foolishness of believing that there is healing power in pregnancy. The solution to marriage problems, as is true for all other problems in life, comes from strength and not from weakness.”

In Chapter XX: Unteachable Children or Unteachable Theory (1925), while commenting on the case of a boy caught stealing, Adler argues that no child should be called “hopeless.” “In the field of childrearing we have known for years that harm is done when a child is told to his face that he is beyond saving.” Nothing damages a child more than to take his hope in the future from him: “ . . . what matters is preventing children from becoming criminals by establishing social institutions for rearing children that can prevent them from becoming criminals.”

Chapter XXI: Inscriptions on the Human Spirit (1925) contains more of Adler's thoughts on inferiority feelings and their effects on our “inner life.” He compares inferiority feelings to “inscriptions” that remain permanently in the mind. Referring to the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, he says that it demonstrates how much human behavior depends on particular situations and specific needs and tasks. Thus, a child can be understood only when seen in his place in the family. He concludes that children in the family should be treated equally, but each child in a particular way, appropriate to his character. He also refers to the story of Joseph and his brothers, a typical example of the situation of the youngest child. He also elaborates on some characteristic traits connected with birth order and their influence on child development.

Chapter XXII: Reports from Child Guidance Centers (1925) consists of nine brief case summaries, about children from the age of ten to fifteen, with a range of difficulties. These summaries show the methods used by Adlerians at that time, who were practical and direct, but encouraging. With each child, first the problems are defined. Then Adler makes some comments on the personality of the child, and offers some background from the child's early history. The case studies conclude with highlighting the key aspects, and with practical recommendations for therapy and education.

In Chapter XXIII: Remarks On a Lecture by Prof. Max Adler at the Society for Individual Psychology (1925), Adler comments on a lecture by Prof. Max Adler (no relation to Alfred Adler), and on the work of Karl Marx. A Marxist, Max Adler seems to have been somewhat critical of Individual Psychologists, even if he seems to have accepted the basic tenets of IP (Max Adler's lecture is missing). In one of his books, Max Adler refers very favorably to IP, saying that of all psychologies, it is closest to the truth. In closing his remarks, Adler states that Karl Marx's work is of great value because it “sharpens the understanding of interconnectivity, and springs from “the strongest feeling for community. In that respect it is close to IP because it takes into consideration attitudes and ultimate goals, but we must not forget that this can also be found in poetry and religion.”

Chapter XXIV: Salvaging Mankind by Psychology (1925) was originally published as an interview that appeared in The New York Times, so the title was not invented by Adler himself. The article contains a number of philosophical and psychological observations on different themes. Adler addresses the state of civilization in 1925: “Motives of hatred appear most clearly in the economic disturbances of our time. The class struggle is carried on by crowds made up of individuals whose quest for an inwardly and outwardly balanced mode of life is thwarted.” With the masses, as with individuals, the craving for power expresses the sense of inferiority and inadequacy. He suggests that “the hatreds and jealousies that urge nations and groups against one another holds true also for the bitter struggle of the sexes, a struggle that is poisoning love and marriage and is ever born anew out of the inferior valuation of women.”

In Chapter XXV: Discussion on Paragraph 144, Legalizing Abortion (1925), after first presenting several points arguing against abortion, Adler ultimately defends a woman's right to have one. After considering the medical and social issues, he emphasizes the crucial psychological dynamics between a mother and her child. He believes that no woman who does not want a child should be forced by law to have one, because the effects of her hostile attitude will be disastrous not only to that child, but to all of society: “Only a woman who wants the child can be a good mother.” He concludes by recommending the establishment of marriage counseling centers that include Individual Psychologists.

In Chapter XXVI: On Neurosis and Talent (1925), Adler links the neurotic's avoidance of doing anything productive with his heightened feeling of inferiority. All unproductive activities “follow an upward striving to a goal of superiority,” while the neurotic “creates alibis for the problems of life he ignores.” Emphatically rejecting the concept of “talent,” Adler declares, “Despair about one's own worth is caused by a disastrous talent delusion. This delusion is the common neurosis and the basis for all the variations of neurosis. IP points the way toward a general prophylaxis: it matters not what someone brings into life; it matters what he makes of it.”

Chapter XXVII: Disturbances in Love Relationships (1926) starts with an aphorism: “In order to know people well, it is necessary to understand their love relationships.” Adler refers to the three tasks of life: friendship, work, and love. The attitudes of a child toward these three life-tasks are influenced by several major factors such as: adult role models, the nurturing of their social feeling, and the striving for power to compensate for heightened feelings of inferiority. Most damaging to the child's potential for successful relationships with the other sex is society's emphasis on the “masculine ideal,” the dominance of men in most areas of life. This inequality of roles often leads to “the fear of love and marriage” in both men and women. He quotes Baudelaire, “I could never think of a beautiful woman without also sensing immediate danger,” and cites many examples of “the woman as danger” in art. He examines a number of neurotic problems connected with love relationships, stating that the foundation of love is social feeling. He concludes, “Both sexes are only too easily led into the maelstrom of prestige politics, playing a role of which neither is capable. This process fills them with a prejudice in the face of which every vestige of joy and happiness simply disappears.”

Chapter XXVIII: Psychological Attitude of Women Toward Sex (1926) addresses an issue where Adler was far ahead of his time. Despite the oft-repeated saying, “Women are a riddle,” he maintains, “We are capable only in individual cases to determine all the influences that affect the erotic expression of a woman.” Although the childhood situation of a woman is critical, the only other major factor all women share is their inferior position in society. Repeating his emphasis on the role of education and culture in producing attitudes about sex and gender, he says that the role of women is not satisfactory from their standpoint: “If we are looking for a uniform point of view to understand all these disparaging manifestations of the female role, we shall find it in the dissatisfaction of girls with their status in society, nurtured by an assumed or real overwhelming role of men, which leads to an aggressive stance. This aggressive posture can range from an open revolt to an apathetic submissiveness.” He lists four premises that would help women accept a healthier psychological attitude toward sexuality: “1) Early enlightenment regarding the gender-related roles, and the need to reconcile oneself with these roles. 2) Education and preparation toward a love life that is in consonance with social feeling. 3) Respect of the female role. 4) Affirmation of life and humanity.”

Chapter XXIX: Man's Psycho-sexual Behavior (1926) is a companion paper to Chapter XXVIII, discussing the same issue in regard to men. Adler begins, “The principal viewpoints on this subject agree with those that we had to draw on in our discussion of the love life of the female.” He says that the men in our culture have certain freedoms that are generally not granted to women: “The freedom given to the man in his love life is primarily conditioned by the freedom generally allotted him in life.” Even more than that, we may find “a relaxed, gentleman's morality” that does not set the same narrow limits that apply to women. Adler finds that during the early years, boys' behavior toward girls often displays superior and hostile attitudes. His insights concerning the cultural and social conditions of sexual behavior still apply: “We thus conclude that the type and degree of sexual behavior in men, as in women, depends on their personality. Where sexual organs are relatively normal, a man's successful activity depends on his preparation and training.”

In Chapter XXX: Manifestations of Puberty (1926), Adler examines the biological and psychological development of teenagers: “All manifestations appearing in this period can be easily attributed to advanced stages that were developed during childhood.” Contrary to common belief, the character of young people does not automatically change once they enter the teen years. If, during puberty, they seem to “become more or less alienated from the rest of society,” the seeds of that alienation were planted much earlier in a lack of proper training and preparation for the right attitudes toward the challenges and tasks of life. “With generally inadequate preparation during childhood, there should be no surprise when the tests of puberty bring conflicts.” Next to the unpleasant aspects, however, we also find enhanced values, achievements, and abilities. He concludes, “The life style formed to that point takes on greater force and in the struggle for independence becomes more clearly definable.”

Chapter XXXI: Homosexuality (1926) is mainly of historical interest. However, Adler asks, “Why is it that most people express hostility toward homosexuality? Why is it seen to be a sin, a vice, as criminal behavior, and why is it punishable in most civilized countries?” Adler rejects the use of punishment: “We expect in the future a more correct attitude toward this problem, a voluntary resolution against punishment.” Although his reference to the “healing” of homosexuality is an outdated attitude today, his humane ideas have lasting value.

In Ch XXXII: Sadism, Masochism, and Other Perversions (1926), Adler discusses sexual deviations in the context of the individual's life style. “Distancing oneself from the forefront of life” typifies the life style of those who have chosen sado-masochism as a method of sexual gratification. Throughout the five sections, “1) Sadism and Masochism, 2) Fetishism, 3) Exhibitionism, 4) Sodomy, and 5) Necrophilia,” Adler emphasizes how social and cultural background, feelings of inferiority, and mistaken compensations play their role in the formation of these disturbances.

In Ch XXXIII: Sexual Neurasthenia (1926), Adler focuses on neurotic behaviors in connection with sexual functions. “The feeling of inferiority is the basis for impotence,” which indicates a general attitude toward the world that is hesitating and avoids challenges. “Such a life style is maintained by those who start out trying to do much, but who get little done, whose relationships with others are minimal and are achieved only with difficulty, and whose love relationships never come to full fruition.” Sexual disturbances may be symptoms of general weakness and lack of courage, or even aggression. Adler emphasizes again the importance of social relationships for clients, and the need to change their philosophy of life.

In Ch XXXIV: Problem Children (1926), Adler returns to the problems of education. He refers to some parents who often say, “We tried kindness, but it was useless. We tried to be strict, but that was useless. What should we do?” He is strongly opposed to the use of punishment; if the child is lying, punishment will make her still more guarded, and at some point she “will feign compliance by tricks and other futile measures.” While he admits kindness is no panacea, it is necessary “to win the child over” emotionally for “what we have planned for her, which is to change the whole person.” Consequently, he focuses on the importance of communication and establishing a relationship, in order to build contact and confidence. This may be time-consuming, but there are no viable alternatives. “Only those succeed who stop and think how to gain the child's respect.” We must learn to treat children as equals: “That is a precondition. All education must strive to direct the natural feeling of inferiority toward the useful side. I do not believe in competent or incompetent children; I believe that this applies only to educators.”

Chapter XXXV: Individual Psychology (1926) contains some basic premises of IP, as well as a summary of its historical development. Adler says that IP started with his book on organ inferiority in 1907 (CCWAA: Vol. 2)). The next step was his theory on the compensatory striving for power. After this, Individual Psychologists started to study the creative processes of the individual: “The teleology of the person's inner life is established out of an inner necessity, but in its uniqueness is a creation of the individual” and “the way in which the end goal, the finale, is examined becomes essential.” They then turned to the individual life style in the context of social relationships. Gradually, the idea of the feeling of community became increasingly important, and the compensatory striving after personal power harms the development of this feeling for community. In terms of treatment, in IP, “We emphasize as significant: education for courage and independence; having patience in difficult cases; avoidance of any pressure by asserting purposeless authority; and avoidance of any form of denigration by derision, scolding, and punishment. Above all, no child must lose faith in his future.”

In Chapter XXXVI: Marriage as Responsibility -- Further Thoughts on Marriage (1926), Adler examines the sociological, psychological, and moral foundations of marriage. Greater spiritual values so uniformly favor monogamy that only people who have some neurotic tendency to avoid responsibility want to avoid it. Although differences in social classes are not insurmountable, the antagonism of in-laws can often have devastating effects. He deplores the lack of counseling facilities for the problems of marriage. Many people fail in marriage because they “do not recognize their responsibilities, or expect them to be met either by their partner or favorable circumstances.”

In Chapter XXXVII: The Function of the Mother (1926), Adler returns to the importance of the mother in child development: “The development of innate social feeling is tied directly to the personality of the mother. She imparts the human experience to the child during that stage when he experiences his self-awareness.” The mother plays an irreplaceable role in the development of the social feeling. If the personality of the mother is disturbed, or if she is for other reasons unable to fulfill the duties of the mother, difficulties will follow. Some people may feel that the burden Adler places on the shoulders of mothers is too heavy. However, Adler has also written on the duties of the father (see Ansbacher & Ansbacher, The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, pp. 374-375).

In Chapter XXXVIII: A Case of Fear of Cancer (1926), Adler connects this fear with the problems caused by the client's life style. Quite reticent in his love life, the client nevertheless succeeded in having contact with a younger girl who gradually expected that the man would propose. Finally, she asked whether he intended to marry her. At this point, the fear of cancer began. This fear solved all the problems the client felt regarding his affair and marriage: “This person's goal is to stop short before resolving the problems of his life.” As with most neurotic behavior, the real goal is the avoidance of life tasks and challenges.

In Chapter XXXIX: A Contribution to the Problem of Distance (1926), Adler points out that while keeping a distance from others may, in some circumstances, be normal behavior, it becomes a problem when it reaches neurotic dimensions. Then people “reject every contact and have no desire to accept the totality of which they are part. Their whole attitude takes on a nervous character that prevents contact with others.” Using case studies and dream interpretations, Adler demonstrates that the tendency to keep at a distance may be expressed in various ways. However, all these methods are counterproductive from the viewpoint of the community.

In Chapter XL: Neurosis and the Lie (1926), Adler explains his interest in this topic: “The psychological study of the lie came at the outset of my efforts to clarify neurosis. It is immensely difficult to differentiate between a lie in its broadest sense, living a lie, and the neurosis.” To illustrate his point, he presents the case of a man who was unable to speak the truth. Unable to become his brother's equal, he became withdrawn and depressed. He also saw his prestige diminished by an active, lively younger sister. “His constant lies have the purpose of making him seem important and instead of striving for actual superiority, he strives only to shine on the useless side of life. His true style of life is to try to save himself by seeking escape into illness, which is also a facesaving lie.”

In Chapter XLI: Individual-Psychological Profile of a Compulsion Neurosis (1926), the client is a thirty-year old woman from a lower middle-class family with strong religious beliefs. She would like to marry, but “she fears well-accustomed setbacks from another woman (originally the sister).” With obsessive thoughts of sin and repentance, she attained a kind of morally superior position, enabling her to keep at a distance from the customary challenges of life. “Replacing the neurotic frame of reference with one that is typical of a true fellow-human being, the task of IP is the same as encouraging the patient.” She now has a “better perspective on life” and can live “more usefully for the common good.”

In Ch XLII: Occupational Aptitude and Occupational Interest (1926), after first describing the customary interviews, tests, and physical and psychological examinations, Adler says that any truly outstanding achievement is always attained only in a struggle with inner or external difficulties. “Who among the occupational counselors would have advised the profession of public speaking to the stuttering, weak Demosthenes? Who would have suggested the study of music to Beethoven, having diagnosed his inherited otosclerosis and knowing its ominous outcome? The chances for greater occupational aptitude are better for encumbered children; such aptitude, of course, must be utilized. He who overcomes, wins!” Although we all have some occupational aptitude, “There are those who want to work only under certain, often unfulfillable, conditions. Those are the people who should avail themselves of Individual Psychological treatment before seeking a job.”

Chapter XLIII: Individual Psychology: Its Significance in Treating Neuroses, in Upbringing, and for a Philosophy of Life (1926), concludes Volume 5 with a study on the possibilities of IP. Adler begins with some comments about organ inferiority and inferiority feeling. He warns us about the excessive expectations of teachers and parents which young people are not able to meet, and the great variety of problems to which these unmet expectations can lead. He reaffirms his rejection of the idea of inborn talent, emphasizing instead the significance of preparation and overcoming difficulties. Then he turns to philosophy: “IP sees its main mission as carrying its teachings and experience beyond treating the ill, raising children, and educating the individual. It seeks to become a prophylaxis and a philosophy of life.” We live in the cosmos, bounded by its unlimited horizons. Although we meet the challenges of the inhospitable world alone, we have established communities to help us. Learning to adapt ourselves to social challenges, we may slowly free ourselves from feelings of loneliness and uselessness. “All great accomplishments of mankind are derived from the absolute logic of human relationships. The key to changing man's destiny, formed out of ignorance and mistakes, rests only in the principles of IP. Its philosophy of life is the strongest safeguard, promoting security based on strength and not on weakness.” Thus, the volume fittingly ends with Adler's eloquent articulation of his interconnected ideas on therapeutic treatment, personality development, and philosophy of life.

Volume 6 - Journal Articles: 1927-1931
Structure & Unity of Neurosis; Reason, Feeling, & Emotion; Dream Theory

Chapter I: Character and Talent (1927) continues the argument that Adler began in the final chapter of Volume 5, that talent is not inherited, and that individual potential is not fixed. Abilities and “talents” cannot be separated from the totality of the personality. “We can judge potential performance only when we can determine an individual's total reactions, her total behavior pattern, her general style of life, her 'distance' from the normal goal of life.” We all have the potential for talent, but it must be developed and trained. “What would one of our modern vocational guidance psychologists have said to the young Beethoven? Would he have prophesied talent as a musician? Certainly not. He would have made a shoe salesman out of him, would have directed him to leave music strictly alone. And had Beethoven followed his advice, become a shoe salesman, the vocational guidance psychologist would have claimed that he was right. No musical genius would have developed in him!” Here Adler returns to one of his core concepts, that talent and smooth progress do not prepare us for greatness; what matters is how we overcome our difficulties and defects, how we struggle to improve the capacities we have. Beethoven offers a vivid example of Adler's theory, providing a confluence of interest, sensitivity, training, ambition, and courage.

In Chapter II: The Feeling of Inferiority and the Striving for Recognition (1927), Adler develops further his ideas on the basic need to compensate for the exaggerated feeling of inferiority with an increased, often unrealistic, always self-centered, quest for recognition. He cautions us not to demand more than a child can accomplish: “At this point most of our errors in education commence.” He insists that educators should never use physical or psychological punishment, ridicule children, or humiliate them in any way, as an increased feeling of inferiority leads to their increased need for recognition, usually in negative ways: “In the forefront of these manifestations we find pride, vanity, and the striving to conquer everyone at any price.” All this is counter-productive from the viewpoint of community-feeling and social connectedness. Therefore, educators should do all they can to avoid intensifying, provoking, or in any way heightening a child's inferiority feeling, in order to spare that child from the compensatory, exaggerated striving for power.

In Chapter III: Linkages Between Neurosis and a Joke (1927), Adler introduces the concept of “frame of reference,” saying that a normal person and a neurotic have different frames of reference, even if they may verbally agree with one another about the right frame of reference. A humorous anecdote has similar strains: “While a listener to such an anecdote brings to it the normal frame of reference, the teller of the story suddenly introduces another frame of reference that relates only marginally to the first but otherwise provides a wholly new insight. These two frames of reference collide and thus give the story a comical, peculiar, and conspicuous aspect.” A joke “is a revolt against the normal social point of view.” The neurosis reminds us more of “a bad joke because the actual frames of reference appear invalid from the standpoint of IP.”

In Chapter IV: More on Individual Psychological Dream Theory (1927), Adler uses case studies to further illustrate his dream theory. He states, “The dream shows traces of a probing for a way the dreamer will attempt to solve an existing problem in accordance with his style of life.” However, the dream is also “1) a means toward self-delusion necessary for the dreamer to solve his problem not logically and realistically, but in accordance with his goal of superiority, and 2) the dream has the task of creating the appropriate mood in the context of this self-delusion.”

In Chapter V: The Cause and Prevention of Neuroses (1927), Adler focuses on the important role of the feeling of inferiority in causing neuroses. Hence, in order to prevent neuroses, we must do everything possible to minimize the child's natural feeling of inferiority, rather than heighten it in any way. He repeats life's three main tasks, of friendship, work, and love, saying that one of the major problems people face is a lack of courage in the face of concrete challenges posed by these tasks. If an individual chooses a wrong method of overcoming these challenges, she will be handicapped for the rest of her life because she was not able to solve her problems in a satisfactory way. This is one of the roots of neurosis: “In every single reaction we can recognize the attitude toward life if we have previously grasped the distortion of the personality.” Our aim should be to make children independent, free, self-confident, and courageous. Adults must be re-educated and given a fresh start: “Patients must be approached with affection; the attitude of the physician must be parental. They must be stirred to the depths of their personality; they require honest and frank handling and no demands should be made upon them; we should simply seek to strengthen their courage, so that later they may feel independent.”

In Chapter VI: Education for Courage (1927), Adler champions educational ideals that are universal, intelligible, and generally beneficial. By “universal” he means “any system that tends to divide youngsters in the sense that it makes some to be subservient and others to become a ruling caste must be eliminated.” Educators must first encourage striving and courage among their pupils and not restrict them. We must help all children reach their goals, not merely some children. All problem children, neurotics, and criminals choose that path because “they lost courage for beneficial accomplishments.” Feeling excluded from the educational ideal, they miss the road that benefits all, choosing instead to be in conflict with society, and showing us “the total inadequacy of today's measures to rehabilitate them.”

In Chapter VII: Individual Psychology and Science (1927), Adler uses IP to discuss a paper, “Lying by Children and Young People as a Psychological Problem,” written by Karl Reininger, who was influenced by Charlotte Buhler. In examining the behavior of lying, Adler argues that IP has been able to find ways of interpretation that the other psychologies were not able to find. Interpreting individual problems is the business of IP, and without scientific rationale this would not be possible: “IP has demonstrated with scientifically irreproachable methods a way to find what is hidden that neither the sufferer nor other psychologists understand.” What is hidden generally includes the client's feeling of inferiority, lack of social interest, fictional goal in life, style of life, and psychological movement.

Chapter VIII: Alfred Adler on America (1927) consists of a summary of Adler's address to the International Association for Individual Psychology, after he had spent six months traveling in England and America. He was especially delighted with the highly enthusiastic response to all his lectures and courses in America, where so many people were involved in the social welfare movement, from large numbers of non-professional women, to physicians, psychologists, and educators. All of them wholeheartedly embraced the principles of IP, and declared their eagerness to popularize Adler's teachings throughout their communities and in their many special institutes for young people. Under the heading, “The Striving for Esteem in America,” Adler defines two important extremes in American life: “an extraordinary strong personal ambition and a strong striving for organized groups.” This focus on competition, breaking records, and “being first” makes education “extremely difficult in light of the encroachment of ambition even into the lives of American children.” He also notes that “women play a much more significant role in the cultural and social life” than in Europe. “However, since women effectively control only certain spheres of activities because they do not yet have the same opportunities as men, they have assumed some of these spheres exclusively for themselves, for example, the enormous striving for education that dominates the American people.” Overall, he was very positive about the success of his trip and about America in general.

In Chapter IX: Feelings and Emotions From the Standpoint of Individual Psychology (1928), Adler explains that attitudes alone do not determine the actions of the individual; feelings and emotions play a role, too. Emotions may have biological roots, but IP is more interested in the psychological foundations. He rejects the psychoanalytic idea that anxiety arises because sexual impulses have been suppressed. “It can be taken for granted that every bodily and mental power must have inherited material, but what we see in mind and psyche is the use of this material toward a certain goal.” Discussing social feeling at length, he states that the mother has a special role in the development of this emotion. “We can understand why all actions on the useless side of life are caused by a lack of social feeling, courage, and self-confidence.” A lower degree of social feeling generally accompanies a greater feeling of inferiority, which we find in the life style of both spoiled and hated children, and in children with imperfect organs.

Chapter X: Erotic Training and Erotic Retreat (1928) addresses sexuality, love, and human relationships. In emphasizing the influence of early training on life style, Adler notes, for instance, “It is unquestionable that certain wrong ways of upbringing can lead to effeminate boys, or to girls who will posture themselves in masculine ways.” Lack of proper training in social feeling and courage lead to overall discouragement, which often surfaces in sexual problems. Life style expresses itself in every sphere of life, including sexuality.

In Chapter XI: The Burning of Widows and Widow Neurosis (1928), Adler points out that the social circumstances of women in the first decades of the 20th century were very difficult for them, especially if they were widowed. Using several case studies, he examines the problems related to widowhood: “Frequently, a woman who suddenly becomes widowed has seemed earlier to be perfectly healthy. Suddenly, the situation changes.” After losing their husbands, women often suffer from the same difficulties that arise in men who become widowers: “depression, loss of weight, loss of sleep, and self-reproach.”

In Chapter XII: Reason, Intelligence, and Retardation (1928), Adler explores the difference between reason and intelligence. First discussing “social interest, identification, and empathy,” he relates social interest to common sense. To help define social interest, he uses the saying, “To see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another.” Identification, or empathy, “always occurs according to the degree of social interest.” He then defines reason as “that intelligence which contains social interest” and which concentrates on what is socially useful. What we consider “reasonable” is generally understood as common sense. “Private intelligence”, or private logic, is used in the pursuit of neurotic goals, which defy common sense and lack social interest. He defines mental retardation as the inability to formulate a life plan. The truly retarded individual “is not subject to the laws of common sense nor does he have the intelligence which expresses itself in a goal of personal superiority. Thus we shall find in all problem persons, excluding the mentally retarded, that all movements are 'intelligent,' but that their goal of personal power-striving has misled them. They will strike us as abnormal because they contradict reason 'which joins us all,' and common sense. But they will always be congruently integrated in a system on the useless side of life.”

Chapter XIII: Neurotic Role-Play (1928) consists of a case study based on correspondence between Adler and a man who sought his help after attending one of his lectures. In the man's first letter to Adler, he describes his suffering from depression, physical weakness, and a constriction of the throat whenever he faces a new task. He includes a number of childhood memories, which Adler had emphasized in his lecture as being important in IP. The paper contains extensive quotations from the two letters, followed by Adler's interpretive comments. Adler gradually helps him understand the connection between his childhood, his early memories, and his life style: “Comprehending always means comprehending the context, the uniform direction of the so-called conscious and unconscious.” In his second letter, the “client” describes how he has started to think differently about his life-situation and makes a self-diagnosis, stating that he now understands his problems better than earlier. He says, “I now believe that I could have led my life more courageously, and I shall try to do so.” One year later, the man visited Adler. He had lost all his neurotic symptoms without acquiring new ones.

Chapter XIV: Psychology and Medicine (1928) consists of a lecture Adler was invited to give on this topic. Speaking as an “Individual Psychologist, a practitioner, a theoretician, a psychologist, and a physician,” he describes his vision of the role of the physician as a psychologist. In fact, he believes that “in the future a medical practice could not be built without a knowledge of human nature.” To strengthen his argument that physicians need more education in psychology, he points out the many ways in which physical suffering influences psychological development, and the many ways in which psychological development influences physical suffering. He also proposes that physicians cannot appear as magicians, but merely as fellow human beings. Therefore, it is important to find the proper balance between omnipotence and therapeutic pessimism (“nothing can be done”). At the very least, a physician should act compassionately. He concludes with a case study, illustrating key aspects of IP theory in terms of mind-body relationships and the neurotic personality. “We will always see the striving for prestige as a significant factor for an understanding of the inner life.”

In Chapter XV: The Psychology of Power (1928), Adler elaborates on the dangers of the pursuit of power in all aspects of life: “The result of individual and social psychological inquiry is therefore: The striving for personal power is a disastrous delusion and poisons man's living together. Whoever desires the human community must renounce the striving for power over others.” As the antidote to striving for power, he presents the values and benefits of social interest, which, he argues, always prevails in the end. It cannot be smothered. He refers to Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, where Raskolnikov must, before committing a murder, first lie in bed a month and meditate on whether he is a louse or Napoleon. “We need the conscious preparation and advancement of a mighty social interest and the complete demolition of greed and power in the individual and in nations.”

In Chapter XVI: Individual Psychology and the Theory of Neurosis (1929), Adler focuses on the role of social feeling in individual development: “The physical weakness of the individual in the face of nature requires a sense of community to maintain life, and to force the development of a civilization and an organized division of labor. It probably is the weakness and inferiority of mankind in general, man's knowledge of death and threatening dangers, which produce social interest as an unavoidable complement and to provide relief.” Psychological failures, like neurosis, result from an inadequate attitude toward social issues, and the inability to cooperate. He does not accept the trauma theory: “All personal experiences have been assimilated early on by the fixed style of life.” This style of life is a unified whole, always unique to the individual, and all experiences are perceived through the lens of that style of life. Neither does Adler accept the Freudian view of the unconscious: “ . . . social interest and the imminent striving for an ideal final form (the fictional goal) are the deepest motivating forces of a person's inner life. What Freud found in the unconscious, is not the motivating force but a later, misguided striving for power assimilated because of the flawed, deeper-lying style of life.”

Chapter XVII: A Consultation (1929) is a case study of a 12-year-old boy who is brought to Adler's educational consulting office. The younger of two boys, he is in remedial school and wets himself. The paper includes Dr. L.'s introductory report, his remarks, and Adler's views as recorded by a stenographer. The session begins with showing how Adler interprets Dr. L.'s report on the boy, sentence by sentence. The rest of the chapter consists of a transcript of Adler's conversation first with the mother only, then with the mother and the boy. An example of his interpretation of the report: “When we hear of two brothers where the older has developed well and cannot be overtaken, the younger brother most of the time is a problem. If the younger advances well and comes close to the older and threatens the older's status, the older brother becomes a problem. That experience has been confirmed in this case. The older brother probably does not fail to point out to the younger brother that he is in remedial school.” An example of his encouragement to the boy: “You are a very able boy. You think you can't do this silly arithmetic. I will help you to become good at arithmetic. We'll do that skillfully and it will be fun for you. I also was poor in arithmetic and then someone showed me how it's done. Then I moved to the head of the class in arithmetic. Come back soon. Also when someone criticizes you at home don't get angry right away and wet yourself. You must help me. Can I count on you?” Adler demonstrates how, in working with children, therapists must find a way to put themselves “at the same level” as the child, building a friendly relationship, and winning the child over emotionally. He shows us this art of establishing a warm, inviting connection with a child many times in successive volumes of CCWAA.

In Chapter XVIII: Sleeplessness (1929), Adler begins by advising that we must first exclude all possible organic reasons for sleeplessness. If we find no organic reasons, then we need to examine how this symptom fits in with the whole personality, and how the person may be using insomnia: “We will find that every person who does not sleep has a certain purpose which is supported by not sleeping. We will always find another person involved. Sleeplessness is an effective way of hitting at this other person, who usually is nearby. Married men and women hit at each other.” Sleeplessness is also often used as a tool of competition: “I could accomplish so much if only I had more sleep.” He concludes with, “Sleeplessness occurs only in a situation in which a person is confronted with a problem for which she is not prepared.”

Chapter XIX: The Individual Criminal and His Cure (1930) consists of Adler's presentation to the National Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor (in the United States). In discussing the nature of criminality, he examines the impact of private logic, focusing on egotism, greed, and the exclusion of other people. He begins with the relativity of the concept of normality: “The normal mind and normal individual do not exist. We all vary and only if we are fortunate and do not suffer from great mistakes, do we feel normal and behave correctly.” All failures in life are really failures in constructing a socially beneficial style of life. The role of psychology is to find out why so many people have unproductive, “antisocial” attitudes which do not correspond with cooperation and social interest. The most important task of education is to train children in social interest, because neglected or pampered children are not able to cooperate. Those with the greatest lack of social interest, criminals, consider that all others exist merely to satisfy their needs and desires. Many people find a feeling of superiority in resisting laws, police, and authorities in general. Adler proposes that special centers for crime prevention should be established where “the methods of psychoanalysis, the gland specialists, the brain-pathologists, the behaviorists, and so forth should be tried and compared.” Appended to this paper is a summary of the remarks by a number of major authorities on prisons in this country.

In Chapter XX: Individual Psychology (1930), Adler elaborates on key principles of IP, emphasizing the primacy of the fictional goal in driving all psychic development. This goal, established in the first four or five years of life, “has not only the function of determining a direction, of promising security, power, and perfection, but also should awaken the necessary feelings which promise them. Thus, the individual mitigates her sense of weakness in the anticipation of achieving her goal.” The individual's “sense of weakness,” her perceived feeling of inferiority, is fundamentally related to her goal. “If there is any causal factor in the psychic mechanism, it is the common and often excessive sense of inferiority.” The basic task of Adlerian therapy is to find the guiding thread of a client's life (her fictional goal), which we must accomplish by comparing all the details in her life: “Only a perfect coincidence of the whole and all the parts gives us the right to say, I understand.”

In Chapter XXI: Again -- The Unity of the Neuroses (1930), Adler expands his ideas on the holistic nature of the personality: “Indeed, we can only uncover the style of life when by abstracting we exclude less suitable ways of expressing it. It is the same with recognizing a style in painting, architecture, and music.” Thus, we find the essence of the individual's personality by studying and comprehending the person's usual, repeated ways of expressing himself. In commenting on Gestalt psychology, Adler says that followers of this approach understand the idea of the dominating wholeness. However, he is not satisfied with mere gestalt; every note must be related to the melody: “We are satisfied only when we have recognized in it the original driving attitude, for example in Bach, his life style.” The paper also includes a critical analysis of psychoanalysis, and case studies illustrating Adler's theories.

Chapter XXII: A Case of Enuresis Diurnal: Stenographic Report of a Counseling Session on Child-Rearing (1930) presents the problems caused by enuresis, which Adler defines as a movement that has the goal of establishing contact with the mother: “The child speaks through enuresis: 'I am not ready yet. I still have to be watched over.'” As in Chapter XVII: “A Consultation” (1929), the session begins with Adler's analysis of the report about the boy, with a line-by-line interpretation. Then he calls in the mother, “Try sometimes not to chide him and not to nag him. I would say to him, 'You can do it!' I would praise him and show him that I like him. He needs evidence that he is liked. Then he will do well.” When she leaves, he invites the boy into his office and talks with him in a friendly, encouraging way, finding his strengths and establishing a relationship. After the boy leaves, Adler says, “Now is the time for encouraging the boy. Talking about his faults now would not be encouraging. If he returns in one month and we see that he is coming along, it might then be the right time to talk about it.” (Editor's note: In Adlerian therapy, we do not begin with the client's mistakes, with his weakness. We begin by building a relationship, then encouraging him in a direction away from his mistakes so that later, after he has had some success and feels stronger, he may be in a better position to understand what he used to do. Timing is crucial. As Adler demonstrates repeatedly, encouragement is an art.)

Chapter XXIII: Individual Psychology and Crime (1930) returns to the same topic as Chapter XIX: “The Individual Criminal and His Cure” (1929). Here, Adler points out that he has not been inquiring so much into particular crimes as into the lives of individual men and women. He says that all people, criminals or not, strive to reach a psychic goal in the future, by attaining which we will feel strong and complete. He refers to John Dewey, the American philosopher, who calls this phenomenon “the striving for security.” It is not this striving as such that makes a criminal, but the direction his striving takes. A criminal fails to understand the demands of social living, or to feel concern for others. Adler does not believe criminals are typically insane, and rejects any ideas of biological or environmental determination. Some psychotic criminals exist, of course, but these cases are rare. Criminal actions are planned, often presuming a high level of private logic, but with severely deficient or totally non-existent social interest: “A criminal is not interested in others. He can cooperate only to a certain degree. When this degree is exhausted, he turns to crime. The exhaustion occurs when a problem is too difficult for him.” Because the roots of this evil are in the development of young people, he believes schools should offer educational counseling. If a young person starts down the path of a criminal lifestyle, someone should be able to stop this mistake early, before any serious offenses are committed. Experts should be available to discuss with children their individual problems and to solve these problems in a constructive, creative way.

Chapter XXIV: The Meaning of Life (1931) focuses on a subject that permeates Adler's thinking, connecting all his theoretical constructs. First, he explores the division of labor in society, which leads to the necessity of cooperation. We find the meaning of life in the context of social living, in our response to the three tasks of life: friendship, work, and love. We reveal our level of social interest in all our expressive movements within these three arenas of life: “Those who have demonstrated belonging to the community understand common sense. Feeling valuable results from a successful contribution to others and is the only direction in which the average inferiority feelings of people experience a successful compensation. To be valuable means to have contributed. Thus, human happiness can be found only in applied social interest.”

In Chapter XXV: Trick and Neurosis (1931), Adler maintains that “tricks” are a pervasive quality of life. All human achievements and inventions are products of some tricks; poetry, dreams, and magic metaphorically represent tricks. However, in human neuroses tricks serve to keep a person permanently alienated from social realities, which Adler illustrates with numerous examples. The Individual Psychologist aims to show the client his trick and convince him that he has employed this trick without knowing it, generally to serve as a means of avoiding challenges. IP shows him “that he has been utilizing symptoms in an attempt to maintain his high position and avoid a 'defeat.' It makes him realize that, in his feeling of insecurity, the earliest impressions of his childhood have led him to the use of a trick. And it shows him that his insecurity is not real; that childhood impressions are not an adequate foundation on which to build a whole life. It throws light upon his life style and makes him see how, in his desire for relief, he has attempted to play tricks on life.”

Chapter XXVI: The Structure of Neurosis (1931) closes this volume with Adler summarizing all aspects of IP, showing how his philosophy, pedagogy, and psychotherapy form a coherent, interdependent whole. Many quotations are included here because this chapter provides such a thorough overview of his theories and how they connect.

He begins with “the concept of mind and soul,” rejecting any mechanistic approach that ignores the psychic life: “Many call themselves psychologists who in fact are physiologists and, according to the structure of their scientific training, eliminate the concept of the soul or think of it in a mechanistic way. The psychologist, however, takes it for granted that a basic conception of psychic life includes the various manifestations of the personality. While he arranges these manifestations in definite order and direction, he needs speculative insight to understand the context of data which may lead beyond the province of experience. But even here, in the sphere outside immediate or tangible experience, no evidence precludes the assumption of psychic life or disproves the existence of it. Let us assume, therefore, that the soul is a part of life.”

Placing all phenomena relating to the psychic life in the context of spacetime relationships, he proceeds to his concept of life as motion: “All psychic life can be interpreted in terms of movement,” and “every movement has a goal.” In order to understand psychic life, we must understand how the goal originates. While all movement strives toward the general “goal of overcoming,” from a felt minus toward a felt plus, we must be able to discern the “particular direction of movement” of each individual client. All children are born with different potential, and can respond to the same environmental influences in different ways. But perhaps most important in their development is “the creative power of the individual.” This creative power “translates into movement toward the overcoming of an obstacle all the influences upon her and her potential.” However, certain factors lead her to mold her life in a certain direction, such as: having inferior organs; being pampered; or being neglected, unwanted, or ugly. “The basic, underlying structure uniting all these types begins with a feeling of insecurity, which is characteristic of all failures.” From the way in which people approach the three main tasks of life, (friendship, work, and love), we can determine the level of their felt insecurity or inferiority, and the degree of their preparation in social feeling: “The insecure ones construct a life style which shows a lack of social interest, because an insecure individual is always more concerned with herself than with others.” This lack of interest in others is the core of all neuroses, even though the neurotic may seem to show interest in others with overly ambitious plans to “reform the whole world.” The higher, or more unrealistic the goal, the greater the degree of the individual's inferiority feeling. Both the neurotic and the criminal suffer from this feeling and try to compensate for it, but the criminal actively opposes others; whereas, the neurotic exploits them.

Adler then elaborates further on the “law-of-movement of neurotics.” In order to understand an individual, we must distinguish “the goal, direction, and form of her “movement.” Different general types of movement include: a) establishing distance as a safeguard (fainting, indecisiveness, anxiety neuroses); b) a hesitating attitude (stuttering, insomnia, agoraphobia); c) the detour around the solution (compulsion neuroses); d) the “narrow path of approach” (attempting only selected parts of a solution to a problem). In the psychic process, we do not find “only the emotional or the mental side, only the action or volition. The psychic process comprises the whole of an individual.” Hence, Adler's theory of personality and psychotherapy are rooted in the unity of the personality, a unity expressed as movements “determined by a goal.” Understanding a neurotic client then becomes a task of interpreting her movements, her neurotic goal, and helping her change it in a more socially useful direction. (Editor's note: Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy focuses on uncovering and re-directing this psychological movement and fictional goal.)

He concludes: “Thus, we come to the following conception of the structure of neurosis: all neurotic symptoms are safeguards of individuals who do not feel adequately equipped or prepared for the problems of life, but instead carry within themselves merely a passive appreciation of social feeling and interest. As soon as we learn to recognize the meaning of this attitude, we realize that we are dealing with pampered individuals, or those who have not become cooperative fellow-beings because in their earliest childhood they were trained to utilize the services of others for the solution of their own problems.”

Volume 7 Journal Articles: 1931-1937
Birth Order & Early Memories; Social Interest & Education; Technique of Treatment

(Editor's note: By now, readers may become aware of the seeming repetition of certain ideas throughout Adler's articles and lectures. If examined closely, these repetitions have subtle differences and suggest a wide range of application. He also repeats general aspects of his theory to emphasize the tight integration of these theoretical constructs. The lectures, in particular, were often addressed to an audience unfamiliar with IP. Rather than assume that his listeners knew the entire theory, Adler addresses the topic of each lecture in the broader context of his full theory.)

Chapter I: The Neurotic Character (1931) continues the discussion of neurosis begun in the last chapter of Volume 6: Chapter XXVI: “The Structure of Neurosis: (1931). Adler states, “ . . . a description of character does not mean a description of the total inner life as something fixed and immutable. Character is not immutable.” Descriptions are necessary because no single concept can express what we mean by “neurotic character.” “Character” means “social attitude,” thus reflecting both the inner and the social realities of the environment. Traits we consider good or bad have meaning only in a social context, which is why no good or bad traits can be inborn, because “in the period before the child has social contacts, she has no opportunity for such developments and for finding expressions.” Using IP, “We can put our finger directly on that spot where the emotional life was stimulated or mutilated, the point at which the child became dependent and began to see nothing in life other than opportunities to exploit the contributions of others for herself.” After describing in detail the various manifestations of neurosis, Adler refers to the need for more counseling centers in the schools. Despite his optimism, he knows we could not possibly train all parents in the healthy principles of child education. (Editor's note: Also, parents who may need this help the most may be the least motivated to seek or accept it.) Our best hope is to “place the entire task of educating the nation into the hands of experienced, well-instructed teachers,” who can educate children with warmth and understanding, with the goal of “expanding and solidifying social interest.”

In Chapter II: The Child's Symptom Selection (1931), Adler rejects the idea that heredity alone determines symptom selection; many symptoms appear without any specific organic cause: “That which we call neurosis is only symptoms, symptoms of an erroneous life style, that appears when someone is unable to cope with the tasks of life in a manner normally expected of us.” The child's (or adult's) choice of symptoms is always appropriate for achieving his future goal. Adler provides several case studies to illustrate that “Understanding the selection of symptoms is not a matter of mathematics that can be solved by formulas. Every formula is to be avoided.” We must bring evidence to support that which we surmise. “We must apply the general diagnosis of IP, but cannot allow ourselves to be satisfied with that. We must follow with the specific diagnosis until we uncover the totality of the personality, the individuality. Therefore, 'Individual Psychology.'” (Editor's note: “individual” as in “indivisible;” it cannot be divided.)

In Chapter III: Individual Psychology and Psychoanalysis (1931), Adler examines the differences between Freudian psychoanalysis and IP. First, IP concentrates on the person's “I,” an undivided, coherent unity. No “it” or “drives” exist outside this basic unit. The task for the individual “is to be embedded in everything that humans become and in all they do. In this process, the uniqueness of every life style is formed neither by heredity nor by the influences of the environment, but by the goal-striving and fulfillment-urging of the individual.” The child uses her “creative force” in the formulation of her life style and goal, but her degree of social feeling and social interest determine the nature of that life style and goal, which are revealed in all her forms of expression. Individual Psychological therapy consists of using the individual's memories, dreams, fantasies, and all forms of expression to help us understand the “basic melody, the same psychological sound pattern, the totality that is woven through the entire psychological fabric.” The success of therapy depends on our being able to help a person become “a cooperative, loving, fellow human being.” Although we use no formulas, we are “guided by our basic principles. The importance of an awareness of common sense and the training required in observing connectivity is known merely to the few who devoted many years of work to IP.”

In Chapter IV: Compulsion Neurosis (1931), Adler begins, “Rarely is the striving for superiority so clearly defined as it is in a compulsion neurosis.” In showing how little is generally understood about compulsion neurosis, he mentions that “what some writers on the subject have described as ambivalence, ambiguity, contradictoriness, or split personality are simply contrasting means to the same end.” In attempting to uncover that “end,” or fictional goal, IP focuses on the psychic life as movement. The infinite variety of life styles “shows no ideal movement upward. Many paths to significance and superiority may be followed.” Hence, the infinite variety of compulsion neuroses. But all these neuroses share a core similarity; they reflect the individual's attempt to “evade the realities of life, since he feels incompetent to face them, and since his high-flown ambition must elude any sort of failure.” In keeping with the coherent, holistic nature of IP, Adler explains that “the construction of the compulsion neurosis is identical with the structure of the entire life style which adopts all the forms of expression that suit its purpose, and rejects the rest.” He presents twelve case studies to illustrate his point.

In Chapter V: Pampered Children (1931), Adler focuses on the development and nature of pampered children, emphasizing the crucial influence of the mother, for better or worse. The most common error mothers make, with generally good intentions and usually because they were raised this way themselves, is to do too much for their children. This leads to a variety of problems, such as: individuals who depend on others to serve them, a lack of courage, and undeveloped social interest. Adler points out the disadvantages of particular birth order positions, especially that of the only child. The pampered child “hits with admirable accuracy the vulnerable point in the family tradition, which bothers the mother the most. How such children act in new situations, with friends, in kindergarten, in school, at work and in love, how they get into and create difficult situations constitutes a very large part of psychopathology.”

In Chapter VI: The Fear of Women (1932), Adler argues that sexual dysfunction is rooted in the masculine fear of women. He says that a feeling of guilt (“bad conscience”) may be a significant factor in sexual impotence: “In many cases, a conflict regarding sexual relations, particularly a fear of women, can be traced back to a feeling of dishonorableness. The man feels that he is not honorable when he approaches a woman. He feels like a thief, proposing to enrich himself at another's expense.” Adler comments, “If I wanted to have relations with a girl and felt that I was going to deceive her, I also would not be in full possession of my sexual capacities.” Love is a task for two people. “IP and psychoanalysis differ greatly in this regard because for us sexuality is not a primitive urge, but a relationship between two people of opposite sex, developed through social feeling.”

In Chapter VII: Narcotic Abuse and Alcoholism (1932), Adler describes the origins of and effective therapeutic treatment for alcohol and drug addicts. Lacking in courage and patience, these individuals seek relief from life's tasks and challenges. In approaching such a person, Adler first attempts to establish “the conditions under which the abuse began. If we succeed and gain an exact insight into how that beginning occurred, then we can answer the following question: For what kind of situation was the patient unprepared?” In order to gain a sense of the whole person and her life style, he then asks many questions regarding friendships, truthfulness, loyalty, the ability to establish new relationships, work, and communal feeling, all the necessary ingredients for meeting the challenges of life. He examines in detail some symptoms of these clients, such as impatience, suspiciousness, jealousy, and “ungratified ambition.” He also explores the influence of pampering and other hindrances to healthy psychological growth.

In Chapter VIII: Personality as a Self-Consistent Unity (1932), Adler argues for the primacy of the spiritual life and against the tenets of behaviorism. “Like every other science, IP leads into metaphysics. The psychic life has a creative power that is identical with the life force itself. This creative power has the capacity to anticipate, which it must do, because human beings move. The psychic life means movement and direction with one goal.” Great artists understand this dynamic, illustrated by the poets, painters, and composers who create whole personalities, whose every part fits the whole. He refers to Shakespeare, who was a genius in creating examples of unique, whole personalities in his plays. Ending with a case study, Adler shows how all aspects of a particular client's life, including four of his dreams, reflect a “selfconsistent unity.” To make “this portrait totally lifelike so that the patient appears convinced of its correctness requires subtle work.”

In Chapter IX: Structure and Methods of Individual Psychology (1932), Adler elaborates further on the philosophical relevance of IP: "We consider psyche a metaphysical construct. Above all, the psyche consists of movement which is goal-directed.” He refers again to the child's creative power: “The self creates itself, using all possibilities and influences.” Even the influences of the environment, birth order, and organ inferiority do not “determine” anything; they only create “probabilities.” He repeats four main categories of movement in individuals lacking sufficient preparation for life's tasks: hesitating, distancing, avoiding, and excluding certain aspects of a problem. However, we must avoid categorizing people, and instead focus on “understanding the mistakes of each individual,” as part of her unique “self-consistent unity.”

In Chapter X: Individual Psychology and Education (1932), Adler returns to the possibilities of education, and the necessity of emphasizing the upward-striving of human personality: “We see here the optimistic force of IP asserting that everyone can achieve more if he does not set limits on himself. Neurosis and other failures are probably caused by self-limitation and the individual rules of movement the person establishes.” Pampering leads to self-limitation more than anything else. Typically, “pampered people do well when they are successful immediately. Only being tested in a difficult situation will show whether or not they were well prepared.” The opening days of school, the first major life “test,” often reveal the effects of pampering. However, when the teacher succeeds in her task, the mother no longer takes center stage in the life of the child; another person appears on the child's horizon. The teacher, therefore, serves a crucial role in preparing the child for life by nurturing his social interest, courage, and independence.

Chapter XI: The Technique of Treatment (1932) contains a number of practical strategies for the therapist. Adler emphasizes that the practice of IP is an art which must be adapted to each individual. In dealing with neuroses, the therapist must “do his utmost to deflate the high value the neurotic places on her symptoms. Seeking fictive superiority, every neurotic patient has symptoms that betray this abortive struggle, an ambitious striving to be 'out of the ordinary' behind her illness. Unless we realize that symptoms symbolize a huge muck-heap out of which the patient builds herself a refuge, we cannot grasp the technique of treatment.” He then discusses specific therapeutic techniques, such as making the client cooperate during treatment sessions (training her for life outside the therapist's office), treating her courteously as an equal (modeling how the client should treat others), and having enough chairs for her to select one (enabling the therapist to see the client “in action”). Adler suggests many questions to ask, eliciting when the client's troubles began, what she was like as a child, and what family members were like. He also asks for early recollections. All this information is designed to reveal the client's inner life, particularly if she has been pampered, “I become more and more convinced that 'neurotic cases' originate in a pampered childhood.” He recommends that “explanations should take the form of vivid, illustrative examples, rather than long, dreary dissertations.” Therapists need “patience and tolerance, and humor and wit help a lot.” The chapter concludes with five case studies, showing Adler's treatment techniques in detail.

Chapter XII: Origin of the Striving for Superiority and Social Interest: From a lecture to the Viennese Medical Society for Individual Psychology (1933) consists of Adler's views on the philosophy and psychology behind every human action. He points out that IP was the first to establish that each individual has “the striving for completeness, striving from lower to higher.” The greater an individual's feeling of inferiority, the more likely his striving takes the form of striving for superiority or power over others. Striving for completeness is innate, a part of the developmental and evolutionary process: “To live means to develop.” However, people “imagine the goal of completeness differently. When someone tries to reach completeness by dominating others, we consider this goal unfit. It forces the individual to protect himself, full of anxiety. When we meet people whose goal of completeness is to lean on others, we consider this goal to contradict common sense.” The basic direction of human evolution is toward social feeling. Social interest is also inborn, but it cannot develop under adverse environmental conditions. Social interest “never has anything to do with a presently existing group or society, or with political or religious concepts. Specifically, it means to feel with all concerned 'subspecies aeternitatis,' striving toward a form of community, which has to be conceived as eternal, as the ultimate development of mankind.” Thus, IP contains a “touch of metaphysics,” and “every science ends in metaphysics.” As he concludes, he returns to the importance of social interest for the “contemporary psychological state of mankind,” (Hitler came to power in 1933), and for the education of children. He expresses his hope that “perhaps in the course of thousands of years talking about social interest will be superfluous, like talking about correct breathing.” In this chapter, Adler clearly defines his “concept of cure,” or ideal mental health.

In Chapter XIII Physique and Psyche (1933), Adler explores the mind-body relationship. Life consists of developmental striving, which has the “eternal goal of adjustment to the demands of the environment.” There is no static point in this process. Psychological traits like mind, character, personality, and intelligence are some of the instruments of this striving. Adler refers to Cannon's book, The Wisdom of the Body, pointing out that the biological processes of equilibrium presented in that book play their role even in psychology: “Overcoming is promoted by striving toward self-preservation, physical and psychological balance and completeness.” However, “psychological balance faces constant threats. In his striving toward completeness, man is always psychologically in motion and feels unbalanced in comparison to his goal of completeness . Thus, the psychological process manifests itself not only in the body, but also in the psyche itself, where it promotes all kinds of mistakes, actions, and omissions which conflict with the challenges of society. In the same way, the physical state influences the psychological process.” Case studies illustrate this connection.

In Chapter XIV: The Structures of Psychic Activity: A Contribution to Individual Psychological Understanding of Character (1934), Adler begins, “In order to obtain a picture of the total personality from a person's attitude to social life tasks, IP focuses on and evaluates carefully the level of activity with which a person approaches her problems.” The individual's “constant level of activity corresponds with her constant law of movement, which IP calls the life style. This lifestyle contains as its guiding structures a level of activity and a certain degree of directiongiving social interest.” Some examples of activity include the hesitating attitude, withdrawing from the outer world, and avoiding. “If someone tries merely to avoid revealing to others her imagined lack of value, then she will conduct herself in thinking, feeling, and acting in such a way that she leaves all tasks unsolved in order to keep at least an illusion and possibility of superiority in reserve.” In contrast, “If a person is a real, cooperative human being, cooperation becomes the guiding principle of life, as demonstrated in all life tasks.” Adler ends with the comment that, “The psychologist must also clarify poorly understood nationalism that hurts all human society, and leads to wars of conquest, revenge, or prestige. He has to help people avoid discouragement, and help prevent anything which would hinder expansion of social interest in the family, the school, and society at large.” Thus, he connects the psychic activity of the individual, in ever-widening circles, to the psychic activity of nations.

Chapter XV: Psychosomatic Disturbances (1934) returns to the topic of mind-body relationships examined in Chapter XIII: “Physique and Psyche” (1933). After describing the influences of organ inferiority, Adler states, “Inadequate preparation does not have to originate in organic factors, but can also start from an opinion. A person's opinion influences his behavior, and the typical use of his functions. Everything depends on opinion. This approach gives us the courage to say that a person's attitude can be changed.” When an individual feels overwhelmed by a life task, his “body also expresses the felt burden.” Adler describes the connection between opinion, feelings, and emotions and various physical disturbances, including abdominal problems, anxiety symptoms, thyroid gland difficulties, gynecological troubles, and sexual dysfunction. Even our faces express the character within: “Physiognomy expresses movement that has taken form.” He admits that little is known about how this happens, but it does. He ends with, “The outside appearance of man is more connected with his consonance with the society he is striving for than we have previously been able to explain.”

In Chapter XVI: Mass Psychology (1934), Adler explains how the mass-psyche comes into being and describes its significance.” First, he focuses on the constructive influence of the mass-psyche: “Language cannot be understood except as a mass-product, effected both at its origin and its subsequent development by a unified cooperation of the elements of the mass. The same unified cooperation underlies the universal currency of practical reason, aptly termed 'common sense.'” At the basis of these achievements “lies the power of the sense of the community.” Compassion, altruism, and art are all “guided by a common urge to value the welfare and future of humanity as a whole.” However, the masspsyche, like the individual psyche, can turn in dangerous directions. A dramatic example, aside from countless wars, is the persecution of witches, when “more than a million completely innocent girls and women suffered death by fire after unspeakable torments.” The psychology of the mass must be considered from the same point of view as the psychology of the individual; human social groups also strive to overcome a minus-situation. For instance, children who grow up “without an adequate sense of community” tend to put their personal desires ahead of the general welfare, so that “war seems a justifiable means of satisfying their selfish interests.” Taking a long view of history, Adler notes, “ . . . the approximately coherent style of life of the more active group in each generation appears as the mass-psyche of that generation, in all areas of social life, art, as well as in politics and philosophy. The final evaluation of any mass-movement is determined by the invincible power of human evolution, which relentlessly preserves the welfare of all mankind.”

Chapter XVII: The Fundamental Views of Individual Psychology (1935) is a short statement written to introduce “The International Journal of Individual Psychology” in the United States and Great Britain. In covering the basic principles, Adler states that IP begins with a focus on the “relationship of the individual to the problems of the outside world,” which he places in the three main categories of friendship, occupation, and love. The individual approaches these tasks “according to her interpretation of herself and her present problem.” That interpretation includes her own definition of success, expressed in her psychic goal, and in her life style, which consists of her manner of movement toward that goal. All her “thinking, feeling, and acting, every expression of her personality” constitute a unity, which moves in the direction of her fictional goal. While each individual must be studied in the light of her own development, Adler offers, for teaching purposes, four classifications of attitude and behavior toward life's problems: the dominant or ruling type; the getting type; the side-stepping (avoiding) type; and “the socially useful type, prepared for cooperation and contribution.” The principles which guide us when grouping individuals into these four types are 1) the degree of social interest, and 2) the form of movement they develop (“with greater or lesser activity”) in order to achieve their own idea of success.

In Chapter XVIII: What is Neurosis? (1935), Adler connects neurosis with the major concepts in IP, illustrating his points with a case study. The client in question exemplifies “the tension into which the patient falls when he is confronted with the three problems of life: friendship, occupation, and love, which affects not only the body, producing functional changes, but also the psyche.” This tension can be corrected only through an understanding of the individual's unique life style (attitude toward himself, others, and life's problems) and his psychic goal (his interpretation of success). Social feeling “must be present to a significant degree for the solution of all problems of life.” Thus, one definition of neurosis is: insufficient social feeling. Poor preparation in social feeling and for the problems of life, “originates in childhood, and with it a felt inferiority toward the outside world.” Hereditary organ inferiorities, pampering, or neglect may lead a child to oppose social feeling, but his “creative power” takes precedence over any of these factors. This creative power uses all impressions and influences to construct an attitude, a unique “law of movement,” which characterizes the life style. Instead of feeling connected with others, the neurotic primarily feels fear, of failure or loss of prestige, so he concentrates on safeguarding behavior, retreating from life's tasks. Thus, another definition of neurosis is “Yes-but. “In the 'yes' is embedded the recognition of social feeling; in the 'but,' the retreat and its securities. The neurotic turns his whole interest toward the retreat, until it becomes an elaborate 'Retreat Complex.' . . . Even the question, 'Why should I love my neighbor?' springs from the inseparable connectedness of mankind and the stern criterion of the community ideal. Only he who carries within himself, in his 'law-of-movement,' a sufficient degree of the community ideal and lives according to it as easily as he breathes, will solve his inevitable difficulties.”

In Chapter XIX: The Structure and Prevention of Delinquency (1935), Adler returns to a topic that was important to him. He points out that we can reduce crime only by understanding what causes it, and stated most simply, individuals turn to crime when they face difficulties they are not prepared to overcome. Although the issue is “extraordinarily complicated,” IP recognizes what is required to properly prepare individuals for life. The interest in others must be strengthened, thereby promoting an attitude toward the tasks of life that is “directed toward common usefulness.” The mother plays a crucial role in nurturing a child's inborn potential for cooperation and interest in others, but “many mistakes can be made.” For instance, the father may be excluded, the mother may keep the child too attached to her, or spoil him. However, “bad training given by the mother is not responsible for producing the pampered life style. This attitude could not occur unless the child claimed for himself all the advantages of such a relationship.” The great majority of criminals demonstrate a pampered life style, revealed in their earliest recollections. As proof of their lack of social interest, Adler cites two facts: “First, fifty per cent of arrested delinquents are untrained and unskilled, meaning that even as children they did not cooperate or develop their social interest to a degree necessary for business or professional life; and second, fifty per cent of criminals suffer from venereal diseases, meaning they are unable to solve the problems of love in a normal way.” To prevent crime, Adler proposes one major solution: that “schools need to assume the task of developing the inborn potential for social interest.” Furthermore, he suggests “a law that no child may leave school until he can take a useful place in society, until his interest in others is sufficiently developed to enable him to meet the tasks of life.”

In Chapter XX: Prevention of Neurosis (1935), Adler points out that “each psychologist talks the language of his own 'style of life,” and “a psychological system has an inseparable connection with the lifephilosophy of its formulator.” In proceeding to explain his theory of personality, he rejects the hereditarian theories of human nature, as well as environmental conceptions. He maintains that the two major forces within us are the striving to “overcome difficulties and obstacles,” and social feeling. In neurosis, the striving to overcome obstacles becomes a striving over others. “In neurosis we always face a highly placed goal of individual superiority. For therapeutic purposes, this information has to be shared with the individual carefully and kindly. Such a highly placed goal of personal superiority reflects a lack of the proper measure of social feeling and precludes the development of healthy interest in others.” In the structure of every neurosis, Adler finds three factors: “1) too little social interest; 2)striving in a wrong direction; and 3) a comparatively small degree of activity.” Therefore, prevention means training from childhood that nurtures interest in others, promotes social usefulness, and encourages courageous activity in the face of difficulties. He provides a case that “demonstrates how IP understands and deals with a neurotic individual.”

Chapter XXI: On the Interpretation of Dreams (1936) begins with a comparison of the Adlerian and Freudian approach to dream interpretation. In Adler's view, dreams are primarily an attempt to solve the problems of life, in accordance with the totality of the individual's personality. In order to uncover the purpose of dreams, “we must find what purpose is served by forgetting or not understanding them.” We construct dreams to “fool ourselves” with emotions and pictures: “When our life style clashes with reality and common sense, in order to preserve the style, we need to arouse feelings and emotions with the ideas and pictures of a dream we do not understand.” As part of the expression of the individual's life style, “dreaming is like stepping on the gas in the process of driving a car.” The dream gives a person “added impetus in a time of uncertainty to help her reach her objective, impelling her toward her goal with increased emotional power.” Common features of dreams may include falling, flying, paralysis, and examinations. Through case studies, Adler illustrates what some of these features may represent, such as inferiority feelings or striving for achievement. “The 'fooling' power of dreams needs to be understood so that we no longer emotionally intoxicate ourselves.” He concludes, “Imagination, as in a dream, is exceedingly worthwhile as long as it supports life in a useful direction. Otherwise, with a lack of social interest, such manifestations of the imagination as dreams are dangerous training places for unsocial actions.”

In Chapter XXII: The Neurotic's Picture of the World (1936), Adler explains that the Individual Psychologist focuses on a client's “unsuccessful relationship with the outside world,” attempting to convince him “of the coherence of his behavior, to show him his error, and to reveal to him his incorrect, fictitious picture of the world leading to the faulty philosophy upon which he has built his life.” His concept of cure consists of helping a client “correct this faulty philosophy” and accept a “mature picture of the world,” as opposed to one developed in childhood. Typically, the neurotic's world view conflicts so strongly with reality that he feels threatened from many sides, and consequently “narrows his sphere of activity.” The manifestations of neurosis (extreme discouragement, doubt, hyper-sensitivity, impatience, exaggerated emotion, retreat, the need for support) “all indicate that a neurotic patient has not yet abandoned his early-acquired 'pampered life style.'” Adler cites the case of a 21-year-old student in detail, demonstrating his treatment strategy of emphasizing not “causal factors, but idea and attitude,” which create the world-picture of the patient. Experiences do not create neurosis; the client “interprets experiences according to his existing attitude and life style,” both of which are reflected in his picture of the world, “created in early childhood and used as his 'private map' to navigate his way through life.” The process of cure requires understanding this process, and redirecting him to “a more normal way of living,” rather than one in which others are expected to give him the primary position and special privileges. “He will have to alter his old private view to bring it into harmony with a 'common view' of the world,” by which we mean “a view others can share.”

In Chapter XXIII: How the Child Selects His Symptoms (1936), Adler argues that the problem of symptom-selection is the most difficult subject in neurosis-psychology and psychology in general, because “Understanding symptom-selection requires looking at symptoms as creations, as works of art. We must accept with admiration that every individual is an artist in his mode of life, even in his errors. Behind his mistakes lie influences that could not have been good ones and to which he reacted with an erroneous response.” Adler goes so far as to say, “Were I in the same position as this child, had I the same misinterpretation of the meaning of life and the same training, then I, too would have suffered from similar symptoms.” Any one symptom must be considered as one part of a complete whole, of the “personal and unique” totality of the individual. Adler discusses a number of the possible influences on the child's development: heredity, physical defects, nutritive difficulties, economic conditions of the family, attitude of his teachers, the skill and experience of the mother, neglect, and pampering. Using his creative power, the child incorporates all influences into a “direction” he chooses, “one that promises to lead him to an ideal state in which all his problems are resolved.” Because of this innate “creative power,” children growing up in the same family with the same influences may choose very different directions; birth order does not necessarily “cause” anything. The child's response to problems for which he does not feel prepared “tells us immediately to what extent misconceptions have crept into the construction of his life style.” After illustrating his theories and treatment with case studies, Adler ends with, “The problem of symptom-selection cannot be understood if it is treated like a problem in mathematics which demands no more than a formula for its solution. We must reject all formulas. We must, of course, employ the general diagnosis of IP, but that must be followed up with a special diagnosis until the totality, the (unique) personality, of the individual has been revealed.”

In Chapter XXIV: Love is a Recent Invention (1936), Adler presents his understanding of the concept of love, often in contrast to much of what has been written by poets and philosophers. He starts by observing that while we know more about sex than previous generations, we do not really know more about love. In fact, as he points out, “We sometimes confuse the two.” A comparatively new discovery (hence the title), “the ideal of modern love did not exist until women were emancipated from their social and economic shackles and human life was placed upon a higher level than the mere satisfaction of physical appetite.” Emphasizing the importance of cooperation, he uses a number of metaphors, such as, “Like a dance, love requires the harmonious cooperation of two partners.” Other requirements include equality, not expecting perfection, thinking of each other as a twosome, and giving as well as taking. While certain elements of modern life favor love, others work against it, inspiring the “masculine protest” in women and the inordinate “fear of women” in men.

Chapter XXV: How Position in the Family Constellation Influences Life-Style (1937) treats at length one issue for which Adler has become particularly famous: “birth order.” As he makes clear, a child's position in the family constellation is merely one potential factor in the construction of his life style; it is not causal, as many misinterpret it to be. (Editor's note: See Chapter XXIII on the child's creative power.) What matters, as always in IP, is the child's particular situation and how he interprets it. The first-born is generally spoiled, like an only child, but suffers “dethronement” when the second child is born. This may lead the first child to strive to regain his position, by either positive, socially useful means, or negative, socially useless ones. Believing in authority, power, and the law, eldest children often become scientists, politicians, and artists. For the second child, life is very different: “Life for him is more or less a race; the first child sets the pace and the second tries to surpass him. What results from their competition depends on their courage and self-confidence.” Chafing against the strict leadership of others, second children may become revolutionaries. The youngest child never knows the “tragedy of dispossession.” Because parents frequently grow more prosperous with age, the youngest may be the best educated. However, he may also be over-indulged by both the older siblings and his parents, leading to a life style of relying on others. Also, if he feels compelled to compete to maintain a starring position, he may choose a field of activity far removed from other family members. For instance, if the family is successful in business, he may become an artist or poet. Adler remarks on the “remarkable number of youngest children as leading characters in The Bible.” Only children tend to be pampered and receive too much attention without effort, which can lead to a life style “based on being supported by others and at the same time ruling them.” Single boys growing up among girls, and single girls among boys, have their own difficulties. While there is no perfect position in the birth order, the family's evaluation of men and women has significant influence.

Chapter XXVI: Significance of Early Recollections (1937) begins with Adler's statement that “The discovery of the significance of early recollections is one of the most important findings of IP. It has demonstrated the purposiveness in the choice of what is remembered longest.” Although he believes memories may be inaccurate, or even imagined, they give “indications of self-training to overcome the organic difficulties or deficiencies felt in the early environment; reveal signs of the person's degree of activity, courage, and social interest;” and express the patient's fictional goal. Because a great number of spoiled children seek treatment, most memories include the mother. They often “reveal an interest in movement, such as traveling, running, or jumping, characteristic of individuals who encounter difficulties working in sedentary occupations.” Many early remembrances concern “dangerous situations, usually told by persons with whom the use of fear is an important factor in their style of life.” After using case studies to illustrate his interpretation of early memories, Adler concludes, “memories give us valuable hints and clues in finding the direction of a person's striving. They illuminate the origins of the style of life,” and reflect the attitudes guiding an individual since childhood and in his present situation.

In Chapter XXVII: The Progress of Mankind (1937), Adler presents the philosophy of IP: its basic assumptions, idea of progress, and emphasis on social interest. He readily admits that IP has its own assumptions and point of view, but “it is well aware of this fact.” After reviewing how IP was the first school of psychology to break with instinct and drive theories, he states three of its primary assumptions: “1) The personality is a self-consistent unity. 2) The individual behaves toward the changing problems of life based on her opinion of herself and her environment. 3) The individual's striving for successful solution of her problems anchors the structure of her life, but she decides what constitutes success.” He has definite criteria for appraising the movement of any individual or group; what matters is “the degree and kind of social interest” necessary to the goal of improving the general welfare. The rationale for this assumption is that “every individual faces problems that can be solved only with sufficient social interest.” He defines progress, therefore, as “a function of the higher development of social interest.” This capacity, like all human potential, “develops in accordance with the individual's style of life, formed by the child out of her creative power, from the way she perceives the world and what appears to her as success.” He finishes by quoting Winston Churchill: “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is one's courage that counts.”

Chapter XXVIII: How I Chose My Career (1947) is a fitting companion piece to Chapter XXVI: “Significance of Early Recollections” (1937), as Adler now offers us his own earliest memories and their connection to his theory of IP. He was the second child in the family. One of his recollections at about age two “is of sitting on a bench, bandaged because of rickets, with my healthy elder brother sitting opposite me. He could run, jump, and move quite effortlessly, while for me movement of any sort was a strain and an effort.” His next recollection, when he was nearly four, concerns the death of his younger brother: “I remember him only very slightly, but his death remains firmly fixed in my mind.” Always eager to go outside, he did his “utmost to excel at running, jumping, and rushing around.” Although there were few vehicles in the area of his home, he managed to be run over twice when he was four or five years old, “but without being seriously hurt.” A friendly child, “At an early age, I became part of a wide social milieu, and in our games both the boys and girls learned to look upon one another as natural equals.” His elder brother was the only one with whom he did not get along well. He points out that his struggle to overcome early organic inferiority and early connection with others outside the family circle “laid the foundations of my psychic structure and attitude toward life. We can also see clearly how my childhood experiences established a tendency, representative of my position in the family and my desire to move freely, to see all psychic manifestations in terms of movement.”

At the age of five, he contracted pneumonia and the doctor told his father that “there was no hope of my living.” When he recovered, he decided to become a doctor, “so I would have a better defense against the danger of death and weapons to combat it superior to my doctor's. The determination to become a doctor never left me. Even the lure of art, and my considerable abilities in music were not enough to turn me from my chosen path, and I persisted although many complex difficulties lay between me and my goal.” This final chapter of Volume 7 vividly illustrates the origin of Adler's theory of IP in his own childhood, and in particular: his emphasis on movement, social equality, and social interest; the influence of organ inferiority and birth order; and the importance of courage in struggling to overcome difficulties. The chapter also echoes his earlier assertion in Chapter XX: “Prevention of Neurosis,” that each system of psychology reflects the personality of its author.

Volume 8 - Lectures to Physicians & Medical Students: Medical Course at Urban Hospital; Post-graduate Lectures at Long Island College of Medicine

Editor's Note: Volume eight consists of twenty-eight of Adler's unpublished lectures to medical students and physicians. In 1932, he gave a weekly series of seven postgraduate lectures in English at the Long Island College of Medicine in Brooklyn, New York (Chapters IVII). He also gave a series of at least eighteen lectures at what was identified only as an “Urban Hospital” somewhere in Europe (Chapters VIII-XXII). Three of these lectures are missing and all the dates are unknown. Because all these manuscripts appear to have been either stenographic notes or transcriptions, they required extensive re-writing for readability. Six additional unpublished lectures with some postlecture discussion are also included (Chapters XXII-XXVIII). Although it may not be mentioned in the summary, each chapter contains one or more detailed case studies illustrating Adler's concepts.

In Ch I: Postgraduate Lecture No. 1, Adler states his purpose in this series of lectures: to give his audience many ideas to use in their practice about how organic and mental neuroses influence the body. He then presents key concepts in his theory of personality and therapeutic treatment. Life is about movement, and movement can be understood only as connected with direction and goal. We can visualize this goal as a movement from a felt minus position (of inferiority and fear of failure ) to a felt plus position (of superiority, completion, and security). “This goal may be made concrete in a high degree of cooperation to contribute and feel superior in a positive way, or to exploit and suppress others to feel superior in a negative way.” All “failures in life” are essentially failures of cooperation, which requires interest in others. Someone who lacks this interest in others will face problems whenever he faces a task requiring social interest. “We need a medical psychology used by physicians, because in internal medicine we have to look for mental disturbance in fifty percent or more of the patients,” especially in the fields of pediatrics and gynecology. This medical psychology is hard work; “you must train yourself.” But once we have found an individual's goal, then we will understand how all his expressions move in the same direction. Each individual is different; “we cannot use rules and formulas.” Why are children in the same family with entirely equal environmental influences often very different? Far more is at work here than the factor of birth order. The child uses his unique creative power to “digest and assimilate in his own way what he finds in regard to his body and environment,”and constructs an attitude toward life, a life-plan. If, as a result of training, environmental influences, and his creative power, he constructs a life plan with social feeling and the ability to cooperate, he will overcome all problems in life.

However, three obstacles may impair this positive development: imperfect organs, which may lead a child to become too preoccupied with himself; pampering, which trains a child to lean on and exploit others; and emotional neglect, found primarily among unwanted, illegitimate, or orphaned children. Any one of these obstacles constitute an “overburdening” factor for the child, leading him away from interest in others and toward an “egotistical view of life.” This egotism will then lead to problems when he confronts the main tasks of life, which fall into three categories: society (how we behave toward each other); occupation; and love. Any normal person can be irritated, afraid, sorry, or anxious; everybody has complications and challenges. Neurosis is different; an external factor triggers it. “At this point the person gives the impression of wanting to solve his problem, but insists that the irritation of the neurotic symptom hinders him. This means a promotion of the irritation and its results. This means, 'Yes, but ...' It means utilizing the irritation originating from the person not feeling strong enough to solve a problem. In this way he reaches the goal of superiority he has now established.” We must help him understand, very patiently, the coherence of his behavior and get rid of the mistaken ideas which lead him to have an incorrect goal, causing his difficulties. “In my practice the great majority of cases came to me because treatment for an organic illness had failed. Therefore, we cannot overlook the importance of the connection between mind and body any more.”

In Ch II: Postgraduate Lecture No. 2, Adler focuses on the unity of the personality in terms of the life style the patient has constructed in her early years, and on which she has built her entire life. In addition to the patient's style of life, we have to look for “the striving for completion, for superiority, which underlies her life style and builds it in a unique way. At each point of her development, we can find a minus situation and a stimulus for a plus situation.” The task is to look for this movement from minus to plus, which establishes a “unifying line” in the personality. We must trace back to the patient's earliest childhood to find the point at which she “built up her prototype,” influenced by an exaggerated feeling of inferiority (the felt minus situation). In this prototype, we will find not only the degree of her ability to cooperate, but also the rhythm of her movements, how she plans to achieve superiority (her goal), and her unique scheme of apperception (private logic).

In Ch III: Postgraduate Lecture No. 3, Adler's purpose is “to explain the art of diagnosis and how to do it.” First, he connects neurotic symptoms with egocentricity by explaining that symptoms, which arouse negative emotions and physical irritations, occur when a patient faces a difficulty with one of the three problems of life: friendship, occupation, or love. His thinking, feeling, wants, and likes all form his attitude toward life, which we can understand as coherent movement in a particular direction: “Neurotics do not see the coherence; they do not look for the correct reasons they fear an effort and constantly look for a retreat.” But we can see the coherence in their style of life, which is always rooted in a lack of social interest. Illness and pain, as well as symptoms, can be used for a purpose. The best example is depressed people, who usually start as pampered children, trained to get everything by “presenting their suffering, crying, and exaggerating every pain.” This is one of the many tricks people use “to be above, to control others.” He also discusses the symptom of sleeplessness and how it can be used. Correctly understanding a person's earliest recollections and dreams will help us understand a life style, because these memories and dreams are “part of the whole coherence,” expressing the same movement as the life style. Adler concludes by trying to correct misconceptions about social interest, which “means an ideal of social living.” It does not mean attending parties; “it means making an active contribution to society.”

In Ch IV: Postgraduate Lecture No. 4, Adler uses case material to give an overview of his approach to the four most common symptoms confronted by physicians and pediatricians: “fussy eating, stuttering, bed-wetting, and crying out in the night.” His line-by-line interpretation of every detail in a case, which he will continue to demonstrate frequently in CCWAA, gives a good idea of what the therapeutic practice of IP looks like. (Editor's note: In Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy, we retain Adler's thorough line-by-line speculation as part of the diagnostic process, adding the strategies of qualitative analyis.)

In Ch V: Postgraduate Lecture No. 5, Adler addresses the symptom of stuttering because of its frequency, and “because it can give you a good picture of the structure of a neurosis.” To treat the patient, we must find out how this symptom fits the mistaken life style of her whole personality. We must explain to her on what point she built her mistake, that this mistake has a reason, and when an external factor appeared requiring cooperation and contribution, she could not provide them because she was not prepared. He then gives a short case summary of fifteen stutterers, all illustrating the potential advantages of stuttering.

In Ch VI: Postgraduate Lecture No. 6, Adler's purpose is “for physicians to understand the nervous disturbances of children, because the structure of mental disturbances in children is the same in adults.” The beginning of the disturbance depends on the degree of social interest and how a child deals with problems. He first comments on the less common symptom of crying spells where children become blue, lose their breath, and sometimes faint: “This can be found only among pampered children who are trained to get everything.” He then devotes the rest of the lecture to bed-wetting: “Pampered children make up the majority. When they discover what concerns the mother most, whether it is stuttering, wetting the bed, defecating, eating, or sleeping, they make trouble in this way so they can keep her occupied with them.” Adult neurotics use symptoms in the same way: for social effect.

In Chapter VII: Postgraduate Lecture No. 7, Adler describes several other neurotic conditions. With each of the following symptoms, we must first be certain that no organic difficulties are involved. He begins with fussy eaters who are often pampered children: “They are the center of the whole family's attention, and the mothers are especially frightened by this symptom.” A pampered child can control his mother by his refusal to eat, often forcing her to use tricks to try to make him eat. “But sometimes all tricks are useless, so we must try to make a child as independent as possible, to remove the pampering on the part of the mother, to remove her over-emphasis on eating. Pampered children have serious problems if the mother over-emphasizes anything, such as bowel movements, being clean, or masturbation. These children use her concerns to control her.” He briefly addresses the issue of adolescent girls who engage in a “hunger strike,” what we now call “anorexia nervosa.” He then gives his interpretation of menstrual problems, and a variety of sexual disturbances: impotence, premature ejaculation, frigidity, vaginismus, and sexual aberrations. “Except where you find an illness or organic malfunction, all sexual disturbances are based on mental disturbances, expressing a mistaken style of life,” which moves in a particular direction toward a specific, fictional goal; and every case is different. He concludes the final lecture in this series with, “Now you can understand that a neurosis means the utilization of a symptom because it will persist as long as the person feels the external problem is a threat to his unconscious goal.”

Chapter VIII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 1 is the first in a series of lectures Adler gave in Europe, in some urban hospital (not named more precisely). The series comprises 18 lectures, unpublished until now; three of them are missing. This first lecture is a general overview of IP. Adler begins by reminding physicians of the need for speculation: “not merely 'random guessing,' but speculating on the basis of particular assumptions. If we want to understand psychopathology more clearly, we must begin with a belief in the unity of the personality.” How an individual responds to the problems of life will form a “continuous uniform relationship to the outside world,” (her life style). But we must be careful to avoid typologies in case analysis and treatment planning. It is not enough for psychologists to understand IP scientifically; they must be able to apply the principles artistically, recognizing each person's uniqueness, “which cannot be grasped by rules.” He expands on the psychology of movement: “If we view the inner life as motion in time and space, then this motion must have a goal, since there is no motion without a goal. Our theory demands that we never stop observing the direction of movement. As a consequence, every movement will carry within it a part of the goal of that movement; whatever characterizes the goal flows through every part of the movement.” In general, an individual strives to achieve a particular goal which she believes “will establish her self-worth,” and which reflects her own perspective (private logic) about success and failure. Because “her perspective depends on her life plan, which she cannot judge objectively, she cannot provide us with any information about her unique life goal.”

To help us understand how to uncover this unique personality, life plan, and goal, we can look at the example of Bach's music. “Anyone familiar with Bach can recognize his melody from a few bars of music. Bach is not contained in single notes, but in the correlation of familiar notes to each other. Just as the music of Bach represents an art that entails a unique correlationship, every person constructing her life is an artist, regardless of whether or not her life plan is structured positively.”

In Chapter IX: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 2, Adler invites a physician to present the medical history of a patient of his, a 23-year-old woman, whom Adler does not know. As the physician Zander relates each aspect of the case, Adler gives his interpretation, using the principles of IP. After hearing the many details of the woman's medical condition, Adler speculates first on possible neurotic symptoms and their implications, then comments on the significance of her family background, early memory, and school performance. He concludes by saying that this case will be examined further in the next lecture.

Chapter X: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 3 continues the discussion of the previous case, building a picture of the patient's life style. Adler points out that the client had her problems relatively late in life. “Recall the biographies of outstanding people. A large number of them overcame physical or psychological problems in earliest childhood. The earlier the child begins to overcome her problems, the more successful she will be in dealing with them.” He proceeds to relate her case to different aspects of his theory: private logic, dreams, purposive neurotic behavior, the significance of metaphors and images, the antithetical scheme of apperception, and the importance of a person's response to the problems of occupation and marriage. He ends with: “If we wish to penetrate any inner life, we must try to avoid the common mistakes of a therapist. We must not hurt the patient and must keep all personal issues out of the therapeutic relationship so as not to make it difficult for her or for us. At the same time, with patience and friendliness we must make it easier for the patient to proceed with us.”

Chapter XI: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 4 concludes the case study from Chapters IX and X. Adler begins by relating an expectation of pampering to the patient's life style in general, and to her depression and thoughts of suicide in particular. In regard to her suicidal tendencies, he emphasizes that this must be taken seriously; she needs special care and watching, perhaps by a relative. He then gives a demonstration of a first interview with this patient, asking her certain questions and ending on a note of encouragement: “Don't take it so hard. It will all come out all right.” Acknowledging that in front of so many listeners, he could present merely a rough outline of a first interview, he invites one of the physicians present to continue meeting with her every few days, to help her slowly see her experiences in another light, so that she will eventually be able to let go of her symptoms.

In Chapter XII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital – Lecture No. 6 Chapter XII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital – Lecture No. 6 year-old woman with symptoms of goiter, dysmenorrhea, palpitations, sleeplessness, and flu. As he points out, “Our starting point is always the unity of the personality.” The demonstration with this patient is longer than in the previous chapter. When she enters, she is in apparent pain, “since her walk is labored and she groans when sitting down.” As Adler reads her medical history to her and asks pertinent questions, he suggests possible organic explanations of her symptoms, as well as possible connections between her family life, her social life, and her physical condition, all in a friendly, sympathetic way. She is very discouraged: “I no longer believe that I shall recover. I have had so many treatments.” Responding, Adler ends the session with: “But how can anyone lose courage? We want to see how we can help you. Until the next time, think about whether you had some kind of disappointment before your illness started.”

In Chapter XIII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 7, Adler presents the case of a 50-year-old man suffering from nervous exhaustion, impotence, headaches, poor digestion, and stomach discomforts. When the man tried to cut the arteries in his neck, he was hospitalized. Adler points out, “Suicide is an attempt at revenge or making complaints against others.” Noting that the patient also suffered from many anxiety attacks, Adler says, “Angry aggression is often associated with depression. . . .in such cases, great care must be exercised. We must always consider the possibility of suicide.” In his demonstration with the patient, Adler gives him hope: “We shall make you well very quickly. You will gain courage and then you can go home.” He ends the interview with, “I will give you the following assignment for the next few days: Do nothing that does not please you. You are now in a state of convalescence. In such a condition, one should not force oneself to do anything. That is very simple, yes? Now comes something difficult. Try during this time, in particular when you are irritable, to think how to give pleasure to others. You need not actually do it; you need merely to imagine it and speculate about how to give pleasure to others.”

In Chapter XIV: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 8, Adler describes the case of a 34-year-old woman suffering from depression, weight loss, sleeplessness, and one suicide attempt. No matter what the presenting symptoms, Adler ignores typologies and focuses on the uniqueness of the individual: connecting her family background and current life situation with her life style, purposive behavior, and the overall direction of her movement. During the demonstration, he questions her about having girlfriends and whether they make her happy. (They do.) He concludes the interview with, “Well, it would be a good idea if you also tried to make them happy. Sometimes when you cannot sleep, try to think about that instead of some problems; it might help you.” Similar to the case in the previous session in Chapter XIII, the “way out” is through doing something for others, i.e. social interest.

In Chapter XV: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 9, Adler first gives a case summary of a 34-year-old woman with three children who suffers from a hyperthyroid condition, dysmenorrhea, and possible epilepsy. In regard to epilepsy, he comments on the importance of when the symptoms begin, on the cause precipitating an attack: “I always look for a connection with such causes.” He then makes a brief detour to tell the story of a patient treated for epilepsy by Freud almost daily for three years. After having no success with the patient, and in fact making her worse, Freud asked Adler, “Free me at any cost from this girl.” When the girl came to him, Adler proceeded to investigate her life situation and the precipitating cause of her attacks. She improved, and they continue to maintain a friendly relationship. Then, Adler returns to the case at hand, demonstrating his treatment technique by asking the patient questions about her symptoms, her childhood, her dreams, and what happened before her attack. She can recall no early memories or dreams. Concluding the interview (to be continued at the next lecture session), Adler encourages the client to take some responsibility for helping herself by doing a little homework: “Perhaps by the next time, you will remember a dream or some small event from your childhood.”

Chapter XVI: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 10 continues the discussion of the previous case. Adler states, “Every episode of hysteria is psychologically induced because the patient is imagining an experience that does not exist. Experiencing is possible only by goal-setting. An individual needs a goal which conforms to her entire pattern of behavior. The neurotic as a rule does not see the goal itself but some peripheral point, which is for her an automatic action connected with the goal.” During his second demonstration with the client and afterward, Adler gives interpretive comments. He describes how she creates her symptoms without knowing it: “She sees merely the results or emotions they engender.” However, Adler's final appraisal of the client is positive; if she can let go her mistaken beliefs, she would no longer need her symptoms. Unlike other psychologists, who “work with 'types' and 'entities of illnesses,' Individual Psychologists see “the totality, the unity of the personality, and value the individual links merely as parts.”

In Chapter XVII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 11, Adler presents the case of a 35-year-old woman suffering from an anxiety neurosis who was admitted to the hospital almost a year ago. Her diagnosis included gastroenteritis, neurasthenia, frequent vomiting, irregular bowel movements, and dizziness. She has been on a medical pension. After reviewing the events of her childhood, marital history, and an early memory, he speculates that “we are dealing with a pampered child.” During his demonstration with her, he asks the important question, “What do you wish to do when you are well?” He ends the interview with his typical encouragement: “Don't let this be so hard on you. You should not give in to such unnecessary fears. You will soon be well.” After she leaves, in his comments to the audience, he recommends some educational intervention that would encourage her, “stiffen her backbone,” and help her abandon her constant preoccupation with the idea of sickness.

In Chapter XVIII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 12, Adler summarizes and interprets the medical history of a 35-yearold woman with a neck spasm who for four years has been “feeling miserable, tired, and tense.” Although she tends to keep her head tilted to one side, medical examinations conducted by three different specialists found no organic problems. Concentrating on the psychological approach, Adler says, “IP often begins at the point where medicine stops. . . . the patient must be persuaded that despite her problems, she is capable of fulfilling her life tasks.” In concluding his demonstration with her, he emphasizes the value of courage: “To be a human being means to have courage. Whatever we do, we can never know how it will come out. However, if we dare with courage, we shall certainly attain more than if we have no confidence from the outset. You will do well and don't forget: She who dares, wins!”

In Chapter XIX: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 15, Adler first comments on the case of a young girl suffering from weight loss and sleeplessness, “known symptoms of depression.” After spending some time in a hospital for the insane, she attempted suicide twice. Adler elaborates on his observation that “behind every case of depression we should look for anger.” In discussing her childhood and life situation, he investigates the “precipitating causes” that led to her current condition. “We believe that the precipitating cause plays the role of a performance test, and that we can deduce from the test the degree to which performance is feasible, and from test failure, the cause of failure.” Even in this case, he tries to find something constructive that would help the patient: “I would try to find out what makes her happy to be alive. Perhaps we could find someone who would give her music lessons without charge.” He then turns to a report about a 41-year-old man from an aristocratic Russian family, who has symptoms of “perceived inhibitions, anxiety, problems walking, stuttering, and fainting spells.” The patient drinks and has attempted suicide. After describing the patient's family history, particularly his relationship with his mother, two wives, and a current fiancee, the report ends with, “He is exceptionally discouraged. He would prefer to stay in the hospital and do nothing. He fears partial paralysis and has dreams that express this fear.” Adler interprets, “His being engaged and his fear of women present him with a dilemma causing him to become ill. With his illness, he protects himself from actually having to overcome his fear of women. As long as God presents him with his illness, he can feel safe in the hospital. We can see that his discouragement, his lack of cooperativeness, and his being disconnected from the tasks of life leave him unprepared to face this recurring test; therefore, we can fully understand his symptoms.”

Chapter XX: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 16 continues the discussion of the previous case. Adler emphasizes that the fear of women controls the life of this client. His relationship with his mother was highly problematic; she made him fearful of syphilis, and “he is filled with rage when he speaks of her.” In one of the patient's early memories, while his father was beating him, “he often dreamed or daydreamed that afterward he no longer was able to walk or stand, but had to slide on his knees.” Adler makes the connection between this memory and the patient's current difficulties walking, as well as his ongoing fear of “being crippled” with syphilis. Referring to “the rage of the depressive,” Adler points out that the man will harm himself or another person: “I am not certain whether he will commit murder or suicide. Obviously, it will take much time for him to go along with our treatment.” But when he does, “he will finally accept a different attitude, will see with different eyes the mistakes he has made in life, and will become a fellow man no longer filled with anger at those around him.”

In Chapter XXI: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 17, Adler comments on the role neurosis might play in love, financial losses, and long illnesses. He begins by stating, “Every neurosis has the characteristics of a failure.” And problems of love “affect individuals more directly than any other. Problems involving someone's work allow for an escape; problems of love do not.” In fact, “Most suicides occur after disappointments in love.” Adler says that he counsels his patients that love is painful for all of us. If the patient suffers rejection in love, he points out “that this rejection is (merely) evidence he had not found the right partner, since only mutual feeling proves the choice was correct. Such conflict, of course, more severely affects the person who grew up as a pampered child.” In cases involving financial losses, “patients often emotionally exaggerate their situation.” Similar to cases of long illnesses, these patients often bring up the possibility of suicide. “It is difficult to prevent suicide in cases of long illnesses. Such cases depend on not allowing the patient to give up and constantly connecting him with life. Or I tell patients who insist on taking their lives, 'If you really want to take your life and you care so little about living, give me one year of your life and do what I tell you during that time. If you then still want to take your life, I shall raise no objection.' So far no one has given me a year, but neither has anyone taken his life.”

Chapter XXII: Medical Course at Urban Hospital - Lecture No. 18 is the last lecture in this series. Adler presents, from memory, the case of a 50-year-old, highly educated, intelligent man with no friends, who still lived with his mother, could not sustain a relationship with a woman, and had lost all good chances of advancing professionally because of his unusual symptoms. At his first employment, he lost his position because of constant spitting. In a less desirable place of employment, he lost his job because of making faces. By this time, he “allowed himself to deteriorate in dress and deportment, that is, he became increasingly unsociable.” In his childhood, his father, who had died young, “pampered him very much, while he felt that his mother had not treated him well.” An early recollection revealed that “ . . .when he suffered from a sore throat, his mother mistakenly offered him carbonic acid to gargle instead of water. The connection between this childhood experience and his failure in life is apparent since spitting in his fifties is clearly associated symbolically with the carbonic acid he was given to gargle instead of water.” Nevertheless, Adler emphasizes that this onetime experience did not create the man's life style; the man chose to remember whatever spoke against his mother. The patient even demonstrated his “masterful capacity for making himself unpopular” by denigrating Adler personally, until Adler showed him “that this way of acting merely conformed to his general behavior.” He concludes by explaining how he sometimes advocates role-playing with patients such as the one he has just described: “At times, I suggest that a patient temporarily play the role of a true human being if he is unable to be one. When that suggestion is rejected, I say, 'What harm can it do? In time, you will actually become what at first you are merely pretending.'”

Chapter XXIII: Differences in Psychic Compensation (1931) was presented as a paper at a physician's conference. Adler states his purpose as providing a rough answer to the question of “how a child compensates for her feeling of inferiority,” (also discussed in Volume 2: Chapter XVII: Myelodysplasia (Organ Inferiority) (1909). The child's choice of compensation must give her the feeling of overcoming some demand in life in either a useful or useless way. This choice is unique with every individual, demonstrating the creative power in all of us. When the choice goes in a useless direction, leading to symptoms, the symptoms are “chosen in accordance with the psychological prototype,” which encompasses a coherent way of approaching the outside world, of making relationships with others and the tasks of life. This finished personality “undergoes daily tests” of functioning. If the individual is unable to deal with these tasks in a useful way, we call her abnormal. “While the problem child chooses her symptoms to show that she has standing in the eyes of adults, the neurotic adult chooses her symptoms so that she can influence others, placing them at her service.” The neurotic acknowledges social interest; she just relies on others to show it, and, while “proclaiming her good will,” says her symptoms exempt her from reciprocating. “The criminal is different; she acknowledges social interest in others, but rejects it for herself.” Problem children choose their symptoms according to what the parents value most. If parents do not emphasize how the child speaks, the child will not stutter; if parents do not show particular concern about what the child eats, the child will not become a fussy eater. “All failures for the most part are basically the result of pampering.” If a person fails to meet one of life's tasks, she is “seized with insecurity,” which affects the entire body. People experience these effects in different ways, such as palpitations, breathing difficulties, sweating, bladder or bowel problems, or sexual dysfunction. “Everything relates to an adaptability that leads to action. But in the neurotic we see other manifestations. The psychological process has stopped and does not lead to action.” The neurotic “merely expresses an intent to act;” she may lead her whole life devoid of action, but instead expressing a “willingness to act,” as in the “Yes, but.” Adler concludes, “ . . .the purpose of life is the act of contributing. The logic of human coexistence characterizes everything as wrong that is not an act of contributing.”

Chapter XXIV: Discussion of Compulsion Neurosis (undated) records Adler's contribution at a conference, where he presents his views during a case conference on compulsion neurosis: “Every compulsion neurosis is an assault on life.” For example, with the washing compulsion, although a patient is saying, “Everything is dirty, only I am clean,” he is at least involved in some activity. “The compulsion neurotic is more involved with life than other neurotics. He is often very good in his profession, married and much more involved than those afflicted with other forms of neurosis. However, he is opposed to the way life runs its course.” Adler than correlates level of activity with the degree of pathology: “If there is little activity, the failure concerns someone suffering from anxiety neurosis; if more activity is present, then the person is a compulsion neurotic. If the activity is great, the individual is no neurotic at all; his failing will be expressed in another way, such as in drunkenness, criminality, or suicide.” Although the compulsion neurotic is more ambitious and more active than other neurotics, he still suffers from a severe feeling of inferiority, terrified of being worthless. “We must convince him that the worthlessness he fears does not exist at all; that everyone is capable of everything. We must understand the activity level already present in childhood. This dynamic cannot be measured; understanding it is an art.”

Chapter XXV: Freud's Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious (undated) is an unpublished paper on the differences between psychoanalysis and IP. Adler credits psychoanalysis with being “an enormous step forward, as it led to the tremendous shakeup of old traditions, particularly in psychology and psychotherapy.” Then, he addresses Freud's attempt “to establish that the unconscious is filled with suppressed sexual emotions.” According to Freud, all drives and emotions are based on sex, and “some people gain sexual gratification from seeing, eating, urinating, and defecating.” The task of psychoanalysis is to bring into consciousness “the driving forces found in the unconscious as erogenous, sexual components.” With the “Oedipus Complex,” if we assume that everything in the unconscious consists of sexual components, “then we are forced to interpret all expressions of the unconscious so they fit the sexual format, to avoid contradicting ourselves.” In other words, “Freud's psychoanalysis must put all emotions arising from the unconscious into a sexual framework so that they can always find what they had put there earlier.” Next, Adler addresses the idea of regression. He asks, “What else can a person do but relate to past experiences and bring them back to life? All human expressions thus have a regressive character as well as a progressive tendency, that is, they point to the future.”

He proposes that various levels of consciousness exist: “Becoming conscious, thus, is a quality of psychic functioning that happens when appropriate for the situation.” Some people need to “shut their eyes” to reality, when their personality would suffer from becoming conscious, or when they see a danger in becoming conscious. “All human relationships result from two currents. The first arises from innate social feeling, an unconscious force enabling the individual to establish contact with the community. The other stream, created and nourished primarily within the family, arises from the striving for superiority.” Someone with welldeveloped social feeling, who does not need to feel superior over others, can be “fully objective and truthful about himself. Such a person will have much fewer unconscious thoughts and expressions.” He then uses two cases to illustrate how “bringing things into consciousness can be advantageous, or an obstacle.”

In Chapter XXVI: The Etiology and Treatment of Neurosis (undated), an unpublished manuscript, Adler reviews the core concepts of IP and how he arrived at them through his own clinical observations. His initial interest was in a combination of education and medicine. Finding the sexual basis of the Freudian approach too restricting, he looked for other ways to explain the behavior and symptoms of problem children, which led him to develop the landmark theory that “ . . . every child experiences the condition of his organs, where he is weak and insecure, and deduces from this a feeling of insecurity followed by the creation of his life plan.”

Adler rejects the Freudian idea of a sexual drive dictating the life plan; his observations led him to believe that this life plan (life style) shows a basic social striving. “How is it that children and adults behave so differently in response to the tasks of life: toward friendship, work, and the other sex?” After extensive clinical experience, he found “that during the first years of life the life style is determined by the extent of the feeling of inferiority.” We cannot measure this feeling mathematically and there is no direct cause. We must deduce how the child feels from his behavior and his response to a task. He also observed a child's creative power in setting a goal, which drives the life style forward: “All movements of the inner life must relate to a goal since the movement otherwise would be impossible. This is how the science that I named Individual Psychology attained teleological character. We could not begin to examine details without considering the striving for a goal.” The essence of this striving is motion: “(My) findings led me to regard the inner life as something in motion, not as the sum of parts, and certainly not as mysterious regions at rest.” The psychic movement, even of a child of four or five years old, is automatic: “This prototype is autonomous, accepting only whatever suits it; it considers all experiences in terms of their usefulness for its automatic ways.”

In addition to the influence of weak organs, two other factors can lead a child to an exaggerated feeling of inferiority: pampering, and abuse. Either one of these conditions can lead to an insufficient development of social feeling: “Most failures in life were originally pampered children. Here lies the inability to relate to other people and deal with life tasks; it is a lack of social feeling.” He then defines neurosis as “ . . .an expression of a lack of preparation for solving a question of life,” Nevertheless, Adler's approach is optimistic: “Problems occur because people are not prepared,” something which therapy can help solve. But, he concludes with a word of caution: “Therapy is possible only when we have fully understood the connectedness. However, merely speaking about developing social interest and fostering encouragement is not thinking and acting in accordance with IP. Those principles are merely the piano keys. Playing the piano requires proper training.”

Chapter XXVII: Crime and Neurosis (undated) is an unpublished lecture given at the Association for IP in Berlin. Adler begins by rejecting the idea of innate qualities: “The possibilities for development do not interest us, only what has been done with those possibilities. This approach requires considering two main points: 1) The creative activity arising from a person's character, and 2) The individual in relation to mankind as a whole.” He believes the structure of crime and neurosis is quite clear: “They are various forms of failure.” In neurosis, aggressive ideas are directed at others, but in a weak form, as in, for example, actively expressing anger, or passively exploiting the social interest of others. “We should not assume a neurotic intends to commit a crime. Somewhere hidden in her character is something that makes it impossible for her to solve the social problem. The force standing in the way of a solution is the complex of inferiority.”

The normal person has patience and accepts the “agreeable with the disagreeable” in life. The neurotic, on the other hand, “wants everything. This demand characterizes the person who wants everyone at her service: the typical picture of a spoiled child. Most criminals, of course, also were spoiled children.” But, “the neurotic recognizes the obligation to contribute to her fellow man; the criminal does not. Courage means to feel at home in this world. However, the neurotic as well as the criminal avoids the problems of life. While the neurotic despairs of her success, the criminal is active. She takes for herself whatever contributions others make.” Adler concludes by emphasizing that the IP approach does not “examine merely one aspect of a personality;” context is everything. And those who use IP can accomplish a great deal, especially if they have the opportunity to influence children in the formation of their life style.

Chapter XXVIII: Medical Working Group: Case of a Man with Compulsion Neurosis (1929), another unpublished manuscript, consists of a case report Adler gave for a group of physicians who were practicing Individual Psychologists. The patient is a 48-year-old male with a respected position at a university, who has a bored demeanor and a compulsion to spit. To begin, Adler re-frames the man's bored demeanor as a second compulsion: “He also feels compelled to look bored so others are repelled”; both the spitting and appearance of boredom are “ways of keeping others from coming close to him.” He cannot make friends or be sociable, and in his professional life, although his written work excels, he was so inhibited in the classroom and made such a poor impression on the children that he could not be given a teaching position. In the remaining area of life, love and the other sex, “Through psychoanalysis, he was able to establish a relationship with a prostitute, the one 'love relationship' in which he was successful. To this day his primary sexual activity is masturbation.” In determining this patient's life style, Adler describes approaching every aspect of the case, looking for the unity of the personality, and what influenced the man's choice of direction.

Attempting to explain the IP technique, he says, “Imagine that every neurotic lives in his own small enclosure, similar to a barn animal's stall, an analogy I recommend you use; it makes a great impression on patients. These people created their own small world because they did not feel strong enough to get into the mainstream, and because they have a feeling of inferiority stemming from a depressed childhood. When they feel threatened, they retreat to their small world, continuing their familiar movements or even escalating them.” Our task as therapists is to “explain that situation, uncover their errors, and show them that their perception is wrong.” But for patients to accept our interpretation, we must offer it in a “kindly way,” as a fellow human being, with sincere concern for their welfare, thereby also modeling social interest. “The physician must win over the patient so that he believes the physician genuinely wants to help him out of his misery, not for financial gain or personal triumph.”

Volume 9 - Case Histories:
Problems of Neurosis, The Case of Mrs. A., The Case of Miss R.

Volume 9 contains three separate, independently published books: Problems of Neurosis, The Case of Mrs. A., and The Case of Miss R.

Problems of Neurosis (1929) consists of eleven chapters of case histories, focusing on the art of life style analysis and treatment strategies.

In Chapter I: Goals of Superiority, Adler begins, “The problem of every neurosis is, for the patient, the difficult maintenance of a style of acting, thinking, and perceiving which distorts and denies the demands of reality.” The patient and physician must work together “to understand the nature of the patient's mistakes.” This understanding requires not only “an accurate outline of her significant history, but also a perception of the dynamic unity of that history as a continual striving toward an implied conception of superiority. An individual goal of superiority is the determining factor in every neurosis, but the goal itself originates in the actual experiences of inferiority.” The physician's first task, then, is to “identify the real causes of the feelings of inferiority, which the patient disguises from herself in various degrees and in her manner.” Asking a patient whether she feels inferior is pointless, as she is always occupied with trying to conceal it from herself and others. The best we can do is “observe her mental and psychic movements, in which the attitude and individual aim can always be discerned.” From these movements, we can perceive the feeling of inferiority, “together with a compensatory striving toward a goal of superiority. Such a universal feeling is not in itself indictable; its meaning and value depend entirely on how it is used. The most important discovery of IP is that the inferiority feeling may be used as a stimulus to continue on the useful side of life.” Adler illustrates his ideas with four detailed case studies.

In Chapter II: Not Meeting the Problems of Life, Adler incorporates a number of his theoretical constructs into three case histories, beginning with, “Every development in an individual's life is conditioned by his life-aim (fictional goal), connecting all successive phases of his life.” A patient's lack of preparation to meet the problems of life does not usually show when things are going well, “or when he is shielded from the real demands of life which are always of a social nature and demand social feeling.” The first training and test in social behavior occurs in childhood, “in kindergarten, school, and companionship. When a neurosis is developed, we always find that the individual's difficulties were foreshadowed in these childhood relationships.” Adler then recommends certain therapeutic techniques. For example, the therapist must “win the patient's good will,” and then transfer it to his environment, essentially supplementing what the mother or father omitted. Also, he uses “the simplest and most direct method possible, winning the patient first and taking his part as far as possible, gradually bringing him to face the truth about what he is doing.” When dealing with cases of depression, “after establishing a sympathetic relationship, I give suggestions for a change of conduct in two stages. First, 'Do only what is agreeable to you.' The patient usually answers, 'Nothing is agreeable.' 'Then, at least,' I respond, 'do not exert yourself to do what is disagreeable.' For the second stage, I say, 'It is much more difficult and I do not know if you can follow it.' After saying this, I am silent and look doubtfully at the patient, exciting his curiosity and ensuring his attention, and then proceed: 'If you could follow this second rule, you would be cured in fourteen days. It is: to consider from time to time how you can give another person pleasure. It would very soon enable you to sleep and would chase away all your sad thoughts. You would feel yourself to be useful and worthwhile.” He then cites the various replies he receives to his suggestion and how he parries each one.

In Chapter III: Deficient Social Feeling, Masculine Protest, Adler first reviews some basic concepts. “IP views the conscious and the unconscious not as separate and conflicting entities, but as complementary and cooperating parts of the same reality.” Unlike other psychological approaches, “ . . . we believe the attribution of feelings, emotions, and thoughts to bodily conditions and inherited instincts always leads to exaggerations and mistakes.” All psychic activity moves toward the attainment of a specific fictional goal, thus, “If sadness is necessary to the attainment of his goal, an individual is naturally incapable of happiness, for he can be happy only when miserable.” The crucial requirement for a psychic goal on the useful side of life is a welldeveloped sense of social feeling, or interest in others. This social feeling is not innate; it must be nurtured and developed, which is the primary task of the mother, or care-giver. She must help the child overcome his natural sense of “almost total, practical impotence.” Thus, the art of motherhood “is to give the child freedom and opportunity for success by his own efforts, so that he can establish his style of life and seek his superiority in increasingly useful ways. Then, she must gradually interest the child in other people. This sense of impotence, or the 'feeling of inferiority,' is the root-conception of IP. Whatever form it may take, it can be correctly estimated only from an adequate study of the individual's actions.” In order to understand the whole style of life, which encompasses all the individual's movements, we must “perceive the goal toward which all the feelings lead.”

Adler then describes how he uncovered the fictional goal of one university-educated man with obsessive guilt feelings. A second child, “his striving was largely concentrated on the effort to surpass his elder brother.” After summarizing the case, Adler states, “I had to recognize correctly, in the first quarter of an hour of the patient's visit, the kind of superiority for which this style of life was designed. If I had failed to do so, I would certainly have provoked prompt resistance.” Introducing the second case, of a neurotic, 26-year-old woman, he points out, “The goal of superiority is usually identified with the masculine role because of the privileges, both real and imaginary, with which our present civilization has invested the male. A girl's feeling of inferiority may be markedly increased when she realizes that she is a female, and a boy's when he doubts his maleness. Both compensate with an exaggeration of what they imagine to be masculine behavior.” This form of compensation is what Adler calls “the masculine protest.” The fundamental difficulty is the idea that women are of “second-rate importance, and therefore not really valuable. One of the chief causes of unhappiness in love and marriage, this mistaken belief is the illusion which forms the basis of the masculine protest.”

Chapter IV: Problems in Love and Marriage consists of Adler's response to the questions he is frequently asked about these topics after his lectures. He begins by establishing that he does not accept the idea that only sexual impulses and/or their sublimations are important here, although they have a definite place in a study of these difficulties. Any sexual components can be interpreted only in relation to the individual style of life, which follows the psychic prototype formed by each person by the age of four. “If the prototype is sociable and interested in others, the individual will solve all love-problems with loyalty to the partner and responsibility to society. If the prototype is struggling to attract notice and to suppress others, its later manifestations will include the use of sexuality toward the same ends; that person will establish sexual relationships in order to rule. A prototype formed by attaining superiority in a limited sphere of activity which excludes the opposite sex will later tend to produce homosexuality or other deviations. The main outlines of the erotic life are thus strictly pre-conditioned.” One of the main obstacles to love and marriage is the prevailing attitude that men are superior to women, “leading men to vain expectations and making girls rebel against their feminine function. Much suspicion, jealousy, and quarreling spring from this antagonism.”

Chapter V: Neurotic Style of Life and Psychotherapy is about neurotic compensation. Adler begins: “Because it is natural for an individual to express herself with her whole body, we can often learn more by watching a person's movements – how she walks, sits, smiles, or fidgets – than by listening to what she says.” After commenting on the psychological dynamics behind vomiting, fainting, and stuttering, he says, “Imperfections in the sense-organs limit the means which a child has of sharing in the life of others. They impose necessary differences of behavior which may be felt as a burden if we do not use wise measures of encouragement. Children with imperfect sight walk cautiously because they are conscious of danger in movement. They are more interested in seeing because it is difficult for them, and if they compensate well, they will become visual types. Poor hearing and handicaps in movement have corresponding compensations.” He cites examples of individuals who chose different methods of compensating, both on the useless and the useful side of life.

In the section on principles of psychotherapy, he describes key aspects of how he works with clients. First, he rules out organic problems. Then, “if the disturbance is of a psychic nature, I explain to the patient what I have discovered, but in such a way that it cannot be discouraging, and taking the greatest care not to tell the patient anything she is not yet able to understand.” To confirm his findings, he elicits a great deal of information and asks relevant questions, including, “What would you do if I cured you immediately?” He looks for the common direction in all the patient's feelings, thoughts, and actions; for how these factors prevent the patient from solving some current difficulty; for the guiding line of her life style. He emphasizes the importance of the therapist losing all thought of himself, and never demanding anything of the client: “The first rule in treatment is to win the patient; the second is for the psychologist never to worry about his own success; if he does so, he forfeits it.” He concludes by cautioning against trying to teach patients IP by telling them, “You lack social courage, you are not interested in others, you feel inferior.” Such statements are vague, discouraging, and “worse than useless. A real explanation must be so clear that the patient knows and feels her own experience in it instantly.”

In Chapter VI: Neurotic Use of Emotion, Adler uses the concept of a “trick” in order to describe how people can use emotions in order to safeguard their fictional goals. Specifically, “Habitual criticism, anger, and envy indicate useless striving for superiority; they are motions toward the suppression of others, either in reality or fantasy, to be supreme.” Useful criticism always connects to some aspect of social feeling, but where the motive is to degrade or lower others, the tendency is neurotic: “Anger usually indicates that the person who is angry feels at a disadvantage, at least temporarily. Neurotics use it freely as a weapon. Patients with the anger habit are often clever in the selection of vulnerable points to attack in others, and are also great strategists in preparing situations so that they put others slightly in the wrong before they begin a fight. Envy is universally an expression of inferiority, though it may sometimes be a stimulus to useful action. In neurosis, however, envy of another does not go so far as practical emulation. It leaves the patient irritable and depressed.”

Neurotics are much like the vaudeville “strong man,” who pretends to lift a heavy weight, only to have a child come on stage and reveal the “trick” by carrying off the dummy weight with one hand: “Plenty of neurotics swindle us with such weights, adept in the art of appearing overburdened.” But they do suffer intensely: “Every movement is tiring. Usually depressed, they continually demand more zealous care from others, and yet find it continually insufficient.”

Chapter VII: The Family Constellation contains refinements of Adler's previous comments on this topic. He begins: “It is a common misconception that children of the same family experience the same environment. Of course, children in the same home share certain conditions, but the psychic situation of each child differs because of the order of their birth. This idea has been misunderstood. The child's number in the order of births does not influence his character, but rather the situation into which he is born and the way he interprets it,” a reference to the child's creative power. He then elaborates on the position of the first child, who is generally spoiled, and how this spoiling affects the child's construction of his life style. With the birth of a second child, the first one often suffers a “dethronement,” which may lead him to fear being “pushed back,” so that he develops a hesitating, neurotic attitude to the tasks of life: “Skeptical and indecisive, he becomes a great procrastinator.” However, for various reasons, the first child may retain his favored position, and the second child may become “the problem.” “If the second child loses hope of equality, he will try to shine more rather than be more.”

Generally favored and indulged by parents and siblings, a youngest child may strive to lean on others; however, if over-indulged, he may resemble a second child, “competitively striving to overtake those setting the pace for him.” The Bible and fairy tales of all cultures contain stories of youngest children as heroes and conquerors. Only children have their own set of difficulties: “Retaining the center of the stage without effort and generally pampered, they form a style of life based on being supported by others and at the same time ruling them.” Each birth position has its pitfalls, and in any family, the way men and women are valued also significantly influences the children. Finally, parents must try to avoid “fanatical methods of education. Any exaggerated method of education will probably harm the child, as we can often trace in the children of teachers, psychologists, doctors, and people engaged in the administration of laws: policemen, lawyers, and clergymen.”

In Chapter VIII: Early Recollections, Adler uses specific case examples to illustrate his theory concerning early recollections. Although he does not believe that these memories are necessarily factual or accurate, “what is altered or imagined also expresses the patient's goal,” and is in line with “the unity of her main striving toward a goal of superiority.” In recollections from the first four or five years of childhood, “we find primarily fragments of the individual's life style and indications of self-training to overcome the organic difficulties felt in the early environment. In many cases, the early recollections reveal signs of the person's degree of activity, courage, and social feeling.” To understand the meaning of a memory, we have to “relate the early pattern of perception to all we can discover of the individual's present attitude, until we find how one clearly mirrors the other.” Early recollections may “reveal an interest in movement, such as traveling, running, jumping, or riding in a car,” especially for people having difficulty with a sedentary job. Memories may also contain dangerous situations, especially for people “with whom the use of fear is an important factor in the style of life.” When we understand how a person's memories relate to the rest of her life, we find that they “contain the central interests of that person. They illuminate the origins of the style of life. The basic attitudes guiding an individual since childhood and in her present situation are reflected in those fragments she selects to epitomize her feelings about life, and to cherish in her memory as reminders. She has preserved these as her early recollections.”

Chapter IX: Further Useless Goals of Superiority continues the topic of Chapter I: “Goals of Superiority.” Adler states that the “goal of personal supremacy blocks the approach to reality. The more reality presents him with real, or even alluring possibilities of action, the greater the effort a maladjusted person will make to avoid it because his feeling of supremacy is proportionately increased thereby. The end result and logical culmination of such a life-line is, of course, total isolation in an asylum.” Cases of general paralysis reveal the highest goals of superiority, with the greatest loss of social feeling and mental control, as well as a high degree of cowardice. “Similarly, whenever we find a marked insensibility to the pain of others, or undervaluation of others' lives, as with murderers and criminals, we can trace the preparation for their development; they do it by deliberately breaking through the limits of social feeling, impelled by cowardice to seek relief on the useless side of life. Every murderer is a coward intoxicated with the idea of being a hero. The true psychology of these tendencies ought to be explained to everyone because such instruction would do much to prevent crime.” The goal of superiority magnifies one of life's tasks out of proportion, so that a person's ideal of success “becomes unnaturally limited to social notoriety, business success, or sexual conquest.” In the area of sexual perversion, Adler points out the major contribution of IP in identifying the masochist, as well as the sadist, as having a goal of superiority: “The purpose of most masochists is to escape love and marriage because they do not feel strong enough to risk a defeat. By means of their masochistic tendencies, they exclude all the really eligible members of the other sex,” who are unwilling to indulge them in their “demands to be bullied” and mistreated. Even the common masochistic fantasies of girls, rather than being submissive, reveal a “desire to exclude a realistic sexual objective with its possibilities of defeat and humiliation. To be satisfied in a fantasy is to teach oneself, 'It is not necessary to have a real relationship.'” Masochism is an attempt to establish a great distance from others and normal behavior: “Nothing could be further from the truth than the idea that masochistic fancies indicate a desire for submission.”

In Chapter X: Occupational Choices and Sleep Postures, Adler shows how the choice of occupation and sleep posture reflect the individual's style of life. In all workers, “the choice of occupation is foreshadowed by some dominant interest of the psychic prototype,” for example, a) playing with soldiers may foreshadow a career in the military, or as the director of a department store; b) playing with sewing needles and thread could reveal a future tailor, or a surgeon; c) playing with dolls might indicate an interest in marriage and family, or in becoming a nurse or teacher. He emphasizes that “the more we educate the child in the direction of social interest, the more common-sense conceptions of superiority she will develop.” As for body postures and sleep positions, both “indicate the manner in which an individual approaches her goal.” The way a person carries herself, enters a room, and shakes hands indicates whether she has social feeling and wants to be connected to others. Postures adopted in sleep can be just as significant, for example, a) sleeping on one's back like a soldier at attention indicates that a person “wants to appear as great as possible”; b) sleeping on the stomach “betrays stubbornness and negativity.” Those who wake with their head at the bottom of the bed and their feet on the pillow “express an unusually strong opposition to the world, with the neurotic attitude of often answering 'No,' before having understood the question.”

In Chapter XI: Organ Dialect and Dreams, after opening with, “The style of life dominates the organ functions which is especially noticeable with the lungs, heart, stomach, organs of excretion, and sexual organs,” Adler focuses on the expressiveness of the sexual organs. “Whatever partial sexual satisfactions the patient may provide for himself are an escape from the real problem. In this way the various forms of impotence are traceable to a common root in a disinclination and lack of training for relationships with other people.” This particular sexual difficulty is often found in patients confronting the task of marriage. Whatever the patient's particular problem, Adler strongly advises the therapist not to reprimand the patient with the diagnostic words of IP, or with a moralistic attitude. Instead, he tells us that “a patient has to be gradually led into wanting to listen and understand. Only then can he be influenced to live what he has understood.”

On the subject of dreams, he says, “Sleeping is another kind of waking.” In order to understand the unity of the waking and sleeping life, “we must give up the idea that they are contradictory states.” He explains, “The dream is not merely the substitute satisfaction of wishes unfulfilled in waking, rather it is a function of the entire style of life, more dynamically related to the future than to the past. The dreamer is engaged in molding his attitude and disposition to the coming events of his life, storing up a reserve of feeling and emotion which could not be acquired in the daytime by contact with reality or logical thinking.” The dream helps a person get ready to deal with a current problem through the use of metaphor, indicating that he “feels inadequate to solve it with common sense.” If he understood the metaphor, it would be ineffective for its purpose: “It is essentially a self-deception in the interest of his individual goal. The more the individual goal agrees with reality, the less a person dreams. Courageous people rarely dream, for they deal adequately with their situation in the daytime.”

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The Case of Mrs. A. is based on a transcript of Adler's comments on notes concerning the case of Mrs. A, as presented by Dr. Hilda Weber, at a special meeting of the London Medical Society of Individual Psychology in 1931. In response to a request that he demonstrate interpreting a “life style,” Adler asked that a practicing physician present him with case notes “for his extemporaneous consideration and impromptu interpretation.” No one except Dr. Weber knew anything about the case until the notes were handed to Adler on the platform. When she first took the case notes, she had no interest in IP, and she did not alter them for this meeting.

Adler first makes introductory remarks on the basic principles of IP, beginning with, “If a human life can be understood, we will find a psychological development toward an ideal final goal.” From there, we must consider two points: when the symptom began, which indicates the patient's feeling of deficiency; and the nature of the patient's striving “toward an ideal form in order to overcome this felt deficiency.” In IP, we “look for the problem or difficulty which a person does not feel able to overcome. Therefore, we have to look for the wrong direction in which this person is striving, one that is incompatible with a solution of the problem.” An individual's inability to overcome a difficulty originates in her lack of preparation in social feeling, courage, and cooperation. This lack of preparation leads to a hesitating or stopping attitude in the face of life tasks, which are all fundamentally social in nature. Instead of facing these tasks successfully, the unprepared person evades them and tries to insulate herself. In this state of mind, which Adler calls “the inferiority complex,” an individual constantly strives to compensate by feeling superior. “We must look for the point where the patient feels satisfied with simply feeling superior. She cannot feel superior in regard to a socially useful solution of her present problem, so her superiority is directed in a socially useless direction. This is the initial general diagnosis in each analysis of a psychological case.”

But finding out at what point and why a particular person has not been prepared is not easy: “We have to delve back into her past, find out in what circumstances she has grown up, how she has behaved toward her family,” and ask the open-ended kind of questions resembling those we ask in general medicine. The general diagnosis is only a beginning; we must arrive at a unique diagnosis for each patient by “testing our series of guesses,” based on the information we gather. “In medicine and surgery, as in IP, we have to guess, but have to support our assumptions with verifying evidence. We must be careful not to bias our conclusions by trying to prove a theory. As in other sciences, we must stay open to a wide range of potential influences. This perspective is very valuable, because it keeps us open to intuitive, free guessing and discovery. In this respect, IP fully agrees with the fundamental diagnostic procedures of medicine.”

Before Adler reads the case notes aloud, he comments, “We must focus on each word and turn it over in our mind, so that we get everything possible out of it.” He proceeds to demonstrate by doing precisely that. As he reads aloud, he guesses about the possible significance of each phrase and sentence. (Editor's note: This skill of intuitive guessing, based on a thorough knowledge of the full range of Adlerian theory, serves as a cornerstone of the Classical Adlerian approach to case analysis in depth psychotherapy.)

Adler now reads aloud the case notes for Mrs. A., supplied by Dr. Weber. A summary of Mrs. A.'s “story” follows, with brief excerpts from a few of Adler's extensive comments.
She came for treatment at the age of 38, married for eight years, with two boys, ages eight and four. Her husband was an elevator operator in a store, but felt humiliated that, unlike his brother, he could not get a better job because his right arm had been disabled in the war. Unsympathetic with his trouble, she was preoccupied with compulsive thoughts and fears of death, and “an almost obsessional hatred of dirt and love of tidiness.” This fear of death was related to a knife phobia, and connected to both suicidal and homicidal tendencies. (Adler: Suicide is always a sign of someone not trained in cooperation. Because this type of individual thinks merely of herself, when she faces a social problem for which she is not prepared, she has such a feeling of her own worth and value that she feels sure that, in killing herself, she hurts another person. We must look for the person against whom this phobia is directed. Undoubtedly, it is her husband, with whom, as we have seen, she must be in conflict.) She often wished to hit her husband or anyone else who annoyed her, even strangers in the street. She even had homicidal thoughts toward her younger, four-year-old son.

Her family history showed neurosis on both sides. Her father had been a laborer who often came home drunk on Saturday nights. Although her mother was a good homemaker, she left disciplining their eight children (four girls, of which A. was the second, followed by four boys) to the father, who beat them “unmercifully” for the smallest infractions. “He would then strike his wife as well as his children and openly threaten to cut their throats.” (Adler: She imitates the father in her compulsion idea: to kill somebody with the knife.) Similar to her father, A. hit her children “without adequate provocation.” She was a cheerful, happy child, who felt quite different from her older sister and oldest brother, both of whom she regarded as selfish.

Medically, she was healthy, but occasionally had difficulty breathing during times of stress. She did well in school and had no difficulty making friends. (Adler: Do not forget that such people, selfish from the beginning and striving to be in a favorable situation, do not lack all degrees of cooperation.) But she left school early at the age of fourteen, when she entered domestic service while continuing to live at home. New problems arose. (Adler: Domestic service means to submit, and this woman cannot submit. She must rule. She is not prepared for a situation in which others are ruling.) After a week at her job, “she was attacked by such bad carbuncles on her back that the doctor ordered her home.” Soon, her father complained of having her home again, “eating her head off.” One morning, as she entered the kitchen for breakfast, “he rushed at her with a shovel, intending to hit her over the head.” Terrified, she ran from the house and hid in a churchyard. Vowing never to return home, she found another position as a domestic servant.

At the age of eighteen, she became engaged. But after two or three years, she “dramatically broke off the engagement by throwing the ring in the young man's face.” She took pride in his continuing devotion to her, even after her poor treatment of him. During the war, she met Lance, the man who is now her husband, while he was recuperating in a hospital. What appealed to her most about him was that he was tall and not an alcoholic. For a while, their relationship went well, until he became “careless and inconsiderate.” She considered breaking off this engagement as well, until she discovered she was pregnant with her first child. “Desperate about the pregnancy,” she had her first suicidal feelings. Lance then married her a few weeks later.

Both she and her husband were disappointed at the birth of their son; they had hoped for a daughter. “It may be pointed out in passing that A.'s desire for a daughter and subsequent disappointment were connected with her later hostility toward her sons.” Soon after, the situation got worse. She started to become jealous of her husband's popularity; “she interpreted passing words and looks of those around her as criticisms directed against herself.” She avoided making friends, and sang hymns in a loud voice to show the neighbors that, “first, she was not afraid, and second, that she at least had been well brought up.” She and Lance quarreled frequently, after which she stayed in bed, threatening “to kill herself and the child unless the situation improved.” Concerned about her condition, her husband took her to a doctor, who recommended that she have all her teeth extracted. (Adler: I presume this was meant as a punishment, not as a medical treatment!) The teeth were removed in two separate sessions. After the second procedure, she had a “hysterical outburst,” claiming that she had seen and felt the whole operation, despite the anesthetic.

When her second boy was born, she was again disappointed. Her neurotic tendencies grew, as her resentment of him increased to the point of later wishing to kill him. (Adler: Her importance weakens and becomes less since she now has to share with two children, and she wants herself to be the center, not the children.) She left her husband for a while, living with his mother. But that did not go well either. Her obsessive thoughts grew, including a “terrifying dream of angels surrounding a coffin.” (Adler: This thought of death affects the husband. She has a dream of angels surrounding a coffin, so he has to take care of her.) She associated this dream with a picture of her old home, “at which she frequently gazed when pregnant with her first child.”

(Adler's final comment: “We understand that at this time she played with the idea of suicide. While looking at the picture, she imagined family members being impressed and fearful of the possibility of her suicide. With this threat, she felt she was 'the master of the game.' The rest of the case notes deal with treatment, which is not part of my lecture. I simply wanted to show you the coherence of a life style.”)

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The Case of Miss R.: The Interpretation of a Life Story , translated by Eleanor and Friedrich Jensen, M.D., 1929. Adler originally presented the Individual Psychological interpretation of this autobiography to a group of psychiatrists and educators in Vienna. It was later published to give a wider audience a fuller understanding of IP. The Jensen's preface to the book, an overview of IP theory and practice, covers no new ground and therefore will not be summarized here.

Chapter I: Early Childhood . Adler begins with the question, “What other purpose can the study of psychology have if it does not give us some practical help with our difficulties, or at least make it possible to help ourselves?” Toward that end, he states that the purpose of this book is to give the reader “insight into the principles and techniques of IP,” a particular language he has developed to help us “know the symbols of the soul in order to read a life.” However, instead of using a famous person as his subject, he will use the colorful story of a girl “of ordinary station and no particular accomplishment.” Similar to his method in The Case of Mrs. A., he will comment extemporaneously on each sentence of Miss R's autobiography as he reads it for the first time. As with every word of a patient, he will consider, “What is the real meaning of what she is saying? What is her attitude toward life? What do her words mean in light of her deeds? How does she meet the demands life makes of her? How does she behave toward her fellow human beings? How does she perform her duties (or fail to perform them)? Does she move toward reality or illusion?”
Highlights of Miss R.'s autobiography are now presented, in her voice, with brief excerpts from Adler's extensive interpretative comments.

I remember that father frequently asked me, “Do you feel well? Does anything hurt you?” (Adler: We infer that this girl will always see to it that she is pampered. She will want to be the center of attention, constantly trying to draw everyone's focus to herself. One of her organs may be deficient in functioning.) I never felt well and always had a temperature. I never liked to eat anything. The only thing that appealed to me was my mother's milk; I fought desperately against attempts to wean me. I nursed for five years, and I can still see my mother's beautiful white breast. When we had visitors, I had her sit where no one could see her nursing me.

I used to wear a blue cape with red lining and I wanted a hat. Whenever we passed a store, I cried, “Hat! Cape!” (Adler: Vanity and a great penchant for externals developed early.) They could not get me away from the stores. Mother had to detour around those shop windows. (Adler: The child has an influence over her mother strong enough to compel her to use tricks.) I was very happy with my first pair of shoes; they were hardly put on my feet when I opened the door and tried to run away with them. (Adler: That is an attempt to ensure their possession. Her father is a tailor; the whole family is prone to appreciate the external.)

There were many buttons in our home, and I used to play with them. They were my money. I also liked to play with silk pads; I would cut holes in the arms and put them on my dolls. I also played with beer bottles and played merchant with the coffee grinder. (Adler: Imagination and imitation strongly developed.) But my favorite occupation was talking to myself. I could imitate somebody for hours. I also imitated the baker. Later, I played the teacher, cutting eyeglasses for myself out of paper and using the back of the sofa as a blackboard. I even yelled at the disobedient children and shouted so loudly that my father told me not to get so excited. (Adler: Another method of securing her father's attention.)

When someone asked whom I wanted to marry, I always answered, “My father.” I loved him very much and was even jealous of him. (Adler: A type of jealousy exists that originates in a striving for power. It is quite possible that all jealousy really springs from a striving for superiority.) When my mother tried to caress him, I often interfered. When father traveled, he always brought me a present, frequently a book, which he would read to me as I sat on his lap. He also sent postcards; I always received two and they were always prettier than the others. However, I could not rest until everyone had given me his or her card. (Adler: She wants to have everything, a phenomenon of the increased inferiority feeling.)

Because of my sickly constitution, everybody was submissive to me. (Adler: This girl will put her sickliness into the service of her striving for superiority by the way she behaves. The pampered child is anxious to be an object of pity.)

Chapter II: Adolescent Difficulties . For one year I had whooping cough. For the first six months it grew steadily and it was a year before I was over it. One night I had such a choking fit that I wanted to climb out of the window in my stupor. People avoided me. Children were hurried away from me. At times, I heard my father say he would commit suicide if anything were to happen to me. His eyes were always resting on me with an expression of sorrow. At night, he washed me. I was afraid of water and always struggled against being washed. (Adler: The spoiled child does not do anything herself. Everyone around her is employed.)

When Lina, my sister, washed her feet, I crept to her on all fours and lifted her skirts to see what was beneath them. (Adler: Early sexual curiosity.) From the time I outgrew the baby carriage, I slept in my parents' bed. I went to bed every night in the following way: (Adler: A spoiled child makes trouble when going to sleep, especially when she is no longer attached to the mother.) First my father had to take me in his arms, dance around with me and sing a song: “None of the fairies is as pretty and fine as you, dear little darling of mine.” He had to shake the pillows, arrange them correctly, and cover me. (Adler: Pampered child.)

Occasionally, we visited a restaurant where a military band played. As soon as the conductor raised his baton and the music began, I got a shock. My father had to leave the restaurant with me. I was also terribly frightened when I found a feather in my bed. I yelled as if it were a monster. (Adler: Anxiety is well known in the history of the pampered child. We notice how she arranges for this mood in advance by being interested in everything which can arouse anxiety. Our method of tracing the purpose and effect of an emotional expression has led us to notice that anxiety is a first-rate method of ruling others. She uses everyone and everything in her constant mania to dominate.)

When I was five years old, the following happened. While I was playing with my doll, I felt myself forced mentally to call my parents and God bad names, such as dirty slut, lousy dog, and so on. It was as if the devil had whispered it into my ear. The harder I tried to restrain myself, the more violently I swore. (Adler: Let's see what happens psychically. “My thoughts are so strong and I am so innocent.” Here lies the complete justification of the neurotic who complains that she feels forced to perform certain acts. Individual Psychologists are skeptical about wishes. As long as somebody wishes, she is sure that nothing will happen.)

Chapter III: The Development of a Neurosis . Nevertheless, I suffered from deep remorse. I looked at my parents and thought, “If you know what abusive remarks I make about you!” (Adler: Anyone not knowing the principles of IP might conclude that the girl pities her parents. The feeling of guilt is an inferiority feeling in disguise. It shows neither the intention nor any other indication that someone will thereafter make her life conform to or harmonize with social life. We do not believe she has given up her constant desire to be first. She now feels superior, for when she says, “If you knew what things I say about you,” it means, “I am more than you. You are blind. You understand nothing.”)

I wanted to escape these thoughts, but they seized me over and over again. They even disturbed me when I prayed at night; then I had to repeat my prayer. It was horrible. (Adler: This hammering, this underlining, this absolutely useless emphasis in description are part of the nature of neurosis; that is, to make something out of nothing. It brings the neurotic closer to her goal of godlikeness.)

I suffered from sleeplessness very early in life, at the age of six or seven. It was very hard for me to fall asleep, and in the morning I was first to awaken. (Adler: The night and sleep are the greatest enemies of all spoiled children. Nervous adults are also furious when others sleep. This disturbance is in the forefront of many neuroses. The patient wants to construct a broad chasm between herself and her pernicious, neurotically unattainable goal, which will absolve her of failure and give her a good excuse to stop struggling. The symptom disappears as soon as the patient realizes that her inability to sleep is a way of avoiding responsibility for the solution of life's problems. When she ceases to consider her sleeplessness as inexplicable fate, she abandons this symptom.) My father was so concerned about my poor sleep that he himself could not sleep any more.

On our floor lived another tailor who had many children, four girls and two boys. One of the boys, Poldi, was my age; I played with him. He was a little roughneck, dirty and barefooted. I imitated him. (Adler: If we could uncover more of what went on in her mind, we would find a wish to change into a boy, the protest against being a woman in a world where men are generally considered superior; where they have the more advantageous positions. I have termed this manifestation “the masculine protest.”)

As a small child I would run up and down the steps in front of the church like one possessed. My mother had to drag me home with her by force. Father was very religious; he taught me at an early age to make a cross when I passed a church and he gave me religious pictures. I began to collect religious pictures. (Adler: We believe that children collect things because it makes them feel strong. This child collects in order to satisfy her striving for recognition.) In the evening I spread them in two rows under my pillow and on top I put a guardian angel. Otherwise, I could not have fallen asleep. I prayed until I was short of breath. I prayed for everyone I like, for my grandmother, uncles and aunts. (Adler: It is not difficult to train a child for such behavior. What does, “I prayed for everyone,” mean? The fate of this person is in my hand. Such a child feels superior. This form of praying, so incompatible with reality, is often a symptom of a compulsion neurosis.)

Chapter IV: The Style of Life . (Adler: In order to understand a person's life, we must discover the thread running through all her symptoms which can be traced directly to her goal. We call this thread the individual's style of life. The style of life is formed by early childhood influences, developed in early childhood, and guided by the goal of the person who follows it unquestionably.) A gloomy mood prevailed at home. My parents had quarreled again. I do not remember about what. (Adler: Children who are constantly the center of attention, like this one, cannot bear having their parents quarrel. Not because they want peace, but because they feel excluded when the others are busy with each other.)
Father asked me to stay in my room and turn my face to the wall because Santa Claus was just passing the window. Then a bell rang and we went into the Christmas room. A large Christmas tree stood on the table with candles burning. In front of it, I saw a big slate on a stand and beside it, a doll. I think I also got a picture book. I rushed to my presents, admired them, and immediately started to scribble on the slate with chalk. I could not write at that time. (Adler: She paid a great deal of attention to visual objects. The extremes of beauty and ugliness attracted her notice.) Next Christmas, Milli, a friend of mine, advised me to surprise my parents and Lina with written greetings. I bought stationery used for this purpose, trimmed with gold and angels. (Adler: We perceive the girl's qualifications for the decorative arts. Asked for what profession she should be trained, we would answer that she has trained in the direction of drawing, possibly dressmaker or fashion designer.)

Milli had a little book of Christmas wishes. She picked out three of the shortest for me and prepared to help me copy them. (Adler: This girl is capable of social interest.) Though she spelled every single word out for me, I spoiled a great many sheets. Again and again, I had to run downstairs to fetch fresh paper. I exerted myself to the utmost and was glad when I finished my letter at last. It was crammed with mistakes, but my parents and Lina enjoyed it immensely. (Adler: You see how others are induced to help this child, how well she is liked. She is accustomed to being favored. We can predict that when she is finally faced with a difficult situation, she will react acutely. She is like a hot-house plant. When she is in a less sheltered position and faces a situation where she has to give and cannot take, she will break down.)

Corpus Christi Day was almost as important a festival as Christmas Day. Father once gave a donation so that I could walk under a little canopy dressed up like an angel. I was awake at about five o'clock. We had to wait quite a while. My wings, made from goose feathers, became so heavy that Father had to take them off. Thus I trotted along, with a crown on my head, under the red canopy which was carried by four girls in white dresses. When we came near our house, I was too proud to look up to our windows. I imagined that I was almost an angel. (Adler: The child identifies herself with an angel to such an extent that she feels humiliated having to live in such a poor house.) Father followed along on the sidewalk, carrying the wings in his hand. (Adler: The girl's relationship to her father signifies that she dominates him.)
I never liked to eat. (Adler: Pampered, struggling child. The people around her overemphasize eating.) Following Father's example, I acquired the habit of reading while I ate. (Adler: She dislikes her feminine role. She imitates her father's manners, expressing that she would prefer to be a man like him.) Father told me one day that his former fiancee, Genevieve, had drunk her coffee without sugar. So I did the same. Mother took a lump of sugar in her mouth when she drank her coffee. I also imitated that. (Adler: This will be a significant point in her development. She knows that she is a girl and cannot become a boy. Though her remembrances reveal her longing to be like a man, they also show a struggle to repress this longing, to reconcile herself to the feminine role and adjust to it.)

I always loved animals. (Adler: This is a common trait among children who want to rule. Hardly anything in the world is more obedient than a dog or a rabbit. The real motive of this preference is the feeling of superiority.) I was immensely fond of ladybugs. When I found one, I took a box, pierced some holes through it, covered the bottom with cotton, put a fresh leaf over it and carefully put the ladybug on top of the leaf. I could play with it for hours and hours. And when it flew away, I began to cry and nobody could console me. (Adler: This girl searches for a way in which she can feel her superiority to the full.)

Chapter V: The Jealousy Mania . Our boarder used to accompany us when we went on an outing. One day he stayed at home. Mother was quite angry; Father noticed it immediately. On our way to the trolley station, they began to quarrel. (Adler: At an early age, this girl is made aware of jealousy in the family. She feels that her father does not like it when her mother shows an interest in other men. Jealousy shows a lack of self-confidence, representing an attempt to win power over a significant person. The victim of jealousy never realizes that by resorting to such means, she establishes at best only a semblance of power and more frequently, exercises an intolerable tyranny which backfires on the tyrant as surely as two and two make four.) Father: “You are annoyed because the boarder is not with us.” Mother: “Be quiet!” (Adler: It sounds like a modest request and most people who ask for nothing but quietness believe that they demand little. But they fail to realize that, in fact, they demand a great deal. When I demand quietness, it means that I make laws for the behavior of others. It may sound modest, but it is a battle cry.)
Father: “Go and get him! Or stay home if you want to. You can live with him; I'm not going to stop you! If the child weren't alive, I'd have left you long ago.” (Adler: We see the child standing in the midst of a matrimonial scene. She knows what it is all about. She receives impressions of married life. Such scenes certainly influence a child by giving her as graphic a picture of marriage as possible. Unfortunately, we become acquainted with the problem of marriage though our parents. Consequently, children frequently want to avoid marriage because it appears to them as a difficult problem, or they resolve to have a model marriage. Both resolutions lead to countless difficulties.) And they started yelling at each other. (Adler: A pampered child is made an involuntary witness of a quarrel between her parents. She is used to occupying the center of the stage. What does she do when she feels excluded? She interferes.) I cried and tried to reconcile Father and Mother. The quarrel was horrible for me. (Adler: That sounds wellmeant. But it was horrible for her because she did not play a role in the argument, because she was a pure nobody.)

As far as I can think back in my life, my parents always quarreled. (Adler: Since it is so strongly emphasized in her memory, we suspect she will have difficulties in her own future love relationships. She will hesitate, retreat, or try to escape.)

Chapter VI: Sexual Development . (Adler: Let us survey the story of this girl through the magnifying glass of IP, in order to uncover all the connecting links which make her life a single chain. We want to examine how each fact, experience, and reaction fits in with the other parts in order to find the general thread, or as we call it, the style of life.

Here is a spoiled girl, excessively attached to her father, who gets what she wants whenever she expresses a wish, and in whose future, for that reason, we anticipate great difficulties. When a pampered child leaves the home where she has occupied a favorable position, she has not been trained to withstand hardship. Since she has some presentiment of what awaits her, she will try to preserve the old relationships as long as possible, fear decisions, and approach problems as slowly as she can. The hesitating attitude is typical for every neurosis. The neurotic says, “Yes,” which is supposed to express her readiness and willingness, but right on the heels of “Yes” comes “But.” It is probably the most succinct expression we can find to define a neurosis.
Also, we must prepare ourselves for the eventual outbreak of this girl's neurosis, in order not to overlook anything essential, or to lose the thread of her story. Consequently, the examination of even minute details may be important. In learning to understand her, we are not so much concerned with what is exciting in her experiences, but with what has attracted her. All the little incidents must be taken into consideration to gain a complete picture.)

Father was often sad. The reason for that was my unusual bodily weakness. (Adler: We see how much she is influenced by the fact that her father is anxious about her and that his life is devoted to her.) He used to sit in his accustomed place without saying a word and with a sad face, and if you spoke to him, he answered absent-mindedly. That always annoyed Mother and so there was another quarrel. During an exasperating quarrel, Father hit the glass door with his fist, hurting his hand badly. (Adler: The attitude of her father to her mother, so different from his attitude to his child, became apparent to the girl and she felt superior to her mother.) He couldn't work for several weeks, and had to visit the doctor every day. At that time he went out with me a good deal. I felt ashamed of being alone with him; I wanted Mother to be there, too. (Adler: At this point, he who does not fully comprehend the significance of the struggle for power may think that the girl wanted something she was too frightened to take. In reality, however, she wants nothing but the dominating position in the family, and she has it.)

Mother's position was not a favorable one. She was a pretty, cheerful woman and Father killed her cheerfulness. He wanted to keep her in the house to take care of the home and sew for him. (Adler: We are certain this fact had a dreadful effect on the child. She will begin to dread the fate of her mother. She fears that such a fate can change the course of one's entire existence, and that the same thing may happen to her that happened to her mother. In this way she nourishes her suspicions about the dangers of love and marriage. She will be on her guard and learn to evade such problems.)

In spite of everything, however, I idolized my parents and watched over them jealously. Once when I noticed that my father started to follow a girl, I clung to his arm and cried, “You aren't going to follow that monkey-face!” (Adler: We are not surprised. Her goal is not to preserve harmony between her parents, but to be apprehensive about her own loss of power. That is often the root of jealousy, particularly where love does not exist and dividing relative power is the issue. Most neurotics cling to their family to an extraordinary degree. We are not criticizing close family ties. The final judgment of every human attitude and action may be based, on the plus side, on this attitude's degree of social feeling or altruism, and on the minus side, the degree of superiority striving or egotism. The same action can therefore be useful or useless, depending on whether it works with, without, or against social feeling.)

Chapter VII: The Problem of Love . I have forgotten to mention Tilda, my first friend. I met her on the street. I met her again in the fourth year at school and saw her often. She told me of her suitor, a ten-year-old boy, Henry by name, who had already promised to marry her. (Adler: We see how far-reaching the preparation for life is, even in a childs tenth year.) Then I made his acquaintance. I immediately tried to take him away from her. (Adler: Accustomed to being first, she had to choose this course when she found herself in such a situation.) I was half successful. We three went to the movies together, used to sneak into the garden of the insane asylum together and play at being married. (Adler: That is the beginning of sexual relations. Every individual uses the same sort of games as a preparation and training for adulthood.)

We often spoke of a friend of Henry's who was very good-looking, but who was also quite arrogant and didn't think much of girls. (Adler: We see how the variations in adult personalities are formed in early childhood. Children recognize these variations and also know how to react to them.) That sounded interesting to me, so I asked Tilda to arrange to have us meet. When she spoke to him about it, he said he would look me over. (Adler: I do not know if all my readers can comprehend how the girl is made to play a subordinate part. Obviously, the boy looked down on girls. His form of expression is degrading, which she understood. Anyone who is unable to hear this undertone, who is not musical enough to apprehend it, will not be able to grasp our way of thinking.)

We all met. We walked around a bit and our talk was soon of kisses. I asserted that I would never in my life let myself be kissed by anyone. The boy answered that he would prove the contrary to me, by force if necessary. I did not take him seriously. It was already twilight when we crossed the square, and he threw his arms around me. I struggled, called to Tilda for help, and freed myself after some effort. (Adler: The picture recurs. Man is the aggressor, the girl the hunted animal. How hard things are; how careful one must be to avoid such attacks.) I upbraided him for his impudence and pointed out that a stolen kiss was not the same as one given voluntarily. (Adler: Notice how the ten-year-old girl can argue; she has learned it in her family.) And that, if I were a boy, I would never bother about stealing a kiss. (Adler: With that she degrades him.) I walked alongside him cautiously. Soon after, he asked for another appointment through Tilda, but I didn't care about seeing him again since I knew I could have him. (Adler: For the first time, this girl faces the problem of love. She must formulate a response. We may conclude from all that has gone before, and from the little test we have just read, that she will not regard love as a means of development, and certainly not as an expression of social feeling, but as a means to win power and significance. Provided, naturally, that she does not run away from the problem completely. We can measure the degree to which an individual is normal or neurotic by the degree to which she attempts to solve or evade problems.)

In the fourth year at school, Father was indifferent to my progress. He only concerned himself with my health. He was always careful to see that I had enough fresh air. He often went walking with me. We would pace quickly along the streets to the railroad viaduct. Then I waited, shuddering, until the train shot out of the tunnel. It appeared to me like a monster, a dragon, a devil. The moment it rushed passed me, I swore at it out of the smoke which threatened to obscure me. (Adler: Even this little incident is exaggerated. Even out of that she extracts the advantage of the possibility for anxiety. She will construct groundless fears until she cannot rid herself of her anxiety. That is the development of training toward an anxiety neurosis.)

When I was in high school, Father had a book with pictures illustrating the whole story of the persecution of the Christians in Rome. I couldn't read very well at that time, so he explained the pictures and told me the whole story. I would arrange the scenes with my doll. Most of the time, she would take the part of a king's daughter. Presumably under the influence of those pictures which presented the crucifixion, I composed the following play: a strange knight steals my doll and kisses her in front of her husband who has just come in. Her husband starts to scream. The knight, with the consent of the stolen princess (the doll) has the husband knifed by a couple of hangman's assistants, tortured with heated tongs, and then orders his skin torn off. And while I was imagining all that to myself, I suddenly had the most peculiar feeling. (Adler: There we have the emerging of a sadistic-sexual fantasy. We have often remarked how she attempts to degrade others. We gather that her anxiety dreams, her liking for criminal films, do not remain merely as anxiety images in her, but go further and excite her erotically.)

When I was finally alone with one girl who was supposed to know a great deal, I asked her if she knew where children come from. She said, “Yes.” I begged her to tell me. Then she said that one must have sexual intercourse in order to have a child. The expression “sexual intercourse” was not clear to me, so she described the procedure. Horrified, I cried, “That can't be true!”

Chapter VIII: The Shock of Sexual Knowledge . (Adler: IP has always believed that each person is an indivisible whole, a concentrated bundle of life, striving toward a goal. To attain this goal, she constructs a system embracing everything that may help her and rejecting all that may hinder her progress. When an individual has an experience that registers in her memory, it becomes a part of and belongs to her system. This system continues throughout her life, including all forms of expression. The life of an ordinary healthy person conceals this system; serious mental disorders reveal it distinctly. When we apply this idea to our story, we come much closer to an understanding of this girl's system. We are dealing here with a spoiled child who wants to occupy the leading position and avoid every situation which does not fit into her style of life. Let us see whether our hypothesis is confirmed.)

In spite of the exact description, I still doubted her words. It seemed too piggish to me. I thought that it was quite beyond good people, and in particular, my parents, to do anything of the sort. And a girl who would permit herself to do that was, in my eyes, contaminated and degraded. It was inconceivable to me how one could live through it. (Adler: Here appears the snag which appears unavoidable when enlightening a child about sex, since the child already has a fixed form of life. When such a child strives to be foremost, to shine in every respect, she receives the impression that sex is concerned with something debasing so she will, sooner or later, protect herself from the approach of the opposite sex. The degree to which she will repel advances will depend on how much she has fed her ambition. She will have difficulties and begin to resent her sex.)
Another girl said later that she had a thick medical book at home which she used to read secretly. Sexual intercourse was explained in that book in detail as well as the sexual organs, and there were also pictures. I asked her to lend me the book. We wrapped the book in newspapers and with a beating heart carried it to my house and hid it beneath a chest. After supper, I got it out and read with boundless excitement. Now I had it in black and white and could do nothing but accept the sexual act as a fact. But I still thought my parents incapable of doing any such thing. And I decided then never to marry. (Adler: We can anticipate what she is going to do or not do, according to the style of life developed up to now. She collects reasons to avoid love in which she fears a defeat.) On the rare occasions that Father and Mother were affectionate to each other, I would throw myself energetically between them and make them understand that I alone was the one to receive caresses. (Adler: Again, she expresses a vigorous reaction against sexuality. When we assume that she does this because she is jealous of her mother and wants her mother's place in relation to her father, we disturb the clear unity of her behavior pattern. In general, the jealousy of children does not express desire for sexual possession of the father or mother, but merely a wish to occupy a higher and more powerful position. It is an expression of the struggle for superiority.)

When I was in the second year of high school, I suddenly imagined that the calves of my legs were too thin ... (Adler: That is doubt of one's own beauty. The girl doubts easily. If she imagined that she were pretty, it would be an impulse in the direction of love. If she made her longed-for superiority a reality, she might be forced to face and accept a problem. Our girl needs doubt in her system; therefore, she makes these discoveries of which we will undoubtedly hear more.) … and put on three pairs of stockings. My arms too seemed to me too thin. (Adler: We expect her to find many ugly points about herself with the consequence, “I cannot marry; I must exclude love completely from my life.” She gathers reasons like a honeybee in order to avoid a love relationship.)

I was sitting in my room and brooding. It was a habit of mine then. (Adler: The tendency of busying herself with useless things grows more marked.)

One day Olga (my friend) found in the trunk of her father The Memoirs of Casanova. At that time I was in the third year of high school. We devoured the book. Then she discovered a lot of erotic books, bound in black, with the title, The Secret Library, stamped in white. Trembling with excitement, we got the books out on the floor and read them aloud to each other. The books were called, The Black Don Juan, The Lady with the Dark Spot, The Swimming Instructor in the Women's Bath, and so on. The most awful things happened in those stories. (Adler: Naturally, superficial observers will take this as an expression of eroticism. It is more correctly understood as a deviation from eroticism, as an effort to give very little place in her real life to it. The reading of erotic descriptions indicated the exclusion of eroticism in reality.)

Funny that boys could not attract me when I thought they were superior. (Adler: Here we find a corroboration of the reason given for examining pictures and reading erotic books. She shuns love by occupying her fantasy with useless things. Boys are only there to be made fools of. When we depreciate the value of something which we originally wanted, we rid ourselves of a disagreeable duty or responsibility, and retain our good humor.)

Other girls disgusted me. (Adler: This is an attempt not to proceed further in the direction of homosexuality.)

My own person pleased me most. At that time I was in low spirits and went around with bowed head, not daring to look people in the face, imagined everyone could see through me and was afraid I wouldn't grow anymore. I was horribly unhappy. Finally I went to Father and whispered to him, “I have a confession to make.” He asked me what was the matter now. (Adler: This sort of question is heard only in connection with spoiled children. They keep us busy with them the whole day long.) And I confessed with shame that I had done a certain thing. He said it didn't matter once, but I had better not do it again or I would harm myself. (Adler: She has found a more advanced road in eroticism; she has arrived at auto-eroticism. We can predict, in accordance with her style of life, that she will cling to it for a long time. This satisfaction offers her several advantages. First, she derives physical pleasure. Second, the problem of love is circumvented. The question of power is solved to her satisfaction since she threatens her father with the possibility of a sordid habit and is unstoppable. Retention of the habit over a long period indicates an asocial attitude. It is the eroticism of the lonely.)

Chapter IX: The Masculine Protest . When I was fourteen, I resumed my swearing at my parents and God. (Adler: We must assume that difficulties have entered the life of this girl, as they obstruct the path of every spoiled child. Pampering cannot continue forever and this swearing represents anger at the deprivation expressed in degrading remarks.) Without moving my lips, the most abominable words used to enter my mind. I felt terribly depressed. (Adler: Depression is often found with a compulsion neurosis. A depression usually starts when an individual believes she is forced by some power to pursue a particular course of action. Since these courses of action usually obstruct the activities of others or, at least, prevent a focus on useful things, the resulting depression resembles a self-accusation and is viewed that way. Frequently, the depressed person expresses guilt about her depression, but we should not be fooled by it.)

When I saw my father before me with his weak arms, it hurt me dreadfully. I thought, “If he only knew.” (Adler: She feels herself superior through her degradation of him. His weak arms!) I tried in vain to convince myself that I meant someone else when I thought of a bad name. (Adler: She wants to feel noble.)

Then came the thought in between, “Father is a . . .” In order to prove to myself that father was not a . . . I thought, “Father is not a . . . , his assistant is a . . . ,” and cried, “He can go to the devil.” Then I kept still and heard within me again, “Father is a . . . ” Then it seemed to me as if all my cursing were aimed at Father, and I felt as if someone had hit me a hard blow on the head. (Adler: Her neurosis begins here. When we look back, we become aware of the prolonged preparation consistently leading to this point. Her entire behavior tends toward evading the duties of normal life in the society of her fellow human beings. She fills her time instead by occupying herself constantly with the matter of superiority in her own circle. When her superiority is endangered, and the problems of life approach more and more closely, the first compulsion symptoms appear. She curses her family and God, a habit she has practiced since childhood. Undoubtedly, she will sink more and more deeply into the mire of neurotic thought and behavior.)

In my thoughts I also had to swear at God. And then I heard a shriek as if it were from a devil, “You, you have said that.” Inwardly I answered at once, “God is the most beautiful man, and the best one there is.” While I was saying, “Our Father,” I heard, “Holy Mary, I pray to thee. No, I don't pray to thee.” Then there was an inward whisper again, “I pray to thee, Maria.” I was perspiring with fear. (Adler: Such fixed ideas must shatter the thinker. In this shattering lies the principal purpose of the neurosis. Now we understand the significance of feelings a little better. Feelings are never arguments; they run in the direction demanded by the style of life. We can go a step further; the arrangement works toward the goal of producing the appropriate feelings to help the neurotic obey (follow) her style of life. This girl helps herself by producing feelings which build themselves into an impassable barrier for her. We hear that she does not want to go out into society, that she does not train for a vocation, and that she will fail in the third test imposed by life, the task of love.)

When I drank coffee, I used to think that the heat of the coffee might crack the enamel of my teeth. I refused to drink anything too hot or too cold, and drank coffee, tea, soup, beer, even water, lukewarm. I ate nothing hard. I was afraid to break a tooth if I did. I ate no more bread crusts, no meat in which there was a bone. No chocolate and no sugar. Then I didn't chew anything any more. I let the foods melt in my mouth and swallowed them like a toothless hag. Then I avoided even bringing an eating utensil in contact with my mouth. Finally I ate only with my fingers. (Adler: She arranges her life so she is freed from every occupation.)

This delusion also lasted several months. But a still worse one followed. I had an excruciating youth. I was just returning from school. I had accompanied a friend and wanted to cross the street. A man approached us from the other side. He had a cloth around his face. When he came closer, I noticed that his whole face was eaten away. There was no nose, no lips, only a number of red holes. I felt as if someone had struck me. I was seized with such dread of this man that in order not to retrace his footsteps, I turned around and made a detour home. (Adler: Now comes the lupus phobia and with it the fear of infection. We now see more clearly and can prophesy that this fear of infection will lead her to strengthen her feeling of security and support her still more in her attempt to exclude love and marriage from her life.)

Chapter X: A Lupus Phobia . Still extremely frightened, I told Father what had happened. (Adler: Significantly, she tells it to her father and we may well ask why. The obvious answer would be that she is on good terms with him and has confidence in him. But we can find another reason for her behavior; she wants to make him understand what will follow – that she must attach herself still more closely to her family, lessen her contact with the outside world, appear laden with burdens and incapable of doing anything or solving any problems.) He thought it was probably lupus. What was that? A devouring disease whose name in Latin means wolf. (Adler: The father, who had a morbid fear of tuberculosis, had two or three medical books which he often read – hence his knowledge. The girl trains herself. She takes the means which she can use and which appear serviceable to her in the specific situation, whether from her father or elsewhere. Supported by her fear of an infectious disease, she now believes she has the right to separate herself from the outside world.)

One afternoon a boy called for me, an acquaintance of Olga's who was attentive to both of us. We went for a walk together and happened to pass a street where there was a home for people suffering from lupus. All at once, I noticed where we were. I was horribly depressed, spoke not another word and turned to go home completely broken. I was as if lamed. My thoughts stood still and only one thing filled me, dread of lupus. (Adler: Just when she is with the boy attentive to two girls, something fills her with dread. Two reasons may explain: (1) the boy also likes another girl; (2) she can use her lupus phobia to escape the solution of any problem.) I felt as if I were surrounded by bars through which there was no way out. At the same time I felt I hated and loathed the lupus sufferers. (Adler: She acts correctly according to her system. If she did not have the accompanying feeling of hatred and loathing, then her behavior could rightly be called idiotic. A neurosis is always consistent, constructed on a scheme of private logic.)

Like a horrible, gigantic spider, the dread of the devouring disease crawled through me. If I had known of some way by which I could have killed myself quickly, I would have done it. But I knew none. (Adler: She has not gotten far enough to cut off her life completely. She still has one resource, her family. Such a girl could be driven to suicide by separating her completely from her family, for instance, in a sanatorium where she was not well treated, or if her parents were to withdraw from her and declare her hopelessly insane. She might then commit suicide as an act of revenge.)

I clung to the belief that the soles of my shoes were infected by having stepped on the same pavement on which the man with lupus had walked, and consequently, that the floor of our apartment was also infected and that perhaps one of the inmates had spit out the window and I might have trodden on the slime. My parents tried desperately to pry me loose from this idea, but in vain. (Adler: Her position in the house has now been firmly established. She has become the central figure, much more than before in that she has succeeded in cutting off all connection with the outside world.)

Then I got the idea that one could never know whether money had been touched by a lupus sufferer or not. So I did not touch it any more unless I first covered my hand with a piece of paper. When I had to buy something, I wrapped the money in the inevitable paper and carried it to Minna. She had to accompany me and pay the bills. (Adler: Now she has a court attendant. Somebody has to accompany her on the street. That is agoraphobia.)

My family frequently had to go through the dangerous street. I asked them repeatedly to be careful not to touch anything there. Although they promised it over and over again, the suspicion would not leave me that they did not pay any attention to my caution. Now none of them was allowed to come near me any more. (Adler: We see how she aggravates her condition. Her radius of activity becomes smaller and smaller. She is the only one in the world who is pure, free from bacilli, the only one who realizes how all others plunge into misery. All other people are profane, depraved, infected; she alone is not. She is a saint. She achieves her goal of superiority on the useless side of life by cheap means.)

One day, brushing crumbs off the table, I carelessly dropped my pocket mirror on the floor. While picking it up, I saw that it had a few cracks. “How silly,” I thought, “now I won't have good luck for seven years.” (Adler: Here is another opportunity for compulsive thoughts and acts. This is the third time, proof that the disappearance of one symptom (the lupus phobia, for example) does not indicate a cure, but rather that a new symptom will be produced, and that the appearance of symptoms will not stop as long as she does not change her goal and style of life.)

Chapter XI: Yes! But – . Father had a little work basket of plaited straw in which he kept several pocket mirrors. I was afraid to break them, and was always very careful not to touch the basket. Finally Father decided to sell the mirrors to the same man who bought our remnants. (Adler: Her attention is concentrated on all the mirrors around her. Significant for the structure of every neurosis, this type of preoccupation becomes more conspicuous in a compulsion neurosis. She stands a greater distance away from the important problems of her life. In order not to suffer a defeat in trying to solve her problems on the useful side of life, she spends all her time on useless activities.

The objection might be raised: Why is she anxious about breaking a mirror if the resulting bad luck would help her avoid the problem of love, and protected by her superstition, she would not even have to attempt to occupy herself with the dangerous question? The neurotic does not think so simply. She wants to appear to make every effort to respond to the demands of communal life. That is her “yes.” But then she throws a stone in her way which impedes her progress. That is her “but.” The result is that she has a good alibi for the evasion of the danger of love; she has reneged. I want to very much, BUT I cannot. That is the meaning of her fear of mirrors. As long as someone wants to, but excuses herself with a “but,” she does not want to.)

I was very friendly with the son of the proprietor of our favorite cafe. We had already played together when we were children. His name was Hans and he was as old as I. We often took walks together. But since I disliked being alone with a boy and wanted to make some new acquaintances, I asked him one day whether he knew of a friend for me. (Adler: The attempts of the girl to approach love relationships although they are very careful, do not surprise us. They are attempts to say “yes” in situations of little danger, in much the same way as someone who seems about to withdraw, yet makes a few hesitating steps forward only to express her “but.” This “yes! – but” as we have said before is the best definition of neurosis.)

Every corner was crowded with Father's tailoring business. We had often talked about putting me into an office. (Adler: She will now be brought face to face with the great, human problem of work. As a pampered child, she will also be badly prepared for this problem of life and will hesitate, stop, or run away.) After finishing business school, I did not do any work at all. I got up at ten in the morning, demanded food at once, and ate an awful lot. All day long, I visited friends and came home only for meals. Father was of the opinion that it could not go on like that any longer; I could either help a little at home or else get a job in an office. Household work did not interest me in the least. In an office, I could make some money. So, one morning, Father looked through the newspaper and found an advertisement inserted by a chemical factory for an office girl.
The next morning I woke up very early. Mother helped me dress. Then she gave me a thermos-bottle with hot tea, cold pork, bread and a few lumps of sugar. Father blessed me as if I were going on a long journey and told me to come home if there was anything I did not like. My parents were both quite upset. In a rather depressed mood, I started. (Adler: She probably expects great honor from her job. According to the usual nature of such office positions, we may assume that she will soon find her way back to her parents. The excitement she speaks of indicates the intense tension such people feel who do not think of the work or of other people, but solely of their triumph or possible defeat. At the same time, we find courage, self-confidence, and an optimistic attitude only among individuals who feel they are in contact with other human beings and at home with them. Courage is the result of a perfect social feeling.)

During my lunch time, I ate the bread and cold pork and drank the tea. But that was as good as nothing. I was used to devouring tremendous portions. Suddenly, I got severe abdominal cramps. I went to the ladies' room and had to keep going there all afternoon. Later on I broke the thermos bottle. And then it was five o'clock at last. I staggered exhausted to the car.

At home, each member of my family surpassed the other in pitying me. Lina took me in her arms and signed, “Poor child, you have had to work so hard!” Mother also embraced and kissed me. Then she cooked a delicious meal, all my favorite dishes. But I was so exhausted that I could not eat. That made Father excited. “Don't you see,” he exclaimed, “she'll break down? If she goes to this office for only a few days, I'll have her lying here sick in bed! She can't stand that. She isn't going to go there again!” (Adler: Her attitude incites the pampering group to help her intention to give up her position. The retreat is complete.)

A little later on the idea came to my mind to become assistant to a dentist such as Lina had been. Soon I found an advertisement in the paper and applied as a nurse in a dentist's office. The first patient came in. I had to carry out the brass pot into which the patient spit, and sterilize the instruments. All this and the obnoxious odor of my hands sickened me to such a degree that I could hardly eat anything for lunch. At two o'clock I had to be back. Now the parade of patients began. However, I was cheated of the spectacle that I wanted to see most of all: no one had a tooth pulled. (Adler: Those who feel inferior and weak want to be present at the misfortune of others. Some children train and practice to be cruel because they are ashamed of their weakness. The accomplished tyrant is always a coward and a weakling as well.)

Chapter XII: The Goal of Superiority . One day while we were taking a walk, Tilda's friend pulled her onto a gutter drain and held her on it. Both shook with laughter. Surprised, I asked them what that meant. Tilda answered, “Don't you know that a girl doesn't get a husband if she stands on a gutter drain?” Afraid of being pushed or pulled onto a gutter drain like Tilda with the result of never being able to acquire a husband, I went out with them quite reluctantly from that time on. (Adler: Again a new compulsion idea. The symptoms change like the colors of a chameleon, adjusting themselves along neurotic lines to changing environment and conditions. This girl goes further, step by step, in her compulsion neurosis. One restriction follows another, each more comprehensive. The entire construction of her neurosis is intelligent and consistent, demonstrating that even intelligence is merely an instrument used either to overcome life's obstacles or evade them, depending on the goal.)

Soon I could do nothing but believe in the mysterious connection between a gutter drain and its various consequences. The fear of gutter drains made going out almost impossible for me. In spite of my apprehensiveness about going around with men, the prospect of having to remain an old maid for the rest of my life seemed to me the most despicable fate. “Old maid” – the mere name terrified me. In sheer desperation, the idea came to me to retreat from this world and enter a cloister. (Adler: This fear of gutter drains places all responsibility for possible failure to find a husband on the drain, and leaves her personal attractiveness intact. Her vanity and pride are saved. If no one wants her, it is the fault of the gutter drain, just as before it was the fault of the broken mirror.)

My fear of gutter drains was supplemented by the following. One day I began to imagine that the trolley lines J and J2 would bring me misfortune. Eventually, I added to them the numbers 13, 3, 63, 43, and the letters A, Ak, B, Bk, D, and C. It became absolutely impossible for me to use these lines. I often walked many blocks, even when the weather was bad. I could tell many stories about my sufferings. Again I resolved to enter a cloister. (Adler: We see how she restricts her radius of action by the car phobia and, faced with the problem of love, seeks a way to avoid possible defeat by means of a cloister.)
Then it became quite impossible for me to go through certain streets. The members of my family were also forbidden to ride in the cars with the unfortunate numbers, or walk through streets taboo for me. If I found out that they had done it anyway, I did not let them come near me. And if I accidentally came in contact with them, I swore and fretted, tore off my dress and underwear, placed myself in front of the open window without a bit of clothing on in order to catch pneumonia and die, and finally threw myself in complete desperation on the bed. (Adler: Instead of overcoming her difficulties by means of creative power and choice of a generally useful occupation, which would also help her overcome her feeling of inferiority, she chooses to detach herself from and condemn the community and its offering, revenge herself on those who stand in her way, and acquire a fleeting feeling of superiority in experiencing mastery over her life and death. The streetcar phobia again gives her power over her family, the weakest part in her environment.)

To evade direct contact with all forbidden people who came to the house, I would withdraw to the bedroom. There I felt as if the evil eye which I ascribed to them penetrated the wall and brought misfortune upon me. So I went to bed and crept under the blankets. (Adler: When misfortune happens because of the evil eye, of course, she is not responsible. The evil eye is to blame. What patients call bad luck is usually their own mistakes and stupidities, the cause of which they seek somewhere outside instead of inside.)

After the slightest contact with forbidden people or things, I washed myself. I frequently washed my whole body. I never again used a piece of soap which fell on the floor. My parents and Lina were not permitted to wash themselves with this cake of soap either. So the soap which had fallen on the floor accumulated and soon there was a pile of unusable soap. At home I wore an old, torn dress, and a pair of Bohemian slippers; if I could have managed it, I would never have taken them off. Thus I sat like Cinderella in a corner of the kitchen on my broken chair with the rusty nails, in front of me all the things whose mere presence seemed pernicious to me, all the objects bewitched by the touch of residents of those execrated districts and streets, outside the gutter drains, houses, gas lampposts, coffee restaurants, trolley cars, stores threatening with their wicked magi; danger, mischief, and misfortune dogged my steps. (Adler: She describes her suffering with much skill and penetration. An antisocial, selfish life never leads to pleasure in the power which has been won over a few people at the expense of so much exertion. She sits like a tyrant on a throne which can be overturned at any moment; she rules by fear and is ruled by fear. The protecting measures which have been arranged for her own security become weapons in the hands of her enemies. The more she thinks of her security and how to preserve it, the more insecure she becomes.

So-called logical arguments are of no avail in attempting to free this girl of her compulsion ideas and compulsion acts. She must be shown, step by step, the real construction of her behavior as we see it. She would have to learn to recognize what the purpose of her symptoms is and what she achieves thereby; that she wants unconsciously to detach herself by compulsion from the compulsion of communal demands; that she has built a secondary battlefield in her intense desire to avoid the principal battlefield of life; that she wants to fritter away her time so as to have none left for the accomplishment of her daily tasks; that she intends to evade life's demands with excuses, curses, alibis or ostensibly good reasons. She can then be led to change her style of life by unmasking the technical apparatus of her compulsion neurosis and helping her understand the whole course and consistency of her conduct.)

The following are excerpts from Adler's comments in the final section of this chapter, thus concluding The Case of Miss R. and Volume 9.

I have tried to give the reader a picture of the procedure followed in a psychological analysis. I want my reader to see how a psychologist armed with a store of experience listens to, apprehends, works over, and understands an ordinary and otherwise insignificant life story.

As I said in my preface, I have never seen this girl. All that I know about her has been written by her and by me in the present book. She mentions her present condition only once in the story, when she tells us that to this very day she still cannot bring herself to use certain street cars. We may assume from that remark that her compulsion neurosis has probably improved a great deal, but has not entirely disappeared.

Just as every step into a neurosis inevitably destroys courage, every step out of a neurosis builds up courage and with it strength and social feeling. That idea agrees with what I have heard about the writer of this story; namely, that insofar as she has been able to help herself without the aid of a psychologist, she has freed herself of her compulsion neurosis, and is taking courageous steps to solve her difficult life problems. I shall leave to the imaginative power, psychological understanding, and intuition of my readers to divine how.

Volume 10 - Case Readings & Demonstrations:
The Problem Child, The Pattern of Life

Volume 10 consists of two parts. In Part 1, The Problem Child (1930), Adler uses a number of cases to discuss the life style of the difficult child. In Part 2, The Pattern of Life (1930), he also uses case studies to illustrate specific theoretical constructs, uncovering the psychological dynamics of each case, as he does in actual therapy sessions.

Part 1: The Problem Child.

Introduction: Man and His Fellows. Before addressing particular cases, Adler gives an overview of the basic concepts of IP. He begins by emphasizing that “the life of the human soul is not a 'being' but a 'becoming.'” All psychic life is a “striving to overcome” the difficulties of relating to others. In this striving, although we all make some mistakes, we consider “good” and “beautiful” that which is useful to the community. The cornerstone of IP is social feeling, and the mother plays a major role in nurturing it in the child. The subsequent way we use our intellect and our way of seeing, speaking, and listening all reflect our degree of social feeling, our desire to connect with others, and to contribute. Many factors can interfere with the development of this interest in others, promoting a sense of weakness and lack of confidence in a child, thereby leading him to become someone who leans on others, instead of contributing, who takes, instead of giving. As Adler says, “We must develop ourselves and our children to become the instruments for social progress.”

In Ch. I: Exaggeration of Self-Importance, before presenting the first case, Adler describes the purpose of this book and his strategy for achieving it. “In order to explain the methods of IP, I would like to show you the way I proceed when dealing with the history of a problem child, a neurotic, or a criminal, in trying to discover the basis and real causes of his erroneous ways. To give you a correct idea of our approach, I would like to discuss a case with which, up to this very moment, I was not familiar. I have no previous notion of the events described in this case history, and shall try to follow the same procedure which I usually pursue in my practice.” (In his valuable book, The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology (1994), page 236, Edward Hoffman explains that The Problem Child “was based on edited transcripts of Adler's Viennese demonstration lectures with emotionally disturbed children and their families.” Thus, Adler will spontaneously analyze and interpret case reports with which he was not previously familiar, as he has done several times before in other volumes.)

“It has become possible for us to draw conclusions about the whole from small details, as in natural history one gains information about the specimen from one little bone. And yet we are more prudent than those who try to describe and understand the life picture according to their prejudices. We proceed critically by tentative suppositions and their corrections.”

“We know that every child begins with a feeling of inferiority and tries to compensate for it; that he tends toward a goal of superiority, totality, that he strives for using his powers in order to cope with all difficulties. We differentiate, however, whether this striving is directed toward the useful or the useless side of life. We try to locate the obstacle which caused the deviation; we try to find the problem which proved too difficult. We ask, 'How did it happen that, at this point, the individual felt unable to cope with life's problems? Why did he prove unprepared at this particular moment?' Experience has shown us that it is always the child in whom the social feeling was underdeveloped. This made it easier for the child to hesitate, to stop, to avoid things, to be satisfied with a useless solution of the immediate problem, which in itself already contains damage to others.

I shall try to utilize and demonstrate our technique in the interpretation of such a case. I received the following description.” (He then reads the case report aloud, and makes comments, interpreting the material for his audience. Most of the chapters in The Problem Child follow this pattern.)

The subject is an eleven-year-old girl, an only child, well-developed, well behaved both at home and at school, who is now in her first year of junior high school. When she has to go to school in the morning, she is so nervous that everyone in the house suffers. As soon as she wakes, she complains that she has been awakened too late. Instead of getting dressed, she sits and cries. She complains about the way her hair is done and about her hair ribbon. She runs off without breakfast, crying and complaining.

(Adler: This child is animated by ambition; she wants to be the center of attention, both at school and at home. She does not have much courage. We can also tell something about the development of her social feeling. No one will doubt that the torment which she inflicts on her family bothers her very little. The only thing which matters to her is to be a martyr. All the difficulties she invents, even the fact that she goes without food, are intended to make the picture more painful. She is strongly concerned with her own prestige, but not very considerate of others. The only person who tries to upset others is one who believes herself incapable, by her own actions, of proving her own importance. Perhaps we could adopt the following point of view toward this little girl: “If you want to take my word for it. You are doing very well. But perhaps you should do even better. All this means simply that you are a very intelligent little girl who has found a good way to get her family upset.”)

In Ch II: Students Repeat a Grade, Adler presents two case reports. The first one concerns a nine-year-old girl. Because she is repeating the second grade and has trouble with arithmetic, the school thinks she may be mentally retarded. The parents disagree. They believe she may lack self-confidence, and suspect that she may exploit her disability in order to gain more attention at home, where her two sisters, both very gifted, try to help her.

In the second case, a nine-year-old girl is repeating the third grade, and has a tendency to lie and steal. Her parents are separated. The mother gave her little affection, and her father, to whom she is most attached, punishes and beats her. Her father turns her over to her grandparents, who also do not want her. Although forbidden to do so, she visits her mother, steals money from her, and uses it to buy sweets for her schoolmates. She lives with foster-parents, from whom she has also stolen. They do not want her either. Since they learned about her misdemeanors at school, she has been shunned there. Because of her mother's lack of affection and the judgments made by everybody, she opposes all around her. (Adler: We have here a perfect example of a child with a pronounced feeling of inferiority stemming from being unwanted. She feels hated. We have to correct this error; we must make it clear to her, even if she is right, that she has no reason to believe there are no friendly, accepting people in the world. She is caught in a trap in which everyone appears as an enemy. Her social feeling cannot be developed. However, she is seeking affection; hence, it should not be too difficult to gain her confidence. She must be freed from her wrong impression that man is bad by nature. This will not be easy. Perhaps some teacher might accomplish incidentally and without actually understanding her, the most important task, and that is: to give her courage.)

In Ch III: A Father Prevents Social Feeling, Adler reads the report of a six-year-old boy. With his three younger siblings and his father, the boy sells newspapers on the street because the family is poor. The apartment is small with only two beds; he sleeps with his father, who is frequently kept awake with his lung condition. When this happens, the father becomes irritated and beats the boy. He shows little affection for the boy, preferring the boy's younger sister. The boy often stays out past midnight, was picked up by the police on several occasions, and begs in front of candy stores and movie houses. At school he is dirty and cannot sit still. (Adler: In school one must sit still. If he cannot sit still it means that he doesn't want to be in school. At school, sitting has a different meaning than elsewhere in life: it is a social function. A child's social integration with school is expressed in this physical attitude. What does he do then? We can guess.)

He strolls about in the classroom, sings while the teacher is talking, and mimics his schoolmates' answers. (Adler: Isn't this already a sign of escape? But escape is not easy; certain threats appear. This boy would no doubt have preferred to run away. He can still act up so badly that he is thrown out. And then he won't be running any more risks.) He tries to start quarrels with his schoolmates. He almost broke a schoolmate's finger. He uses vulgar expressions fluently. He is alert, capable of answering very well when questions are put to him, and very good in arithmetic.
(Adler: We can well understand that the boy has always had to calculate: whether he was going to get anything to eat, how much money he could get by begging, etc. He is not far from achieving his goal: to be expelled from school. The teacher, who was taken in by his game, is doing what the boy wants him to do. And yet, he would like to be a leader. He would like to have everyone watching him, and to be the center of attention. Moreover, he has succeeded, in a sense. The whole class pays attention to him. Nobody takes as much of the teacher's time as he does. He has in fact become the most important person. A way to the useful side of life must be cleared for this boy. We must strengthen his courage so that he believes in his ability to succeed in something useful.)

The second case is about a four-year-old girl, a youngest child, who persists in sucking her thumb. She also refuses food and vomits easily. When her parents try to bathe her, she screams and struggles.

In the third case, a boy of five, the eldest of several siblings, is of normal intelligence. But he “manhandles” other children and furniture, or even destroys valuable objects, whenever they are in his way. Reared very strictly, he has been told to model himself after his father, a gifted engineer who designs and paints.

Ch IV: A Spoiled Youngest Child focuses on an eleven-year-old girl. The mother had fourteen children, and Petronilla is the youngest of the surviving seven. After reading aloud and interpreting the lengthy report, Adler meets with the mother, then the girl for a brief demonstration. This is the longest of the 22 chapters about problem children, and a classic example of a spoiled child, an ineffective mother, and Adler's approach.

The father is a retired railroad man; the mother is a housekeeper. According to the school report, the girl works willingly for a certain period of time; then her enthusiasm diminishes. (Adler: When you notice such instability in the work of a child going to school, you can conclude with some justification that the child is spoiled. She will make progress only under certain conditions, when she is in a pleasant situation, when progress comes without effort; when everything goes smoothly.) She prefers penmanship, drawing, and manual work. The mother defends her bad conduct. (Adler: We obtain confirmation that the child is spoiled.)

She tries to distract others by creating disturbances. (Adler: This does not surprise us, since we know that such a spoiled child, who has a certain degree of activity, will employ her desire to be the center of attention particularly on the useless side.) Remarkable memory. (Adler: I would not be surprised if an intelligence test showed her mental level to be above average.) Sound ideas; critical talent. Goes at all new work courageously. (Adler: We begin to see the outlines of her style of life. We have the picture of a very active child who takes an interest in the world around her and who certainly strives to raise herself above others. Now, in the social milieu of school, how will she rise above the teacher?) The recognition that her work is well done encourages her a great deal.

Has a tendency to leadership. But is not well equipped to lead. (Adler: Why isn't she well equipped? The other children oppose her. They don't want to be led and commanded by her. She has not yet learned how to lead others.) Expresses herself well and talks easily. (Adler: Talking is another way of attracting attention. You will often find this love of talking in problem children, neurotics, and psychotics. Such people talk constantly.)

For the past two or three weeks she has been behaving very badly. She shouts during lessons, constantly leaves her seat, and disturbs others. (Adler: She tries to outdo the others. She wants to demonstrate her power, to achieve domination over the other children.) During classroom work she refuses to cooperate. When reprimanded, she became angry, seized the inkwell, poured ink on her hands, and soiled the desk. (Adler: She goes beyond all limits and behaves like an enraged conqueror who is determined at all costs to show that she is the strongest. She shows us by her attitude that she has lost hope of playing an important role in this school.)

The mother is called in to the school. Losing all control in her anger, she pulled the child's hair, senselessly slapped her in the face, and twisted her arm. (Adler: The mother also lost her self-control. This is not a good method for punishing the child's ultimate effort. The child does not care at all if she upsets her mother and teacher.) The principal quieted the mother with difficulty, and had the child go back to her classroom. The child did not cry, and did not shout; she controlled herself. (Adler: You see how she showed her mother, “You are too weak for me. I am stronger than you!”)

No sooner had the mother left than the child was sent back to the principal because she was making it impossible to carry on the classroom work. The principal gave her a responsible task: to bring the calendar up to date. (Adler: This is one way to calm a child at school, but this girl wants something more. She wants to be more than all the other children.) The teacher entered the classroom. The child remarked that the teacher had pretty curls, and wanted to know where she could buy them. (Adler: This signifies open hostility. The girl is engaged in an out-and-out struggle with the teacher.)
During two natural science lessons the principal had to remain in the classroom in order for the work to proceed undisturbed. (Adler: She isn't strong enough to challenge the principal.) When she wouldn't do her arithmetic, she was sent to the principal's office again, where she was given additional tasks: sealing envelopes and carrying messages between classrooms. (Adler: She has found the place that appeals to her: the principal's office. If she is sent somewhere else, she strives to get back. Her movement is in this direction because at the principal's office, she finds herself in a pleasant situation.)

She has said, “I want to be a teacher.” (Adler: This does not surprise us because in the image of the teacher she recognizes a person of power.) “If I had to handle a naughty child, I'd just beat him.”

Once she made so much noise at the beginning of the class that it was impossible to continue teaching the lesson. She ran around the classroom, hitting other children and insulting them. At one point, she shouted, “I'll stick a knife in your ribs!” Nor did she become more cooperative later on. She kept saying, “I can't do that.” (Adler: This also means: So I must bother other people. If I can't play the leading role, I won't play any more.)

Adler invites the mother in.

Adler: We would like to help you and the teacher. You know, we like the child. She knows what she wants. But perhaps she doesn't like the school.

Mother: She wanted to go to the Y Street School. She believes she wasn't assigned to that school because she is the worst student.
Adler: Does she have any friends?
Mother: Oh yes, of course.
Adler: We have confidence in this child. We think she is a capable girl. She always wants to be a leader, doesn't she?
Mother: She complains a lot that the teacher doesn't call on her in class. At home she is very sweet; she helps me a lot.
Adler: What kind of upbringing has she had? Was it strict?
Mother: You have to be strict with all of them.
Adler: I believe that if you explained things to this child, that would work, too.
Mother: You never get anywhere without punishing them.

Adler: I was thinking that we could find someone around here who understands the child, who would take walks with her, who would give her better ideas. If you are willing, I could send one of my students.

Mother: I believe I've given my other children a good upbringing, and I think I can manage to raise this one, too.

After the mother leaves, Adler says, “You can see her resistance to letting anyone interfere. For the time being, we'll just have to draw back.” The girl enters.

Adler: What a grown-up girl! I had the idea you were much smaller. You probably always want to appear bigger than you are. You'd like to stand on your toes so that everybody would notice you. The youngest child in a family often has this feeling: she wants to be noticed. You are a good student, a capable girl. And they tell me you are an intelligent child. Don't you think you could be one of the best in your class because of what you know? If you succeeded in that, you would also get what you really want. Then everybody would respect you and like you. Don't you want to try it? Do you think you can do it?

The girl is silent.
Adler: You could become one of the best students. What do you say to that? Wouldn't that be nice?

Adler: It isn't easy, but I think you can do it. Come back in a month. In the meantime, I'll find out whether you have succeeded, or whether you persist in being the center of attention in your class.

After she leaves, Adler continues his lecture: She's a sensitive girl. She could have cried quite easily. It is a good idea to have a child appear in front of a group of people. This signifies that her difficulties are not a private matter, since strangers are also interested in them. It may help awaken her social interest. Also, I always tell them, “I will find out how you're doing.” This is not a threat. I want the child to have the certainty that someone is waiting to see the results. In our method there is an artistic aspect which cannot be understood scientifically. If I touch the right spot, the child will understand me; and this “being in a community” is a major factor.

In Ch V: The Alleged Crises of Puberty, Adler addresses the case report of a fourteen-year-old girl who started a number of sexual relationships, disappeared from home for ten days, and was found near her parents' house. She is the middle child of three in a poor family. The oldest, a boy, was sick for a long time; the father was sick at the same time. So the mother had little time for the girl. Then, after they both got well, the mother had a third child, another girl. By this time, the middle child was feeling emotionally neglected, “lacking the warmth of mother love.” She got little from the father who was a strict disciplinarian.

By good fortune, she had a teacher whom she liked very much. “She blossomed and became one of the best students in the class.” But when she was fourteen, she had to move on to high school, and the trouble began. Her new teacher did not understand her and treated her harshly. She received bad grades; she began to skip school. When the teacher investigated and found she was hanging around with boys, she was expelled. (Adler: This is the worst thing that could be done to her. Her success at school is over and she feels neglected at home. What is left for her? The art of IP consists in identifying oneself with the situation in which this girl finds herself: “What would I do if I were a fourteen-yearold girl who wanted to be appreciated, but found no appreciation at home?” There is only one answer: to seek this appreciation from the other sex. Knowing that she is intelligent, we can predict what will happen now: she will not get from the other sex the appreciation she is looking for. She will see herself as an object, the plaything of men. If we continue to identify with her: “What is to be done now?” There is only suicide.)
There are a few letters announcing her suicide, and it might have happened if a fortunate circumstance had not kept her from it; also, she knew her parents would forgive her. They took her back and started showing her some appreciation. Her mother even went to a counseling center.

(Adler: I would like to comment on the psychology of puberty. It is commonly regarded as though “the devil has taken possession” and the nature of the individual child changes. Neither one of these ideas is accurate. Puberty means more freedom, more possibilities, and greater attraction for the other sex, but children want to prove they are no longer children, so they go too far. Puberty is not a disease; it only shows what had been there before. Nothing changes. People are not led into error by facts, but by their misinterpretation of the facts. This girl created a cause: withheld affection suddenly became a cause. If she is cured, there is no longer any cause.

It is not the facts which count, but the opinion we have of them. IP involves seeking out the possibilities of error and reducing them to a minimum of treatment. The conclusion of two human beings may be fundamentally different. We cannot ignore that facts are misunderstood and misinterpreted by a great many people.)

In Chapter VI: The Only Child, Adler discusses the difficulties of a nine-year-old boy in the presence of the teacher and parents. It begins with the teacher's report.

The teacher: The boy is in fourth grade with both sexes, and I have had him for two years. An only child, both his parents work, so he stays with his grandmother. He does not obey her. Although his hearing is impaired, he has a good memory for figures. His penmanship is poor. He's very talkative, disorderly, and bothers the other students.

Reprimands and punishments don't work; he just cries and promises to be good, but starts the same behavior again. He uses his inkwell as a spittoon, and breaks all the inkwell tops. I have tried kindness and severity both. Nothing works. He always tries to attract attention in one way or another.
Most recently, he stole twenty shillings from another boy. His mother was very upset, and recalled that small amounts of money go missing at home. I have often noticed this at school, too. When the child is faced with proof of his lies, his face goes so blank that one gets the impression he is mentally retarded (which he is not). In the principal's office, the mother cried, saying her husband would kill him. When the boy was sent back to class, he played tricks and amused all the students.

Adler: (addressing the teacher) We hear the same refrain in all the details. The boy is disorderly; probably someone at home puts his things in order. At school, he works slowly, and makes himself conspicuous to gain attention. His style of life is that of a pampered child. He has been staying with his grandmother, where he lacks many things his mother gave him. So he is dissatisfied and tries to enrich himself. Stealing is a compensation to replace what he has lost. He wants to make himself look bigger.

We must agree on how we can influence the mother. We should also see to it that the boy makes progress at school, and we must stimulate his courage. I advise you to acquire a skill in recognizing what I call the radius of action. In problem children this radius of action is always narrowed. We must try to enlarge it. This is possible only when he has more courage, when he believes that he, too, can achieve something. This would give him the chance to change his circle of action completely. In the tight corner where he is now, nothing is left to him but to enrich himself secretly, and to use lying to prevent the loss of his status and esteem.

The teacher: He is not disliked in class. He has never failed a grade. He is a slow student, but he learns rather well.

Adler: We are trying to find out why he is not satisfied at school. One of the main reasons must be that he always wants to be the center of attention. He is concerned only with himself and tries to get everything he wants in a sly way, by using his charm. He has been conditioned for this by the attitude of his mother, who has always pampered him.

Adler: (addressing the parents) I would like to talk to your boy. It is possible to get rid of his bad habits. Haven't you found that he is looking for affection? He is always finding something so that he can be with you. How does he do his homework?
The father: If somebody is standing over him, he does it very well. He prefers the company of grown-ups; they are more friendly to him. He is a little afraid of me because I am very nervous.

Adler: Be gentle with him, and take walks with him when your wife isn't along so that he will form a friendship with you and will do what you want out of love and friendship, and not out of fear.

The mother: When he's dressing, I have to keep him at it until he's ready.

Adler: (addressing both parents) It isn't necessary to keep after him. The important thing is to make him independent, gradually and very gently, so that he will take even more interest in school and will be able to make a place for himself there. That will keep him out of the kind of trouble he has been in. Don't threaten him, and don't talk to him about this matter any more.

The boy enters for a very brief interview, then leaves. Adler concludes his remarks: One should think in terms of encouraging him. He should not be pressured; you must have patience with him. Perhaps he should be told, “I can see that everything will be all right. I know that you are going to be one of the best students again.” He has always wanted the teacher to pay attention to him. If he behaves badly again, I would tell him in a humorous way, “It isn't even worth your trouble. We are all interested in you.” A remark of this kind might impress him. How it should be made depends on the individual personality. I would perhaps do it in such a “slightly humorous” way.

In Chapter VII: The Discouraged Youngest Child, Adler reads and comments on the case of a fourteen-year-old boy. (Adler: Fourteen is the age of puberty. The major factor during puberty is that the child has an urge to demonstrate that he is an adult and no longer a child. If I try to prove that I am no longer a child, I will always go too far.)

Emil is the youngest of six children; the others range in age from seventeen to twenty-six. At primary school, he was among the best students, but since he started secondary school he has dropped behind, and is now threatened with expulsion. (Adler: This is the typical victorious striving of the youngest as long as he is in a favorable situation. But if the situation changes, then we see that he has not been adequately prepared.)

He had to repeat a year of school, and since then he has progressed only with great difficulty. (Adler: Now he is running into difficulties and he no longer makes progress.) Secondary school seems especially detestable to him because one of his former schoolmates from primary school, who didn't do particularly well there, has managed not to repeat a year and is now a year ahead of him. (Adler: The youngest child cannot bear it when someone gets ahead of him; he has fought against many difficulties.) He complains of the bad treatment he gets at school and blames his teacher, who he says does not like him. (Adler: If one merely ceases to pamper him, he immediately shows his bad temper.)

He is nervous, irritable, very excitable, and generally disobedient. According to his mother, he is a good boy and knows how to win over his family with his good nature and his endearments. (Adler: You will often find spoiled children who are very skillful at winning over others. They have a special kind of charm.) When he sees his mother crying or suffering, he will do anything for her. (Adler: Here he is the one who gives, since he has already achieved his goal: namely, to tyrannize and dominate his mother.)

He has to be compelled to eat. (Adler: A common symptom in pampered children is that they make trouble about eating.) In general he does not follow orders that are given to him. He often stays in bed until nine o'clock and is late to school. An investigation made by the school indicates that the entire family is probably responsible for the child's carelessness. They all stay in bed until noon and the whole family lies.

Most teachers agree that the boy is a liar, inattentive, lazy, and sly. (Adler: This is harsh, even if it is accurate. The boy seems to feel that all his teachers are his enemies.) But they are all convinced that the boy is not stupid, and that he could meet the school's requirements if he were in a better situation. (Adler: As soon as this boy who always wants to be the leader encounters a difficult situation, he can no longer meet the school's requirements. We find here the character traits of the fighter opposing a superior force.)

He does inadequate work mostly in mathematics, history, geography, and religion. (Adler: We are convinced that the boy is intelligent. We must find someone who can win him over; someone who will encourage him and develop his interest in his schoolmates and his subjects. One could tell him that everybody has difficulties and that one must be strong in the face of these difficulties. But only a person in whom the boy has confidence can succeed here. It is likely that a man would do better because the boy will regard a woman in the same way as he does his mother. The poor school work he is doing now can be attributed to his feeling of antagonism against the school.)

Chapter VIII: Mentally Retarded or Problem Child? begins with Adler's general comment: “It is very important for us that we establish a clear picture of a particular case even before seeing the mother or the child. I shall read to you this case history, and you will see how I endeavor to draw conclusions from every bit of information.

When the five-year-old boy entered kindergarten, he was neglected, and physically and mentally retarded. (Adler: We can deduce from this that no one gave him any attention. It is essential to mental development that a child be closely associated with someone so he can exercise his mind.) He was undernourished, unkempt, poorly clothed, and had no shoes, although it was almost winter. (Adler: This child apparently came from a very poor family, a bad situation.) Also, he was backward mentally, and could scarcely talk. (Adler: A child can develop his use of language only in a social relationship. If this relationship is lacking, he cannot develop his speech. We should ask ourselves whether the child is not perhaps mentally retarded. This is only a hypothesis, and we should be cautious in our investigations, because if we put forth such a diagnosis, the fate of the child will be sealed. To call a child retarded when in fact he is not, is an unpardonable mistake.)

He attacked the other children, but was always afraid of being attacked by them. He required help at mealtime, and always waited for someone to feed him. (Adler: It is usually pampered children who have difficulties with eating.) But he often refused food, although he was hungry. (Adler: The child behaves as though he were in enemy territory.)

He is a legitimate child. He was very slow in learning to walk and to talk; and up to the present has not learned to speak correctly. (Adler: We must consider organic defects. Perhaps he suffered from rickets, and perhaps his teething was delayed, which is part of the same illness.) He wets his bed constantly. (Adler: This indicates he wants to make trouble for someone and tried to get attention by being bad.) He suffered badly from rickets, and was very backward mentally. (Adler: This is a confirmation.)

He was not sociable, and he did not get along with anyone. (Adler: This is true for the pampered child as well as the hated child.) He tortures animals and human beings. (Adler: This can also be found in both types. They want to demonstrate their power.) He always wanted to be first. (Adler: The opinion that originally he was a pampered child has been confirmed. His parents were perhaps in a better situation previously, and it changed. Since then he has lacked love and warmth.)

Now he goes to kindergarten willingly, and he tries to see that he always has the handkerchief I gave him as a present. (Adler: He is now beginning to adapt – a sign which enable us to conclude that he already has a relationship with the kindergarten teacher. We observe that she has been able to win him over, and to recreate the agreeable situation in which he was pampered.) Once he starts a job, he sees it through to the end. And if he is praised for it, he is more than ready to start all over again. (Adler: Here is the lever which can direct this boy. In the beginning he works because it opens up a situation in which he is praised and like. Rather than to praise him immediately, one should tell him, “If you do it this way, it will be very good.”)

His achievements are in the physical area. Normal and rhythmic gymnastics are his favorite activities, and he does brilliantly in them. (Adler: The fact that he masters systematic movements in gymnastics and achieves top results, indicates the kind of coordination which is not possessed by a retarded child. I do not feel that I am entitled to draw any conclusions yet.)

The chapter ends. Adler has demonstrated the accuracy of his speculations, but in the face of conflicting information, he declines to draw any final conclusions.

In Chapter IX: Misdirected Ambition: The Youngest of Five Children, a teacher has given Adler the following case history. The girl is nine years old, in the fourth grade, and the youngest of five children. She was especially pampered by her parents and siblings. As school, she does impeccable work, has a lively imagination and good penmanship, and expresses herself well. She faces her work with courage and shows considerable skill in physical education.

But she finds ways to make herself constantly noticed, with chattering, an arrogant attitude, quarreling, and wildness. She interrupts other children, and leaves her seat to inspect their mistakes. She pulls their hair and threatens to beat them when school is out. She likes to play tricks. She told me she had let a bird out of a cage that the landlord had put in the courtyard, claiming that she felt sorry for the bird. She also pulled down the shutters on the butcher's shop. Her mother asked me to be very severe with the girl, who wears her out at home.

Adler: In this report, the central point of the child's development is emphasized with great precision. This little girl shows an especially marked tendency toward misdirected self-assertion. As the youngest child, she wants to surpass all the others. I would like to repeat those things that strike me as her line of movement.

She strives to be more than anybody else. As school, she has achieved only partial success; and she tried to fill in the missing part by interrupting, by her attacks, and by making trouble for her mother. It is impossible to change this child by beatings and punishment. I believe that her true motive in letting the bird escape was not pity, as she claimed, but rather a certain joy caused by attacking the property of another. This is the same reason she enjoys the mistakes of others; this is how she finds her superiority.

She must be made to understand the mistake she is making. She must be shown that she has an exaggerated tendency to be superior, and that when she does not succeed in achieving this in a useful way, she tries to assert herself in useless ways. But this explanation should not take the form of a reproach, which would make her struggle even more, wanting to prove that she is the strongest. She needs an outsider to give her some friendly pointers and show her what is taking place inside her. There can be no hope of a change so long as she keeps to her mistaken goal: to be at all times the first and center of attention. The best way to enlighten the child and the mother is to point out that a youngest child very often wants to be the center of attention.

Chapter X: The Rejected Child consists of Adler's comments on the school report he reads aloud. A five-year-old boy, born out of wedlock, has been living with foster parents. His older foster brother and alcoholic foster father both beat him. “During the father's drunkenness, all the intimacies of family life were enacted before the boy. This fact can be related to the mother's statement that the child had the habit of playing with his penis.” He also tortures small animals: flies, bugs, and worms. (Adler: The fact that he tortures animals shows that he has a hostile attitude toward the weak. He looks upon the world as hostile toward him.) Although he is physically neglected, he shows no organic abnormalities. He had been living with his own mother for a while, but when she had to be hospitalized, he went back into foster care. She makes it clear that she does not like him. (Adler: A rejected child: illegitimate.)

The mother has told me, “Be severe with him. I punish him, too. You have to speak roughly to him or he won't obey. He's used to it.” She seems to hold him responsible for being illegitimate. To attract attention, he makes little crying sounds, stamps his feet, moves chairs around noisily, or pounds on the table. Sometimes he throws himself on the floor and cries. (Adler: One has the impression that he wants to provoke those around him. He knows very well what will happen.) He has no social feeling. He stirs up the other children, takes their toys away, scratches and hits them. When they are asleep, he wakens them. (Adler: He behaves like an angry enemy.)

He likes to go to kindergarten. On Sundays, he asks to go back to school. The first few days he even refused to go home. (Adler: This clearly shows that he feels better at kindergarten. I have no doubt that in this way he will make progress.) When it is time to be taken home, he seems restless and troubled. He is generous. He once gave me a plum from his lunch, and shortly afterward gave me another, saying “Here is one more so you will have two.” He likes to give what he has. (Adler: Here is something which proves he is beginning to acquire a certain degree of social feeling. It requires some time before a child like this one begins to warm up. One must be patient; and it is only then that other difficulties can be overcome. I will try to make the mother understand in a friendly way that she must engender in the child the feeling that he has as much worth as the others.)

In Chapter XI: An Only Child Seeks to Play a Role, after first reading the teacher's report, Adler interviews the mother and the eleven-year-old boy. At school, the boy interferes with classroom work, quarrels with other students, brags, always wants to take the lead, and doesn't get along with anyone. An only child, at home he frequently lies to his mother and has stolen some change from her. She punishes and spanks him. But she has also promised him a little pocket money every week, which pleased him. He has expressed a desire to be a ship captain when he grows up, and once remarked, “I would very much enjoy ruling a whole ship.”

Adler (to the mother): The fact that he stole some change is not so very serious, and you shouldn't talk to him about it. It was a very good idea to give him the pocket money. If he knows he can count on this allowance, he will calm down. Personally, I would try not to spank him at all. It would be advisable for you to change and even give up the whole process of punishment. Let him work by himself, see that he becomes independent. (The mother leaves.)

Adler (to the boy): What would you like to be later in life?
The boy: Captain on an ocean liner.
Adler: Why do you like that profession so much? What is it that you like so much about it?
The boy: That you can order others around.
Adler: Where do you order around now? Do you do it with your mother or in school?
The boy: I do order the children around.

Adler: If you want to be a captain, you have to give intelligent orders so that everybody will say you are doing the right thing. But at school, with the other children, you aren't the captain, and it doesn't fit that you give orders there. I don't understand why you want to give orders at school. Because of that, you probably don't have any friends. I would like you to have some friends. Wouldn't you like to go to the child care center? Perhaps your mother will let you learn gymnastics, too. People can learn anything. . . . What are you going to do with the money you are saving?

The boy: If some day I am in need, I'll have something. Adler: Are you afraid that you might be in need? That you might fall down? If you are a hard worker, that's the best way to avoid poverty. You know, having money isn't the most important kind of security. Do you like to brag, too?

The boy: Yes.

Adler: You should get rid of that habit. If a person wants to be a captain, he shouldn't lie. If you learn well and become a decent man, you can become anything you want. If you want to be a captain, you have to build a good foundation. Come back in a month and tell me if you have made some friends, if you have stopped interfering with the teacher's work in the classroom, and if you still want to give orders.

Chapter XII: The Oldest Child Dethroned consists of Adler's comments on the report from a father of two boys, aged seven and nine, who is concerned about the progress of his older son. (Adler: In this case the older boy was the only child for two years. As such, he was probably the center of attention and pampered. Suddenly a second child appears, and the situation changes completely. Engraved on his soul is the notion, “Suddenly someone comes and takes everything from me.”) In my opinion the older boy is slow in learning. (Adler: This is the hesitant attitude. We can deduce from this that the boy believes he cannot make any progress; he has lost his courage. He knows that he can't get ahead on the useful side of life. His striving for recognition will be manifested on the useless side. In a twisted way, he has achieved what he always wanted: to attract more attention, to have others spend more of their time on him. Laziness indicates a low opinion of oneself. It also contains the striving to gain recognition. Lazy children are usually the center of attention. The least bit of good work he does is immediately praised. If he does not do well, he is told, “If you weren't lazy, you could be the best.”)

No exhortations, whether kindly or severe, have so far yielded any results. (Adler: The boy does not know what is happening inside him. He is acting in accordance with his own style of life. He is like a man in a trap. Certain children will take thrashings willingly, because they can then experience the triumph of having irritated their fathers.)

The saddest thing in the lives of both children is that they spend the day in a children's home. The headmistress has a particular animosity against my oldest child, since she is an ardent religionist and we do not belong to any church. She told me that he lied, and was sly and lazy, and that this was because he had been reared outside the church. (Adler: These attitudes are brought about by his lack of hope. He can be improved only if he is encouraged.)

To tell the truth, I myself have found that he has all these bad character traits, whereas the younger boy has no faults, and people say only good things about him. (Adler: All these things show that the older boy has been pushed into the background by his younger brother. The more friendship and love he loses, the more discouraged he becomes. The younger boy, who is at present the victor, is aware that he is in a pleasant situation, and he has no need to attract unfavorable attention.)

Chapter XIII: Lying: A Way of Gaining Recognition focuses on the report written by a mother who is already somewhat familiar with IP. She is concerned about her nine-year-old son who is a “problem child.” He is restless and doesn't learn anything in school. (Adler: The boy does not feel equal to the requirements of school, and hence makes no effort there.) However, he isn't stupid, and can surprise people with his good judgment. (Adler: He has the ability to take on other problems. But we cannot count him among the courageous children. We know that such children have little interest in others, but a great deal in themselves.)

He remembers everything adults say. (Adler: Here we see clearly his striving for recognition – his desire to be big.) And he can repeat it accurately, at just the right time. But he is cowardly. He is afraid of everything, and he runs away from any kind of danger. (Adler: He has no self-confidence whatsoever. We may assume that the mother plays an important role. He is not independent; he does not try to solve his own problems. Moreover, he has no intention of facing them, since so far he has been used to having his mother stand behind him. He is a pampered child.) He knows very well that cowardice is something ugly, and now he makes up the worst kind of lies. (Adler: He is urged on to make a grand appearance, to be recognized and esteemed. Since we know he likes to listen to what adults say, in his lies he will play the hero.)

He always wants to play the role of hero. He wants to be the person everybody admires and who can do everything. If he says, “Today at school nobody knew anything but me,” I am certain that things went badly at school. And this is confirmed regularly. (Adler: I would like to clarify his mode of compensating. He seems to compensate in his imagination. He does not become active in his compensation. This is another example of being cowardly. He is used to being helped by his mother who does everything for him.)

I don't punish him. I love him with all my heart. But he lies more and he is afraid his lies will be discovered. (Adler: He became a liar in order to represent something. He cannot give up his lying and run the risk of appearing to be a “zero” – a negligible quantity. What he will do in fact is to have recourse to more subtle lies.) My husband says I spoil him. (Adler: Merely to say that the child is pampered does not mean that anything has yet been accomplished. People don't know what to do with this word.)

He is not bad. On the contrary he is good-hearted. He even gives his belongings to other children for no other reason than to gain their favor. (Adler: You can see that this kindness involves a streak of egotism. He tries to bribe other children in order to be pampered by them.) Should I be severe? I don't believe this brings results. He cries, and promises everything; and then ten minutes later he has forgotten all about it. (Adler: The mother has tried to be strict, but obviously without result, since the only possible method was to make him understand the mistakes he makes in building his style of life. Practically, this means: to make him independent and autonomous; to awaken his self-confidence. So long as this is not done, either severity or kindness seems useless, although we prefer kindness. This boy is not prepared. It is cruel to demand something from someone for which he has not prepared.)

Highlights from Adler's concluding remarks: It is as though he were trying to stand on tiptoe. You can understand how wrong it is to hand out severe punishment for this attempt, which results from a real need. The only thing which will prove fruitful is explanation. “You don't have to run away, you don't have to resort to lies, you don't have to brag. If you really want to make an effort, you can satisfy your strivings for recognition by doing useful things, and you won't have to resort to foolish tricks.”

Chapter XIV: The Hero Role in Fantasy: A Substitute for Useful Accomplishment in Reality is based on a teacher's report about a nineyear-old boy who manifests aggressive behavior, has trouble with arithmetic, and now does remedial work in this subject. He likes these special classes very much. (Adler: Perhaps the teacher is very kind. Perhaps the child finds in these classes the conditions he demands of classroom work; namely, that he be pampered.) He likes to have special attention paid to him. He asks for help when getting dressed. He never comes to school or goes home alone. Yet he is big and well developed for his age. He has red hair. (Adler: We know that red hair exposes children to teasing which is painful to them.)

If he does a job poorly and his mother criticizes him, he becomes furious. (Adler: This means that he has been able to establish between himself and his mother a relationship which makes her dependent. He achieves this by means of his rage, or perhaps also by being spanked.) At first he seemed very depressed at school. (Adler: He was looking for a situation in which he could make others pamper him. He wanted to be the center of attention, to control things.)

He has a fertile imagination. (Adler: We can conclude from this that he is not on good terms with the inhibiting reality. He builds for himself an imaginary world in which he lives at ease. There he finds tranquility, he is powerful, he can satisfy his desire to give orders.) Sometimes his imagination runs away with him. He will tell his mother of imaginary events at school, and at the end he will say, “You know, mama, that didn't really happen. I made it up.” (Adler: Here we find a small amount of social feeling. He doesn't want to be taken for a liar. . . . The things this boy imagines and then tells about prove that he wants to stand on tip-toe and appear bigger than he is. We can conclude from this that he has a depressing feeling of inferiority, which agrees with the designation of pampered child that we gave him.)

He is afraid of the dark. (Adler: To be afraid of the dark means: someone has to stay near me.) He showed his pity one day when his sister was hurt in the head. (Adler: Here again we also see a certain amount of social feeling, and that he is capable of behaving with humanity.) If he wants something and doesn't get it, he cries until his desire is satisfied. (Adler: He knows that his tears make an impression. We find this trait in many children and adults. They believe that their tears are an invincible weapon. Also, there are people who cannot bear to see someone cry. They must either satisfy the desire of the one who cries, or else they themselves show signs of extreme agitation. Either one suffices for the person who is crying.)
He practices his hero roles in front of the mirror. He brandishes his wooden sword in front of the mirror. And when he is through, he says with satisfaction, “Now everything has been smashed.” Highlights from Adler's final comments: Here we see the same trait we have found in many children. They train themselves in a particular aptitude, and identify with a situation. They behave as if they were really playing the role of hero. . . . Knowing that he approached life with a pampered style, and that he assimilates everything in accordance with such a style, we should say: He is behaving in a perfectly intelligent fashion. There is no mistake in what he is doing. We say this because we can identify with him. If I were in this boy's place, I would experience exactly the same difficulties, and I would probably behave in the same way. This proves that the boy is neither retarded nor guilty. He is in a difficult situation, with no way out.

We must show him that a person who always tries to be the center of attention will always be exposed to being hurt. He must seek satisfaction on the useful side of life. . . . Also, he should consider the attacks he undergoes because of his red hair as a sign of stupidity on the part of the one who launches them. . . . The most important thing is to make the boy independent, and to encourage him.

In Chapter XV: The Trouble-Makers, Adler presents the cases of two boys who are good friends, and make trouble by calling attention to themselves at any cost. They have to be in separate classrooms because together they make teaching impossible. G is eight years old and S is seven.

The son of an alcoholic, G has three older brothers and one younger brother. There is a great deal of quarreling and fighting at home. The mother cannot do anything to influence G, as he is his father's favorite and the father defends him against everyone. The principal means of education in the home are promises of money and monetary rewards. G's aptitudes are below average, he doesn't work hard, rarely turns in assignments, and has had to repeat a year of school. The only subjects he participates in voluntarily are drawing and penmanship, but horses are his real interest.

He does everything possible to draw attention to himself at school, such as: shouting and fighting, hitting and kicking classmates and tearing up their clothes, singing in class, using vulgar language, and commenting on what other children say. He is brutal toward both human beings and animals.

Adler's comments: This boy does not cooperate at school. If we consider only his behavior, his movements, and his attitude toward the demands of school, we can say that he is in the process of excluding and rejecting all demands. The reason for this is that he does not believe that he can accomplish anything. This motive strikes me as sufficient. Because if I had to identify with this boy and imagine that I could never succeed at anything, but that I was nonetheless compelled to go to school, I would act the same way. Now if we could suddenly capture this boy's attention and explain to him that he could do everything very well, that he is wrong in believing he is good only for the stable and not for school, and if we could come to his aid personally and help him succeed, we might be able to kindle his interest in school.

The only way he could be helped would be by putting him in care of someone who could give him attention. I am thinking of the function of a kindly older brother who could win the boy over and instill some courage in him.

In the case of seven-year-old S, up to the time he entered school, his father doted on him. He behaved badly. He would run away and not come home until late at night, and the mother couldn't do anything with him. Last year, a little girl was born, provoking the boy's jealousy. When the mother threatens to put him in a corrective institution, he says he would rather be there than at home.

The parents are very strict about seeing that he does his assignments. His aptitudes are above average, but he is a careless worker who also finds a variety of ways to disrupt the classroom. He interrupts the teacher, hits other students, throws books at them or hits them in the face with his gym shoes. Also, he lies down on his desk, throws chestnuts in the classroom, whistles and sings, and comments on what others say. He likes to brag, and accuses schoolmates of the wrongs he has committed.

Feeling that the boy was badly in need of love, the teacher suggested to the mother that she try to improve things by showing her son more affection, rather than the spankings she gives him at present. She replied that at her house, things were not done that way.
At school, they have tried everything to change these two boys, with varying success and no permanent improvement. “One can sometimes reason with S, but G merely finds it amusing.”

Adler's comments: S is more pampered by the father than by the mother. His relationship with his mother is strained, since she has not been able to win him over. On the basis of her reply to the teacher's suggestion that she show the child more love instead of hitting him, we may suppose that the woman is hard and cold. More serious things may have happened.

His intelligence does not seem to be the problem. His behavior at school can be explained from another point of view. He longs for affection. He wants to be pampered. He has experienced what it is to be the center of attention. For six years he was an only child, indulged by everyone, as is always the case with an only child. These pampered children in general are not courageous; they prefer to shine in an easier situation. By comparison with his former situation, this boy feels frustrated both at home and at school.

He should be made to understand that it is not always necessary to be the center of attention, and that he is not being slighted when people pay attention to someone else. If he wants always to be the center of attention, he must cooperate. If a stranger tells him that, he will think about it. It makes more of an impression. If we make school unpleasant for him by punishment, it is possible that he will not go to school any more.

It requires some experience to be able to talk to parents or children. It is not merely a question of explaining things in simple words: It is an artistic, dramatic talk we face here. As psychologist and educator, we find ourselves cast in a certain role, with a definite purpose in mind. You cannot compare this with anything else. We must create an impression, an impression we otherwise find only in art. It is very effective both on adults and children.

In Chapter XVI: The Struggle for the Lost Paradise, Adler reads and comments on the case history of a five-year-old boy who is difficult to handle. He is hyperactive, likes to break things, and has outbursts of rage. He climbs up on the best table in his dirty shoes, plunges his hand into a cake and then stuffs his mouth with it, pushes guests out of their chairs and sits in their place. He has fits of anger when he doesn't get what he wants. When the mother slaps him, he laughs and is quiet for a few minutes. The mother and father are always exhausted, but the boy never is.

Adler: If he misses being the center of attention so much, it indicates that he has been there in the past, and that he wants to restore this situation. What event aggravated him so much? Perhaps a younger child was born.

He finds a way to fight and cause trouble, proving that he doesn't like others. Here we see a lack of social feeling. It appears that the mother raised him only for herself. It is very important how we interpret these relationships. We can speak of understanding when we know that we are dealing here with only a part of the whole. This is not a physiological process. To understand means to grasp the relationship of all things.

Chapter XVII: Stealing Because of Lost Affection focuses on a twelve-year-old boy whose father was a traveling salesman. (Adler: This fact is important. We have often found that the mother, due to the father's frequent absences, cannot fulfill her second function; namely, to guide the child's social interest toward other people, and particularly toward the father. This is generally true when the father is seldom at home.) The boy used to be obedient, quiet, and sweet . . . (Adler: Which means to us that he was very attached to his mother.) . . . attached by a great love to his mother, and even more to his father, who was gentle and good. Soon, the family moved and the father started a small business for the mother and one of his younger brothers. (Adler: Since the mother was undertaking a new occupation, the situation deteriorated for the child, because the mother now no longer had so much time to pamper him and make him the center of attention.)

He stole neckties from his parents' shop . . . (Adler: The child probably had the feeling that he had been robbed of something. The father travels, the mother is at the store, and the boy has no one to care for him. This gives him the feeling of being deprived.) . . . in order to give them to the apprentice painter who lived in the building. He also store roses from a nearby park, either to bring them home, or to give them to a very pretty aunt whom he loved very much. (Adler: Like many children who feel they have been robbed of something, he has begun to bribe others with gifts to win their love and affection. This is one of the commonest motives for theft among children.)
The following year the father had to start serving the prison term to which he had been sentenced for his fraudulent bankruptcy. No one ever talked to the boy about this event. He regarded it as a deep humiliation. Nonetheless, he made a good start at another school. (Adler: Our only apprehension is: What will happen if he cannot secure for himself, at school, a situation wherein he is appreciated?)

The father was brought home seriously ill. At the age of forty, he had had a stroke and become paralyzed on the left side of his body. The physical breakdown of this man, who up to that time had been perfectly healthy, must certainly have been due to the nervous strain of his bankruptcy, and his regrets about not being able to care for his family. (Adler: Here the report ends, and we are left with our speculations. If the boy feels at ease at school, he will overcome his difficulties. We know that he has a style of life manifested by his need to find someone to whom he can be very close. If he finds a favorable situation in which someone gives him time and attention, he may very well go through life without giving anyone grounds for reproval. . . . I am not displeased at having had to exert myself on a fragmentary report and to have tested on our knowledge on it. The same thing holds true in life, when we meet individuals about whom we have only fragmentary knowledge so that we must divine the rest.)

Chapter XVIII: The Bed-Wetter is about twelve-year-old Emil who suffers from enuresis. (Adler: The boy expresses himself through his enuresis. It is just as though he were speaking “bladder language.” Here the language means, “I am not far enough advanced yet. I still have to be watched over.” The child gives his mother extra work. An enuretic child is a type of pampered child. When we see such an effort to be pampered even more, we know that the boy has been having some difficulty in maintaining his contact. He has the impression that he is not getting enough love. He probably has a younger brother or sister. We must find out why he is less pampered now than before. He has a fictitious goal: to be pampered, to have someone at his beck and call. We must change this goal and show him another one, so that he can make himself useful.)

He often loses control of his bowels. (Adler: He is struggling under conditions of complete discouragement.) He is an illegitimate child. His father was killed in the war, and his mother remarried. Two children have been born of this second marriage: a boy, eight years old and a girl of six. (Adler: Previously, I was talking about an accusation; our interpretation was accurate. Even when children are well treated, they feel these details distinctly. When there are other children, they feel that the latter are given more attention and care.)

The stepfather was very severe with him at first. During most of his childhood, the boy has been far from home, either at his aunt's house or at the orphan's home. He had to repeat the first and third grades of primary school. (Adler: This corroborates our hypothesis that he suffered from tension and was not adequately prepared. He took one more step toward hopelessness.) He has friends. (Adler: He is beginning to regain hope and look at life with more courage.) He often makes faces, in school or outside. (Adler: These grimaces, too, are again a form of expression which we may consider a language. He says, “Look at me!” He is playing a role in order to attract the attention of others, just as we find in his wetting and dirtying himself.)

Owing to the fact that his upper jaw overrides his lower one strongly, and that he almost constantly keeps his mouth open, he gives an impression of stupidity. (Adler: His stupid appearance must have contributed to his being disliked. We must encourage the boy so that he can have some success. We should propose a goal for him, making sure it is one he can achieve. If we succeed here in creating in him a friendlier attitude, he himself will make an effort to avoid annoying others.)

Dr. A. (to the mother): We would like to talk to you about your boy How is he doing at school?
The mother: He has been trying hard lately.
Dr. A.: Has he already said what he would like to be in life?
The mother: He'd like to be an electrician.
Dr. A.: He already has ambition? Does he make himself useful around the house?
The mother: Yes.

Dr. A.: Where does he sleep? The mother: He sleeps in my room. I think my son is afraid of my second husband, and he is afraid of everything.

Dr. A.: Couldn't you convince your husband that he should behave so that the child will no longer be afraid of him? He is a nice boy, and he needs to be treated with tenderness and kindness. Something good can be made out of him. . . . What position does he sleep in at night?

The mother: He sleeps on his stomach.
Dr. A.: He is turning away from life and hiding.
The mother: He puts the covers over his head. Ever since he came back from the orphans' home, he has been afraid.

Dr.A.: Try not to criticize him or scold him. I would tell him, “You are a capable boy.” I would praise him and show him that I love him. A child like this needs proof of affection. (The mother leaves.)

Dr.A. (to the boy): Hello, there! How are you doing at school? What would you like to become?
Emil: A mechanic.
Dr. A.: How is your drawing?
Emil: Pretty good.

Dr. A.: You can become a good mechanic, but you must have courage. You must not be afraid. Do you want to learn how not to be afraid? You are already a big boy; you're not a baby any more. Even when you get a bad mark, you shouldn't be afraid. I had bad grades once, too. But then I went at my lessons harder, and things went better. You must try to make progress. Come back in a month and tell me how you are, if you have more courage. Try it, then tell me if you have been able to do it. (Emil leaves.)

Adler: For the time being, all we can do is encourage him. If we talk to him about his faults, we won't encourage him. If he comes back in a month and we can see that he is making progress, then we can go into the question of his faults.

Chapter XIX: Enuresis: A Means of Attachment focuses on another twelve-year-old boy suffering from enuresis. (Adler: This is a rebellious child. Probably he was pampered at one time and something has changed that favorable situation.) He often wets himself in the daytime. (Adler: He is not content to disturb others at night, but does it in the daytime as well.) When his mother is with him, or when he is at school, he never wets himself. (Adler: This indicates that his enuresis is motivated by psychic factors. When his mother is near him, he does not have to try to attract her to him. It is likely that he also feels at ease at school.)

The mother is divorced. He lives with his grandparents. (Adler: We must be remember that grandparents usually pamper their grandchildren. However, if the mother spoils the child, the grandmother reproaches her for it. But if the mother does not spoil the child, the grandmother does.) The boy used to sleep in his parents' bedroom. (Adler: This proves that he was spoiled at one time either because he was able to get close to his mother through his own efforts, or because the parents always wanted to have him with them.) Now he sleeps alone. (Adler: This fact is important. If he were sleeping in his mother's bed, he would not wet himself.) He is very pampered by his grandparents.

When he was ten years old, he entered the third grade in the special remedial school. Now he is in the fourth grade of that school. (Adler: Remedial school represents a further accentuation of inferiority. Only if the boy is mentally deficient will he not notice that he is among backward children.) He does good work at school. If the teacher calls on other students, he answers aloud. (Adler: We can conclude from this that he is an intelligent boy. This pampered child would like to put himself into the foreground. His bed-wetting is another means of achieving this.) Even when he is playing with the other children, he must always play the leading role. (Adler: He has his own life style, something you will not find in retarded children. He does not belong in the remedial school.)

He is very fond of playing the clown. (Adler: This is a frequent manifestation in children with a strong feeling of inferiority, who want to be the center of attention. We often find three coordinated manifestations in such children: enuresis, the need to interrupt others, and clowning. A person who has confidence in himself does not behave like this.) His right leg is stiff. But he likes gymnastics very much, and he has been able to get permission to take part in exercises, as far as his leg allows him to. (Adler: This confirms once again a fundamental thesis of IP; namely, that the best results are obtained by a special interest provoked by an organic inferiority. . . . We must try to make the child more independent and more courageous; and by means of supplementary lessons, he must be brought up to the point where he is capable of going to regular school again. As soon as he begins to succeed, and in proportion as he does so, his bad habits will cease to have a reason for being. We must show him a better way.)

In Chapter XX: The Child with Brilliant Siblings, Adler reads and comments on a case report probably written by the parents. The subject is a seventeen-year-old boy who had many childhood diseases, including diptheria. During his convalescence, he developed nervous troubles: he shook his shoulders, rubbed his hands against his thighs, and talked with extreme rapidity. (Adler: From the manner in which this report was drawn up, we can see the relationship of the parents to us. They want to give us the impression that the child has suffered a great deal. While we may consider these symptoms as nervous troubles, they are not the familiar results of diptheria. We must introduce our principal theme: What effects does this behavior have on others? This is not the most courageous way of putting oneself at the center of attention.)

The boy's father also suffered from timidity when he was a child, but to a lesser extent. (Adler: Here we can read between the lines that the child also suffers from timidity. His timidity means “staying on the sidelines,” being reluctant to join in with others. On the basis of this movement you can see what is involved here: he is a child who believes himself capable of nothing.) The other children do not suffer from this timidity. (Adler: When we hear that the other children are not so timid, we can assume that they do not have such a marked feeling of inferiority.)

The oldest boy is finishing his studies at the university. (Adler: We shall try to find out whether this comment means: “This boy couldn't go that far.” If this is what he has been made to feel, we shall have the necessary information to establish why he feels so inferior.) The youngest boy is especially gifted. Two years ago, at the age of fifteen, he died suddenly of meningitis. (Adler: Now we have some information on the age of our subject: he is more than seventeen years old. He is old enough so that the question of college has come up already. But in this report we find that the presentation has the aim of persuading us that the boy is backward and cannot be compared to the other two.

The boy did not do very good work at school. (Adler: This boy is not mentally deficient. Everything that happens is a result of his style of life. There is obviously intelligence and reason in his behavior.) He has had to repeat a year of school on two occasions. (Adler: This setback probably didn't do much to encourage him. In general, we find that being left back does damage to the child in the long run.) He was allowed to stay in school until the age of sixteen, which permitted him to finish all three years of trade school. (Adler: He is a second child. He tries in every way to secure for himself the right of seniority. There is only one way for him to dethrone an older brother who is so capable: to come into closer contact with his parents to win them over to his side by means which are essentially useless. The second child has this character trait: he presses forward as if in a race. Can we find signs of such a race here? The boy speaks very rapidly. He wants to get ahead of others by means of speech.)

When he finished school, he became an apprentice pastry-cook. (Adler: Once again we see the wide gap. You only have to understand what it means to have a brother who is a college student while you are an apprentice pastry-cook.) He suffers terrible anxiety if he is faced with difficult problems. (Adler: You can see how he is weighed down by his feeling of inferiority and his discouragement.)

Recently the boy passed his apprentice's examination brilliantly. But his parents are very apprehensive about the future. They are convinced that the boy cannot cope with the demands of his trade and the work it requires. (Adler: Despite the fact that he passed the apprentice's examination with honors. There are certainly not many parents who would have apprehensions in such a case. This boy seems always to have been the object of his parents' worries. It is probably the very attitude which contributed to the boy's discouragement. They never believed he was capable of anything. He should have been encouraged. The best way to do this would be to enlighten him as to his errors.)

Adler's final comments: This boy must realize that he is not making progress in life because he was very pampered. He must realize himself that he approaches everything with the question: What will this bring me? That he is seeking warmth and appreciation, and help from others. It is not so very difficult to make a person understand this. If we go at it with the proper psychological tact and grasp the problem with the artist's intuition, we will succeed.

Someone must explain to him that he can succeed in everything, provided he trains himself adequately. The mother and father must not persist in saying, “You will never succeed at anything.” He can be encouraged to the point where he will be able to “beat” his brother. He who overcomes difficulties will win.

Chapter XXI: How I Talk to Parents consists of Adler's suggestions for how educators and mental health professionals can talk to parents and children most effectively. He emphasizes the importance of first winning them over emotionally, so they will listen. Dogmatic lectures are not appropriate.

“The first thing is to win the confidence of the parents. We must not antagonize them. When parents come to us for consultation, it is because they feel responsible. They expect to be criticized. Above all, we must relieve them of this fear. Usually I tell parents, 'It seems to me that you are on the right track,' even when I am convinced of the contrary. I recommend the use of 'perhaps,' or 'I think that would work very well.' We are not in a position to treat the parents, too. It is impossible to modify a deeply-rooted system with a few words.”

With the children, we must introduce them to a new atmosphere “where they may realize that they are not considered to be hopelessly lost.” But helping them correct their error in giving up hope is only the beginning. We must uncover the style of life which is causing the difficulties, and this is no easy task. “It is an art to win someone over, to awaken certain feelings in him, to induce him to listen, and understand what is said to him. This art is indispensable when working with children. Those who have good contact with people will have an easier task, since in their daily dealings with people they have learned how to make themselves understood. This is the primary task of the counselor in IP.”

In Chapter XXII: The Task of the Kindergarten , Adler addresses kindergarten teachers. Their task is a crucial one because the child's style of life is fixed by the first four or five years. “It was formerly believed that a child's behavior varied in accordance with situations and different ages. A green fruit differs in appearance from a ripe fruit. However, an expert can tell what it will become. This unripe fruit is more than an unfolding entity. It represents something alive, striving, with a psychic movement which tends toward an ideal form, and which will face the tasks of life from this fixed vantage point, and will have to come to terms with them.”

The kindergarten teacher's job is to help the child develop a healthy style of life, one that will enable him to solve the inevitable tasks ahead. The foundation of this healthy attitude is sociability, in the sense of an awareness of the needs of others. “We must make the child understand that a lack of sociability is the worst error that he can commit in life,” because all his difficulties, now and in the future, will flow from that deficiency.

The depth of the child's feeling of connectedness with others will be reflected in every aspect of his growth and learning. Speech is one example. “The voice is the link between one human being and another. If this link is not completely developed, speech will not develop well.” The poverty or richness of an individual's vocabulary reflects the poverty or richness of his social relationships. Even intelligence is linked to social interest. “Intelligence is not a private affair. It has general validity. It cannot be fashioned according to a personal point of view. Problem children have private ideas which we do not consider reasonable. They do not correspond to common sense,” as in private logic.

“Kindergarten is an extension of the family. It must accomplish and correct those things which have not been done in the family, owing to poor understanding or old traditions.” Adler then describes specific strategies for the teacher to use with hated or pampered children; the ones who are weak, sickly, or have organic deficiencies; the mentally deficient; and the left-handed. He also explains the importance of knowing each child's position of birth in the family, and the possible pitfalls of each position.

Fighting with children is futile, because “they are always the stronger ones. They do not take any responsibility. And he who assumes responsibility is never the stronger one.”

He concludes with emphasizing that the most dangerous thing is if children lose hope. We must focus on building their courage in the face of difficulties, and their hope for a positive future based on social interest. Thus, Adler's philosophy of life, pedagogy,and psychology are again inseparably interconnected.

Part 2: The Pattern of Life.

The Pattern of Life (1930) includes transcriptions of Adler's case readings and demonstration interviews with adults, children, and parents, originally held at the New School of Social Research in New York City in 1929.

Ch I: A Gesture of the Whole Body focuses on a twenty-five-year old woman, Miss Flora, who for years has been subject to attacks of unconsciousness. She lives with her mother, father, two younger and two older brothers, and two young children. An only girl, the client has always had her own way and has been favored by the father. Adler begins his case study with some reflections on the concept of epilepsy, pointing out that we must be extremely careful in the diagnosis of this ailment. He presents some technical details that help to differentiate organically based epilepsy from psychologically conditioned problems.

Before reading any further in the case report, Adler suggests that as an only girl in a family of brothers, Miss Flora is most likely overindulged and very obedient, but not self-confident or independent. She probably cannot stay alone.

Then he returns to the case report: Since her first attack, she sleeps with her mother. (Adler: Here is evidence that she not only refuses to be alone, but that her first attack served to accentuate her dependence. This point leads me to believe that the so-called epilepsy is premeditated.) The patient's health had been perfectly normal. Her mother says that she is almost perfect in every way. (Adler: The mother's remark about Flora's perfection corroborates my belief that she is a sweet, obedient young woman. She is also a spoiled child and it is high time she should be made independent. Such independence would be of great advantage to her; it is, in fact, her only hope of a cure.)

While she was at school, she wanted to be a teacher, but gave up her ambition because of the extra effort that was required. (Adler: Here again we see that she lacks self-confidence and will make no effort to become independent.) Her attacks occurred at several times of tension for her. First, when Flora was eighteen, her mother went off on an overnight visit, leaving the girl alone for the first time in her life. Then, the attacks have come every month at the time of her menstrual period. The attacks have increased recently since her engagement. But she now loves a second boy.

The first boy knows nothing of his rival, and says he wants to wait until Flora is well. She says, “I would marry, if I did not have these attacks.” (Adler: Now it is a rule that two boys are less than one, and we can understand how being in love with two men defers the question of marrying one of them. Her goal in life is to escape the problem of love and she realizes her goal, not only by dividing her love interests, but by exaggerating her fainting spells to demonstrate that she is not responsible. But you must not believe that these actions are conscious or malicious. She is sick, and it is a part of her pattern of life to be unconscious of the real meaning of her attacks.)

Flora enters the room. A brief excerpt of the interview follows.
Dr. A.: Can you tell me something that you remember from your early childhood? Perhaps you can remember what you like and disliked.
Flora: I suppose I liked outdoor sports.
Dr. A.: Which sports did you like best?
Flora: Skating, sliding downhill, and climbing trees.
Dr. A.: You must have been a very brave girl.
Flora: I had to be. I had four brothers to contend with.
Dr. A.: Do you remember wishing you were a boy?
Flora: No, I don't think I ever wanted to be a boy, but I always played with boys because there were no girls to associate with.

Dr. A.: I think if you speak with your teacher who has brought in the history, she will tell you why you have become so very sensitive. You are a person who easily gets in a state of great tension, and you have these fainting spells to demonstrate your weakness. They occur only when you have been crossed or criticized. I believe that your health will be improved if you are more courageous and if you realize that you need not always contend with your brothers. There are better ways to live than always being in a position of complete powerlessness. Wouldn't you like to try another way?

Flora: Yes, of course. Do you mean that if I am courageous, I can cure my attacks?
Dr. A.: Yes.
Flora: Well, I am willing to try anything.

Ch II: Maternal Domination is about eleven-year-old Robert. The school report states that he is retarded, but Adler questions this assessment. According to the report: The boy is retarded in school; he is in the third grade and has a very low intelligence quotient. He is quiet and docile in his class. In the past he has always been slow and timid and did not learn to speak until very late. (Adler: Sometimes normal children are also slow and timid, especially if they are left-handed. Where the mental defect is profound, they do not learn to speak at all. On the other hand, some spoiled children do not talk until late. In this case, we must look for one of two patterns: either that of a retarded child, or that of a spoiled child.)

There are two older sisters, sixteen and fourteen. The parents are congenial, but the mother dominates the home. She says that the father favors the elder girl, but that the boy has been closer to her. (Adler: You see that he has a certain advantage in being the only boy and the baby of the family. I have not seen many happy marriages in which one parent or the other dominated the home. When the mother says that the boy is closer to her, she does not express herself fully. She probably might add, “I have spoiled him.”) Both girls are in high school and are very bright. (Adler: When one child in the family is very bright, we can usually look for difficulties with the other children. An overindulged child is easily discouraged, and it may be that this is the trouble with Robert. This gives us a little hope, because it is easier to discourage an intelligent child than a retarded one.) Entrance to school is gained by a competitive examination, and the record of his two sisters was held up to the boy. (Adler: This corroborates our point very satisfactorily.)
The father takes a negative attitude toward the child. He believes that the boy was born this way and will always be this way. The mother says, “He is our only boy, the baby, and it was such a blow to find our that he was not like the others.” (Adler: The father's hopelessness is discouraging, because very often a child develops according to his father's opinion of him. On this account particularly, it will be our duty to encourage the child and let him feel that there is hope for his normal development. His position in the family has been very circumscribed: on the one hand, he is too closely connected with his mother and dependent on her for support; on the other hand, he cannot compete with the two older girls, who are brighter than he is. You might compare it with three trees growing in a narrow place – if two of the trees have overcome the difficulties and grown strong, the third tree cannot grow freely.)

The boy sleeps with his face to the wall and sometimes curls up. (Adler: His sleep attitude seems to say, “I am not courageous. I do not want to see anything.” When he curls up, it means that he would like to disappear, or roll himself into a ball like a hedgehog, so as to offer no exposure to the enemy.) The father sleeps in the same room with the boy, and the mother says that she must sometimes lie down with the boy and quiet him until he falls asleep. (Adler: The latter point is important because it shows that the boy is very fearful and demands that his mother support him in his timidity. He does not want to function as an independent being, and regulates his behavior to compel his mother's attention.)

The boy began to talk at the age of five. (Adler: It is not uncommon for children whose whims have all been gratified not to talk until after the fourth year.) He learned to dress himself about a year and a half ago. He has to be constantly urged to dress himself, as he dawdles a long time. (Adler: That he did not learn to dress himself until he was ten years old is a certain sign that he has been spoiled. He is not very interested in dressing himself, because he wants his mother to help him.) He writes with his right hand, but does everything else with his left hand. (This is a very important point because it assures us that he is congenitally a lefthanded child who has been confronted and discouraged by the problems of adjusting himself to a right-handed world.)

He is very backward in reading. (Adler: It is well known that some lefthanded children are slow in reading because they tend to reverse the letters in the word. A left-handed child whose peculiarity is not recognized experiences a number of failures in school, and eventually is no longer interested, because he cannot compete in reading with righthanded children.) He scores low on intelligence tests, but is very attractive and pleasant and cooperates well in the test. (Adler: The last sentence gives us another reason for his being spoiled and shows also that he is intelligent enough to make capital of his attractiveness.)

Excerpts from Adler's final comments: I would like to explain to this child that some mistakes in his education have been made. I want to encourage him to believe that he can rise to his sisters' level, and explain to him that he has not succeeded because he has been too dependent on his mother and lost confidence in himself. Furthermore, we must speak with the mother and explain to her that he is an intelligent child, but that she will be able to enjoy his intelligence only if she makes him independent.

A student asks Adler: Would you advise corporal punishment for such a child, under any circumstances?

Adler replies: You ought to be convinced that I am entirely against all corporal punishment. The method I use is to learn the circumstances of early childhood, to explain and to persuade. What possible result could you gain by beating such a child? He is not able to read because he has not been properly trained, and spanking would not improve the training. Only those people beat children who do not understand what else to do with them.

In Chapter III: The Road to Crime, the case report begins: Carl, age eight years, I.Q. 98, lies to his family, teacher, and other boys. He has committed some thefts, and has been lying and stealing since the age of five. Before this time there was no problem. (Adler: As Carl's average intelligence quotient is 98, we may safely conclude that he is not retarded. Lying is a sign of the child's insecurity and weakness. When we hear of a child who lies, it is wise to learn in the very beginning whether he tells boastful lies or there is someone in the environment of whom he is afraid. We may assume that a crisis in his life occurred in his fifth year. It is probable that he has an inferiority complex and is more interested in himself than in anyone else. He steals, which signifies that he feels humiliated and tries to increase his self-esteem in a useless way.) The mother told the teacher in confidence that she was never married to the child's father. She was seduced by a friend of her father whom she never saw subsequently, and who never knew that she gave birth to a child. (Adler: It is usually very difficult to develop social interest in an illegitimate child. In our prevailing civilization, illegitimacy is considered a disgrace, and a child with this background is put on the defensive. A large percentage of illegitimate children develop into criminals and drunkards because they have been badly handicapped and are attracted to illicit modes of behavior which seem to promise a short cut to happiness.)

When he was five years old, his mother married. The stepfather has a child of his own, a girl two years older than Carl. (Adler: Carl's trouble began in his fifth year, when his mother married. Probably he felt that the one person with whom he had made an adequate social contact was taken away from him by his mother's husband. The introduction of a sister into the family offered an additional complicating factor. Perhaps this girl was beloved by her father, and a well-behaved child, making the difficulty even greater for Carl. He was only five years old, after all, and his former experience had not been of a kind to develop sufficient courage and strength to face this new situation. So he became a problem child.) There are now two other children, a sister two and one-half and a brother one and one-half years old. (Adler: These two other children narrow his position still further.)

The mother cried the first time she was interviewed by the teacher, and said, “I do not know what to do about Carl.” (Adler: We know that it is very bad for a child if his parents are discouraged about him. The child is justified then in losing all hope himself, and when a child lacks hope, the last vestiges of his social interest are lost.) The father beats him with a razor strap when he is bad. (Adler: We have found the severe person whom we presupposed in the environment.)

Recently, he brought the teacher a box of candy. (Adler: From the fact that he tries to bribe his teacher to like him, we may conclude that he was once a spoiled child and remembers the pleasures of being indulged.) A short time later, the teacher noticed that many of his classmates had new toys and some of them money they had received from Carl. (Adler: He wants to bribe his playmates as well as his teacher, and we must conclude that he feels a lack of affection and appreciation.) After many lies as to where he got the money, he finally confessed that he took it from an aunt who was visiting them.

He masturbates frequently in school. (Adler: Carl wishes to gain the attention of his teacher. When he cannot do it by bribing, he does it by masturbating.) He wets the bed every night of his life. He was deprived of dessert, but it had no effect on his bed-wetting. He went without dessert for six months. He was promised twenty-five cents if he would stop for a week, but he did not stop even for a single night. (Adler: If his pattern demands attention from his mother, none of these methods will cause him to relinquish so important a weapon against her as bedwetting. He has lost hope of ever winning proper appreciation from his family, but he still knows how to be the center of attention.)

His earliest recollection is that at the age of two he threw his mother's dresser-set out of the window and boys from the street brought it back to the house: “I didn't get punished because I was too young.” (Adler: It is interesting to note that Carl's earliest recollection is connected with the idea of punishment. He seems to say that there was a time when he could have avoided punishment, but that he would be punished if he did these things today. We know that there are children who really do not object to being beaten. When you beat them, they simply say to themselves, “I must be more cunning and not be discovered.” This is excellent training for a career of crime, which is precisely what we are afraid of in this case.)

It is his ambition to be a doctor. His oldest sister is going to be a nurse, and he wants to be in the same hospital. (Adler: His real ambition is to be ahead of everyone else with the least effort, and his desire to be a doctor is his method of making his ambition concrete. It is the typical striving of the second child to surpass the older child. Obviously, the boy is on the defensive, and our treatment must be directed toward making him feel that he is the equal of his brother and sisters and not under-valued by his family. We can do this only by explaining that he can win more significance by good behavior than by bad.

The father must be taught to conciliate the child, rather than punishing him with a razor strap. We must explain to the mother the circumstances that make it possible for Carl to feel he is neglected. The mother is the important member of the family to influence, because it will be easier for her to make him feel appreciated. This case gives a very good idea of the origin of criminality in the family situation. It is entirely useless to wait until a boy has committed a robbery before we consider him a criminal. This is the point at which we should start.)

Chapter IV: Wanting to Lead is about eight-year-old John who has difficulties with other children, loves to fight all the time, disturbs the class, and tries to be noticed by acting silly. He constantly wants to be in the limelight. (Adler: If a boy has difficulties with other children, it is probable that he lacks social interest, and if he fights to gain attention, we may presume that he is not brave enough to face the problems of life in a useful way.) The parents have always had as much trouble with him at home as his teachers have at school. He is very mischievous and does not obey orders. (Adler: As John's behavior at home and at school is identical, he evidently considers the two situations to be similar. We may conclude, therefore, that he is properly appreciated neither in the home nor at school. That he is very mischievous and does not obey orders promptly is not astonishing, because we cannot expect a rebel to be obedient – that would be a contradiction.)

The family constellation consists of a father, a mother, the patient, and a younger sister almost three years old. (Adler: This is a very familiar constellation. The boy is nearly nine and there was a long period during which he was the only child.) The father is the only one the boy obeys. Formerly, he was extremely strict with him and punished him severely when he did wrong. (Adler: If John obeys only his father, then it is probable that the mother is weak and the child chooses her to attack. Punishment is the best way I know to stunt the social feeling.)

He is mischievous and troublesome when left alone with his mother. She is very nervous, and he makes her unhappy because he will not obey her. She can do nothing with him. Therefore, the father takes entire charge of the training and discipline of the boy. (Adler: John's mother is unwise to complain in front of him. The child is always the stronger, and there is no use in fighting stronger people. Perhaps she demands too much of him. There should be a comradely relationship between parents and children. I have seen too many parents who insisted on blind, unreasoning obedience. This mother's behavior is that of a person without hope who has declared her intellectual bankruptcy to the child and turned the whole matter over to his father.)
He often is late to school because of his slow dressing or because he stops at newsstands and reads the headlines. (Adler: If John wanted to get to school on time he would dress quickly enough, but school is a problem he does not want to face. He is looking for situations in which he can rule, and school is not one of them.) His classmates consider him a great nuisance. He is always annoying, pushing, and stepping on others. He delights in tripping up other children or fighting with any child he is near. I always had him sitting next to my desk. I always had him the first in line so I could control his actions. (Adler: It is quite evident that John has won his point and considers himself the conqueror of the teacher.)

The father is very anxious for John to get good marks in conduct. He brings home a conduct card every day, and the father bribes him to be good. He has organized a system of cash payments for good behavior. Recently, John brought home a D in conduct; his father scolded him and gave him a slight taste of how the rolling-pin felt by administering a few light taps and promised him a severe whipping if he got a D again. Unfortunately, John returned that very day with another D. (Adler: The father, for all his good intentions, is only working on the surface. It is impossible to bribe a boy to be good, if his pattern demands nonconformity. And it must be evident to everyone that, for this child, corporal punishment is worse than useless.)

Excerpts from Adler's final comments: John fights because it is the only way he knows to gain significance. From this point, we must proceed in the therapy. We shall speak to the parents, and advise the father not to whip him, but to make a companion of him. It would be a good thing for them to take a trip together and try to understand each other. It is of the greatest importance to make the boy and the parents realize that John's goal is to gain attention. It will be more difficult with the boy, and it make take some time before we can convince him about his own aim in life.

A student asks: If this child's goal is in his unconscious, how can he be rational about it?

Adler's response: We proceed by holding up a mirror to his soul; we enable him to see his attitude and compare it with other pictures that we make. If we are successful in making him see himself as he actually is, the time will come when he will think of this while he is misbehaving, and his procedure will be weakened. And once he has completely understood the reasons for his behavior, he will be a different boy.

In the interview with the boy, Adler tells John that he is intelligent, and that he needs courage in order to make a change in his life: To disturb people in order to be the center of attention is very cowardly. It is much braver to help other people. Are you brave enough to try it? How long do you think it will take you to become one of the best-behaved pupils in the class? I feel sure that you are bright enough to do it in two weeks. Will you come and see me again in two weeks and tell me how you are getting along?

In Ch V: The Fear of Growing Up, Adler introduces the case history of six-year-old George, who uses baby talk, grimaces, and clowns, in addition to his other bad habits. Because the boy has an I.Q. of 89, Adler suspects his behavior is not due to a lack of intelligence, but to a useless purpose, most likely the fear of growing up.

The case report begins: The older brother hits George, and says he has terrible manners. (Adler: The “terrible manners”are the manners of a baby. I think they are very artistic. If he is going to act like a baby, he must defend himself like one. It will not be difficult to make George understand that to grow up means to have more power, and that it is better to strive for progress than to look for the paradise of the past.) The older brother and sister do very good work in school, and both are in a high I.Q. group. The younger sister is in a low I.Q. group. George is a handsome blond boy, and the others are dark and not at all attractive. The mother says, “We could not help loving him; he was so blond and cute.” (Adler: Here are more and more corroborations of our theory that he is a pampered child.)

At school the other children like him and enjoy his grimaces. (Adler: Young children are easily pleased and George has trained himself to be amusing.) He often gets into fights with his classmates, pushing them, or talking to children who sit near him. He comes to school looking clean, but soon pulls his stockings down over his shoes and opens his tie. (Adler: These are all tricks of his repertoire as an actor.) He is not clumsy, but pretends to be unable to do things. For instance, if the teacher is watching him, he pretends that he cannot fold his paper, but if she does not look at him, he can do it perfectly. (Adler: Over and over again we see this boy's goal in life: to make everyone who is kind to him do his bidding. He is trying to prove that he is only a baby.)

It is his ambition to grow up to be a cowboy, because the cowboys he sees in the movies all fight. (Adler: It is very common for disheartened children to play a heroic role in their fantasies. To this boy being a cowboy is an approximation of godlikeness. His ambition shows that he would really like to grow up, if it was made easy for him. In other words, he wants to be a hero under the proper conditions.)

He dreams that a man comes and takes the door of his house away. (Adler: If someone came and took the door of the house away, the house would be open and he would not be protected. The door is a protection and George is very much interested in his defenses.)

After a brief interview with George, Adler sums up the situation for the mother: George has created the role of a baby for himself, probably because he remembers that, as a small child, he was in a very pleasant situation and he wishes to restore it. For this reason he makes trouble for you, forces you to wash and dress him, and to keep him a baby. See that the other children ignore him when he makes faces. When he talks baby talk, act as if you did not hear him, and praise him when he speaks like a grown-up boy. Let him wash and dress himself, even it it takes a long time. When you see him making an effort in the right direction, praise him and say, “I am glad you are a grown-up boy now and no longer a baby.” Do not preach to him, but when he talks like a baby, pay no attention to him until he tries to speak correctly.

After the mother leaves, Adler addresses the students: No one can tell a mother all the little tricks that are necessary to cure such a child, but if she understands the total situation, she will know what to do.

A student questions Adler: How can you love a child without indulging him?

Adler: You can love a child all you wish, but you must not make him dependent. You owe it to the child to let him function as an independent being, and you must begin training him from the very beginning to do this. If a child gains the impression that his parents have nothing to do but to be at his beck and call, he gains a false idea of love.

In Ch VI: The Rebellious “Bad” Boy, Adler introduces us to the case of twelve-year-old Nicholas, who is incorrigible. He is accused of fighting and stealing while on probation, and the parents have been advised to send him away to an institution. Adler believes that this information shows that the parents have not found a way to persuade the boy to live on the useful side of life. Such children suffer from inferiority and superiority complexes, and believe they must show that no one can help them. For that reason, he suggests, “If you approach such a child with the attitude, 'Perhaps I will not succeed, but another person could,' you soften his antagonism. We must never despair of finding a correct method, nor doubt that another person can do it if we cannot.”

The case report begins: The father died when Nicholas was four years old. The mother remarried and the stepfather is very friendly with Nicholas. He has a sister who is thirteen months older, and they quarrel constantly. The mother says she cannot endure Nicholas any longer and wants him sent away because he is noisy and gets the house dirty. (Adler: From the tone of her remarks about him, we know that the mother's relationship with the boy is not good. Also, he wants to surpass his older sister, but finds her too strong. He expects his mother to promote his interests and when she refuses, he attacks her by being untidy and by fighting. He expresses his discouragement by stealing.) The mother says that before the death of the boy's father, she had no difficulties with him. The difficulties began much later, when she took him back after her second marriage. (Adler: The boy could not make an adjustment after he came back, because he came into a new situation for which he was unprepared, and the reason for his difficulty with his mother is that he believed her responsible for his lessened importance.)

After the father's death, the boy was placed with a foster-mother, who complained that both Nicholas and his sister were bad, and she wanted more money for keeping them. (Adler: Both children began to fight because they were in an uncongenial environment.) Then Nicholas was put into a home with strangers where there were three other children. This family did not give him and his sister enough to eat. Nicholas got into difficulties and mischief with the other children. Then he was placed with a third family, where the children were never allowed to play outside of the house. An older girl took Nicholas's sister out sometimes, but left Nicholas at home. He remained in this home for a year and a half, until the mother remarried. (Adler: The boy has had repeated experiences of humiliation, and he suffered deeply in the first six years of his life.) When Nicholas first returned to his home, he cried a great deal and sat on his mother's lap most of the time. (Adler: The child wanted his mother and couldn't find her. And now he is with her, his mother wants to send him away again. Nicholas is anxious to win his mother's love and be close to her.)

Nicholas says, “I don't want to go to school any more because the work is too hard for me. I wish I could go back to the parental home; I liked it there.” (Adler: These remarks are familiar indications of the beginning of a criminal career. If a person believes his work is too hard, he feels he has to steal to earn a living, and now this boy is making a gesture of bravado, as if he wanted to be a criminal and wanted to go to jail. Such statements are signs of hopeless rage, and we shall have to gain his confidence before we can do much with him.)

He cut off the tails of two cats with his father's cleaver and he let out a carload of chickens, so he could chase them. Once he stole twenty dollars from a woman's apartment. He has taken many small articles from stores. (Adler: All these crimes indicate beyond any doubt that he has no social feeling, either for animals or for human beings, and he will do anything in order to annoy people. His goal is to maintain the center of the stage, and to torture and punish his mother, teacher, and all others who do not favor him.)

One of the teachers took him driving in her car all day, and then to supper with friends of hers, and Nicholas made himself most agreeable and helpful, even helping to set the table for an impromptu supper. (Adler: You see how easily he can be disarmed on occasion. But a method must be found which works continually, and not only from time to time.)

The mother enters.

Adler: We believe that this is not at all a hopeless case. We find that Nicholas is an intelligent boy, and if we can discover the mistakes that have been made in his early education, and correct them, he will turn out very well. It would be good thing to convince him that you love him just as much as you do the older girl. Your son believes his sister has a distinct advantage, and he lacks hope because he feels that he is out of the competition. It is for this reason that he wants to make trouble, and annoys you and your family.
Mother: He behaves so badly that nobody likes him.

Adler: If a friend makes a mistake, we should only smile and call it to his attention gently. We should not be annoyed; we should not scold. It is your problem to make the home more attractive to him, and everybody in the family must try to conciliate him. The teacher and I will also help, but you must be patient for the process will take time. You must never say to him, “You will come to a bad end.” You see, he has lost his courage and only wants to have an easy life. It will be your duty to encourage him to face life more bravely.

The boy enters.
Adler: How do you do! Suppose you sit down among these friends and tell us what you like to do most.
Nicholas: I want to go to West Point and ride a horse and carry a gun.
Adler: Couldn't you do that on a ranch or on a farm?
Nicholas: No, they have fat horses on a farm.
Adler: Do you like quick horses, race horses? Are you having a race with your sister, to see who is going to come out ahead?
Nicholas: Yes.

Adler: I believe you are not brave enough. She is a good pupil in school. But it seems to me that you have lost hope of being a good pupil. I believe that you are a clever boy and could be one of the best pupils in your class, if you tried. It takes some time, but it is bound to happen. You cannot go to West Point right away, and it requires a great deal of study to be allowed to enter. The best way to get to West Point is to do your present school tasks courageously.

Perhaps you believe your mother does not love you enough and that your sister does not care for you either. I know that your mother does love you, and I am going to send word to your sister, telling her not to fight with you all the time. If you would help your mother a little more, your mother and sister would certainly like you better. Now I suggest that in the next week you do things that other people do not like, only two times, and then come back and see me again. Do you think you can succeed?

Nicholas: Yes.

In Chapter VII: The Hunger Strike, Adler tells us that our focus will be on six-year-old Betty, whose main problem is difficulty in eating. Although her difficulty is marked in proportion to her attitude to her surroundings, Adler points out that we must be careful to first exclude organic diseases. “Anyone who works with children needs some medical experience, and lay psychologists and social workers should be very careful lest they make dangerous mistakes in their diagnoses.” Nonetheless, in Betty's case, because her eating difficulties vary with her environment, he suspects the problem is psychological rather than medical.

According to the case notes: Her condition is particularly unfavorable with her mother. Rarely is the child eager for food and almost always she dawdles over her meals. When she eats, she keeps a few bites of food in her cheek and appears agonized at the necessity of swallowing. (Adler: This is almost unmistakable evidence that Betty wishes to intensify her dependency on her mother's care. Perhaps her mother spoiled Betty in the beginning, and then realized that she had followed the wrong course and gave it up. As the mother probably overemphasized the importance of eating, Betty is attacking her weakest point.) The worse meal is breakfast, at which Betty can hardly be forced to eat anything. (Adler: I am not sure whether I am correct in my explanation, but this appears to me like a child's morning song, as if Betty was giving her mother a hint of the difficulties she might expect during the day.)

For a long time, she resorted to vomiting and had a number of food fads. If she was forced to eat she would vomit. (Adler: It would be easy enough to stop Betty's food fads and vomiting, but at a later time she would develop other symptoms.) There is a secondary problem, in that in the last two years she has evinced a growing unsocial attitude and increasing belligerence toward others, including her mother. She refuses to greet people. (Adler: Many children, whose goal is to dominate the grown-up environment, have difficulty in greeting their teachers or people on the street, because they feel that such a salutation is evidence of submission.) Betty does not speak freely or civilly to people she meets and often uses abusive language. She shuns new situations and meeting new people, old or young. (Adler: This is further evidence that the child's social interest has not developed.)

The immediate family consists of mother, father, and the one child. There is a considerable nervous tension due to economic stress and a long siege of illness in the mother's own family. Both parents are highstrung, and outbursts of nerves have occurred from time to time. (Adler: Betty has been precluded by her lack of social interest from making contacts with people outside, and the nervous strain has closed the way for her within the family. The sole remaining sphere to express her superiority has been in the maintenance of her food fads.) She is given to thumb-sucking. It was a tremendous task to break her of this habit. When her hands were bound, she resorted to vomiting. (Adler: She has always been in violent revolt against prohibitions. Children who want to dominate resent prohibitions. They cannot be influenced by punishment.) Her teacher says she does everything well when she tries. (Adler: Any reproof would be an insult to her pride and ambition.)

She feels the absence of a sister or brother and complains that she has no one to play with at home. There is a constant and intense protest about the mother's work and absence from home. (Adler: It is doubtful whether she really wants a brother or sister. Her complaints are to be considered rather as an accusation against her mother. She really wants her mother to be at home, occupied solely with her.) For a long time, she demanded to be told stories about bad animals and bad people. The good stories do not interest her. (Adler: Individuals who have no social interest like to believe that people are naturally bad. Most egoistic philosophers have sponsored such theories. Socially interested individuals are usually tolerant and kind and try to understand the factors which make people bad.)

The mother comes in.

The following is an excerpt from Adler's recommendations to her: We have carefully considered the story of your little girl and find that she is a very intelligent and promising child. I think that your understanding of her conduct has been excellent in many respects. It seems to me that the child felt that she was deserted when you were busy with your family and has not forgiven you for it. She does not realize that her life's purpose now is to punish you for this desertion, but I believe that if you speak with her about it, you can convince her of your friendship. You must also explain to her that she has always tried to dominate the family and point out that neither you nor your husband try to dominate; that the family is a partnership, one for all, and all for one.

Chapter VIII: Follow the Leader is about twelve-year-old Michael who has been caught in a number of robberies. He belongs to a gang led by a fourteen-year-old boy, who teaches the younger boys how to steal. Adler's first impression: Michael must be seriously dissatisfied with his environment. If the leader of the gang influences him to steal, it is evident that he has more significance among these boys than in school or at home.

The case notes begin: He has been stealing for some time, until Baldy, the leader, was sent away to a home about two years ago. Now Baldy is back and the boys have been caught in several robberies. (Adler: An important factor is that Michael does not steal independently. It is probable that he is extremely dependent on others. He wants to be an underling, and acquires a distorted sense of superiority in blindly following his leader's commands.) The father and mother were born in Ukrainia and the mother speaks very little English. There are three children, Leon, age 14; Michael, age 12; and Mary, age 6. They live in a four-room flat of the old tenement type. There are no elevators, no bath, no heat, and the toilet is in the hall. (Adler: It is probable that Michael's older brother has developed the characteristics of a leader, and that Michael has submitted to him in order to feel his equal. By allowing himself to be led, he gains the leader's attention and appreciation. The description of the home shows that they are very poor, and the family situation may be bad.)

Michael seems affectionate and friendly with everyone, including his own family. At school he is popular and gets on well with the other children. (Adler: The history confirms our assumptions about this child's psychology. He is friendly and submissive and therefore unlikely to be the leader in any misdemeanor.) The father says, “The older brother eagerly tells how he beat up another boy in his brother's defense, but he feels very much superior to Michael. He is farther along in school and gets better marks. He does not steal or play dice.” (Adler: The older brother fights with Michael and suppresses him in order to overcome his own innate feeling of inferiority, while Michael worships his brother as a hero.)
The teacher says, “I like Michael and the children like him. He has an intelligence quotient of 70. An emotional test indicated that he is much concerned over the robberies and with being taken to the Children's Court. He appears to be afraid of the older boys in the gang.” (Adler: The low I.Q. would lead many people to believe that this child was retarded, but it must be remembered that his life pattern is one of discouragement and fear.)

His earliest recollection is: I remember when we lived in Little Falls, we used to steal watermelons. (Adler: It is interesting that he does not say, “I used to steal.” Michael is never solitary. I doubt if he understands that it is wrong to steal. He is more or less hypnotized by the gang spirit, for in the gang he loses his personal identity and responsibility.)

To the question, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” he instantly replied, “Police commissioner.” (Adler: Michael wants to be a police commissioner because his ideal symbolizes the commander, the strongest man. It is a compensation for his own weakness.)

Adler's summary comments: Michael must understand why he insists on playing an inferior role. He should be encouraged to believe that he is capable of being his own leader. In talking to Michael, it will be better not to speak of the robberies. We need concern ourselves only with his undervaluation of himself. We must also find out whether he is really left-handed, and whether he needs special training in reading and spelling.

The boy comes in.

Adler: Why, you are a great, strong boy! I thought you were little and weak, and it's not so at all. You are an intelligent boy and do not need a leader. You are big enough to be independent and courageous and be a leader yourself. Do you think you must always be a slave to other boys and do what they command? How long would it take you to stop doing everything they tell you? Do you think you can do it in four days?

Michael: Maybe.
Adler: Eight days? Michael: Yes, I can do it in eight days.
Michael leaves.

Adler (to the students): We have no rules, but our task in this case is obviously to bring Michael to the useful side of life by changing his pattern to a more courageous one.

Student: How can you make him feel that it is worthwhile to be courageous?

Adler: Courage cannot be given like a spoonful of medicine. We must show him that he will be happier if he does not undervalue himself, and he will discover the advantages of courage as soon as we can get him to resist the commands of his gang. If we add to his self-esteem, courage will come of itself. So long as he feels inferior, he will not accept responsibility. The training to be responsible and the training to be courageous are all part of the same thing.

In Chapter IX: The Too-Docile Child, Adler reviews the situation of eight-year-old Saul, who does not get along well at school. The case notes state: Saul seems quite indifferent to his standing in school and says he does not know how to do his work. After considerable pressure on the child in private conference, it was found that he did possess some knowledge, although it was difficult to determine the extent of his understanding, because he made no effort at all to produce any facts from his memory. (Adler: If a child has given up hope, and believes progress is impossible, his attitude is best expressed by a lack of memory and an ignorance of facts.)

His conduct was very poor and interfered with school work. He would leave his seat and wander around, attack other children for real or fancied slights, talk aloud and especially attempt to be funny and make children laugh by gestures, ways of walking, and joking. He seemed to have a certain amount of dramatic power and would have been funny had he done the same things at the right time. But there is no place in school for this kind of action. (Adler: Saul plays the role of a clown in order to be the center of attention. He uses the cheap means at his disposal because he does not trust himself to gain the limelight of the classroom in a useful way.) He cries easily and seems rather babyish when reproved. This conduct alternates with his attempts to be funny. (Adler: A spoiled child very often likes to play the role of a baby. He uses two means to gain attention –either he is a comedian or a baby.)

He had no trouble in the kindergarten where no scholastic results were required of him, but as soon as he entered the first grade, at the age of six, the trouble began and has increased with each grade. (Adler: If we review our knowledge to this point, we must conclude that he is a spoiled child who has made progressive resistance to the problems of growing up. The nearer he approaches these problems the harder he protests, trying to evade the issues and escape to the useless side of life.)

The parents are living. Saul has a sister, five years old. (Adler: I imagine, if we investigate thoroughly, we shall find that the trouble began when he was three or four years old and was forced to face the rivalry of his sister. It is probable that he began losing his courage and self-confidence at this time and began to insist by his actions that he wanted his mother's overindulgence to continue.) The little sister is very attractive, and though not spoiled, the whole family indulges her. Saul is very fond of her. (Adler: This would seem to upset our interpretation, were it not for the fact that Saul probably recognizes that he has been conquered by the enemy, and as he has lost hope of winning the battle, he makes friends with his conqueror. It is not unusual for dethroned children to express fondness for those who have displaced them.)

The boys he plays with call him “Fat” because he is very fat; they also call him a “dope” because of his school difficulties. (Adler: The most common reason for excess fat is over-eating. But, he may have some glandular illness which causes obesity.)

He goes to the movies and they fill a great deal of his thoughts. (Adler: I ought to say a word here about the movies. Most movies depend for their appeal on tricks, and that is what children and adults want to learn: a quick way to power. Tricks, slyness, and cunning should be recognized as the devices of a coward. We may laugh at them and be astonished by their efficacy, but in our deeper conscience we ought to know that they are used only by people who do not trust their own powers toward a normal goal.) It is his ambition to be a movie actor. He is deeply interested in them all, and his hero is Tom Mix. (Adler: This ambition is not surprising in view of the fact that he has been playing a role all during his school life. The role of a clown, a comedian, an actor interested in tricks. He wants to overcome dangers, to be powerful, and probably he believes that being a moving picture actor is a way to attain his ends.)

In the conference with the mother, she insists that Saul eats normally, and does not eat too many sweets.
Saul enters the room smiling and full of confidence.

Adler (shaking hands with the boy): Hello, how are you? Won't you sit down here and talk to me? I have some interesting things to tell you. I know that you really can be a good pupil and soon all the old troubles will be gone. You will be more attentive and will understand the teacher better. Then you will get ahead and be well liked in school.

Saul: (impressed) Yes.

Adler: Is your sister a very sweet girl? (Saul nods in assent.) Girls usually develop more quickly than boys when they are young, but you must not believe she is any brighter than you are. In a short while, you will be able to keep in advance of her. You will always be the older one and will always protect her.

Saul: Yes, sir.

Adler: They have told me that you were worried because the boys in the street called you “Fat.”When I was your age, the boys also used to call me “Fat,” but it did not bother me, because I studied hard in school and I told the boys that even when they called me nicknames I got good school reports. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Saul: I want to be an actor.

Adler: Then you must learn to read and write, and speak carefully. Even the movie actors must know how to speak well now. I think it would be better for you to study hard than to disturb your class by playing the clown. Wait until you are grown up and are a movie actor, before you try to make other people laugh. Your job now is to pay attention to the teacher and make friends for yourself. (as the boy is leaving) You are a very fine boy.

Saul (turning at the door and bowing several times): Thank you. (He leaves.)
Student: What is the significance of this boy having picked for his heroes movie stars who are tall and slender?

Adler: You see how quickly children find their goal. He wants to be tall and slender because he dislikes being fat. If a child is weak, he wants to be strong, if he is poor, he wants to be rich; if he is sick, he wants to be a doctor because he believes doctors are always healthy.

In Chapter X: Laying the Neurotic Foundation, Adler begins by telling us that the conduct of this patient is considered to be a riddle. The case report begins: Rachel is a twelve-year-old girl, whose present problem is truancy. She refuses to go to school, on the grounds that she cannot work in the classroom. (Adler: The opening words of this case history fairly accurately describe a child with an inferiority complex. If Rachel plays truant, we may be certain that there are adults in the environment who are attempting to enforce her attendance. The child is saying “No” to these adults, and in this way attains a subjective feeling of superiority in her home.) Rachel has always been a problem child. Her present problem is an extension of her attitude in the class. (Adler: “Always” is a very strong word to use, and it is hard to believe that she was a problem from the first days of her life. It is more likely that something happened against which she rebelled. Perhaps this unhappy event was the birth of a younger brother or sister.

When Rachel was promoted to a junior high school, she insisted that she must return to the elementary school from which she had been promoted. She was not permitted to do this, because she was expected to meet her problem in her new surroundings. She then said she would attend school, if she were permitted to be in a lower class in the junior high school. (Adler: The real reason Rachel wants to get out of her class and worry her entire environment is lack of courage to face the new situation. She is boasting of her inability, and the more she insists that she is incapable of doing the work, the more the teachers and parents insist on the contrary. This is one way of turning an inferiority complex into a superiority complex.)

She was put in a class similar to the one which she had just left in the elementary school, but she did not keep her promise. Then her father beat her, but she still refused to attend. Finally, Rachel was taken to the children's clinic at one of the hospitals. At this clinic, permission was granted her to stay at home for a time. (Adler: She was able to make the clinic fall into her trap. It is not sufficient to allow Rachel to stay at home, for she is still the same child, with the same pattern of life.)

Rachel has said that if she had been permitted to be in the same class with her friend, she would have attended, but this request was refused. Although her pose is sometimes that of timidity, she has shown anything but a meek disposition in the course of her refusals at school. She has been very rude and disrespectful on several occasions. (Adler: this interesting evidence confirms my feeling that she belongs to a domineering type, and is not at all averse to fighting others. Her only fear is to meet a new situation alone.)

As a little girl, there was no fault to find with her conduct, but a year and a half ago, a teacher criticized her work in school. (Adler: Evidently Rachel is striving for an ideal, fictitious goal of superiority. She would like to play God. In order to fill this role, she must be faultless and domineering, and when she can no longer play that part, she refuses to play at all.) Recently, Rachel revealed that she had harbored resentment against this teacher for six months, before she showed it. (Adler: These six months are highly significant, because they were the time of preparation for her neurotic behavior. A neurosis does not appear overnight. It must be nurtured before it can bloom.)

The parents are living. The family consists of an older sister, 19; a brother, 17; Rachel, 12; a younger sister, 7; and a younger brother, 5. (Adler: Rachel suffered the typical dethronement of the child used to a central position in her family, on the arrival of a little sister.) The older brother has a habit of biting his nails, and when Rachel sees him do this she becomes quite upset and screams. The brother realizes Rachel's nervous state, but does not stop biting his nails. The mother is helpless in the entire situation. (Adler: More evidence confirming the idea of Rachel's pattern. She dominates the entire family; when she is crossed, she screams.)

Rachel does not play games, but attends the movies. (Adler: The movies require no social feeling, and enable her to gain an easy sense of significance by identification with the heroines. The competition in games requires self-reliance and hard work.) The other children realize her condition, and give in to her. The teacher reported that she exhibited fear when she could not do the work. Once, when she was afraid, she cried and held her hands to her mouth, while they twitched nervously. She was mothered and kept at the teacher's desk, and the rest of the class was warned not to disturb her. (Adler: Fear is her strongest weapon. By means of fear she is able to control her environment.)

Her ambition is to be a typist, and her fear is a fear of colored people. (Adler: In America, the fear of colored people is an excellent method of producing anxiety. It is as good as any other reason for not going out on the street.)

Rachel enters.
Adler: Come in and sit down. How are you? Do you like this place? Does it look like a school?
Rachel: Yes.
Adler: Everybody likes you here, and they are all looking at you. Does that please you?
Rachel: Yes.

Adler: I think you are a little too fond of having things your own way, wherever you are. You make the excuse that you are afraid of colored people to keep from going on the street. No one can keep the attention of the whole world all the time, but if you are friendly and helpful, everybody will like you. I know that the teacher told you that you were stupid, but that is not so. I am sure that you are a very intelligent girl. The teachers used to tell me that I was very stupid, but I laughed about it. Anybody can do school work, and we all know that you can do yours. But if you stay at home because of your fear of colored people, I shall begin to think you are not so intelligent after all. Would you like to be a good pupil?

Rachel: Yes.
Adler: I think you could do it in a week if you tried. Will you write me a letter and let me know how you are getting along?
Rachel leaves. The following is a letter which Adler received a week later.
My Dear Dr. Adler:

This week was entirely a different week. I was outside all the time. I think that my visit to you did me good. Miss X thinks that if you would advise me to do some teaching to small children in Miss X's school that would be a good idea. P.S. I was called in to write this letter. This is the first letter I ever typewrote.

Yours truly,

Chapter XI: Congenital Retardation is about Sidney, a ten-year-old boy who is unable to read and write. He has a very poor memory, and there is a question whether he is retarded or not. (Adler: The mere inability to read or write is not a sign of retardation. The child may have been badly prepared for school lessons. It is true that most retarded children cannot read or write, but if Sidney regards reading as an overpowering task from which he wants to escape he may be considered an intelligent child. A retarded child would be more likely to stay in school and make no effort to get out of the difficulty.)

Sidney has poor muscular development and bad neuro-muscular coordination, and he is unable to dress and undress himself without assistance. (Adler: Here again we must determine whether or not his intelligence is inadequate or whether he wants constant support.) He could not speak until he was five years old. (Adler: It is difficult to decide whether a child who cannot speak until he is five years old is retarded, or merely badly spoiled.) He has always wet the bed at night, and still does. He urinates too frequently, especially when is in a state of nervousness. (Adler: Bed-wetting is common among coddled children, especially if there is a younger brother or sister. He may also urinate frequently during the day to gain attention.)

There are no early recollections. He dreams sometimes of his grandfather, who died two years ago. (Adler: He may have been badly shocked by his grandfather's death. Perhaps he is afraid of death. If it suits a child to be afraid, he dreams of fearful things and trains himself to find the very pictures which cause him to be afraid. This means that someone must always be on hand to protect him. We begin to have some semblance of a pattern of life appearing in this history.) He asks many questions about everything. (Adler: It is probably that he asks stupid questions in order to keep someone occupied with him.)

Until recently, he could not sleep more than four or six hours at a time. For the last few months, he has been taking chiropractic treatments and now sleeps nine hours without waking. (Adler: If he really does not like to sleep, it may be considered further evidence that he is spoiled. The pampered child does not like to sleep because he hates to lose connection with his grownup environment.) He can tell the time, but cannot tell the days. (Adler: This case history is rather inadequate. In the first place, we must know more about his first year and why he became so timid. We want to find out why he was so influenced by his grandfather's death. It is also very important to understand the mother's relationship with the child.)

Adler interviews the parents and the child. As he questions Sidney, he examines the boy's head. After Sidney leaves, Adler offers his conclusions: While I have been asking these questions, I have been making a physical examination of this child and find several stigmata of degeneration. There can be no question as to the defect in his intelligence. If this boy had a real style of life, he would be afraid, but both the manner of his entering the room and his father's account of his activities show that he is not timid. Retarded children can often be distinguished from maladjusted children by their lack of fear. This child is not intelligent enough to know that he is in danger. There can hardly be a doubt that he is retarded. I know that your board of education provides a school for such retarded children, and the father should be advised by the teacher who brought in the case to enter his child in one of these classes.

Chapter XII: The Tyranny of Illness focuses on the case of five-yearold Milton whose present problem is disobedience, cruelty, over-activity, and that he “cannot catch his breath.” (Adler: These character traits are aimed at someone. It may be safe to assume that Milton's mother is a solicitous and orderly woman who demands a certain amount of cooperation from the child. Milton, on the other hand, is evidently not inclined to yield to her, perhaps because he believes that she has been unjust or harsh to him. The difficulty in breathing is a protest of much the same sort as cruelty and over-activity. When the boy is over-active, he protests with his muscles, and when he cannot catch his breath, he protests with his lungs. We must learn to understand this slang which our various organs speak.)

Milton is the youngest of three children. There are two older sisters, ages twelve and nine. The two older girls seem well adjusted. (Adler: Perhaps the mother has praised the older children for their orderliness, and Milton has host hope of ever competing with them. It is very probable that he used to be spoiled. If he had a good deal of sickness, he may have learned that while he was sick, he was pleasantly overindulged and has adopted the mechanism of an artificial illness, in order to assure himself of his mother's attention.) He sleeps either with his father or his mother, more frequently with the mother. (Adler: A boy of five ought to be sleeping alone. If he still prefers to sleep with his mother, it is a good indication that he is too much attached to her. Presumably, the goal of Milton's life is to be watched and favored by his mother. The conflict in this family lies in the fact that the mother apparently wishes her son to be socially adjusted, healthy and orderly, while the boy is doing his best to remain a baby.)

During his early childhood, he suffered from bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, tonsillitis, and rickets. (Adler: During his illness, Milton's every breath was the object of attention and solicitude. Now when he finds himself in an unfavorable situation in competing with older and betteradjusted sisters, he threatens his mother with his lungs, so to speak.)

Milton is much attached to his mother, but there is considerable conflict with the older sisters, whom he teases. He is cruel to his sisters and to other children. (Adler: The older girls probably antagonize Milton, and he teases in retaliation. The case history tells us that he is cruel. In psychological language, this means that he is discouraged. Very often children with an abnormal tendency to cruelty wreak their power on weak or unsuspecting children and animals, in order to console themselves for their diminished sense of importance.)

Milton spends afternoons in the kindergarten where he seems to adjust fairly well. He complains that he has no one to play with. Both the father and the mother occasionally beat him because he refuses to obey them. He is constantly surrounded by a wall of “don't do this” and “don't do that.” After he is stopped, he usually has an attack of breathlessness. (Adler: Herein lies the crux of the entire situation. The parents, especially the mother, are so anxious for the child's welfare that they do not allow him to play in the street like other boys. If he cannot have boys of his own age to play with, he occupies his mother with his mischief. When she frustrates him in this, he attacks her with his breathlessness. Although this is not a conscious process, he unconsciously realizes what he gains by these spasms.)

Milton's ambition is to be a doctor. (Adler: A boy who has been as sick as Milton would inevitably value the role of a doctor very highly.) He does not wash or dress himself, but he can find his way on the streets or run errands. He can recognize his own house. (Adler: Being able to recognize his own house is an excellent test of normal mentality. The boy does not wash and dress himself, because this keeps his mother working for him.)

Adler's concluding remarks: Our course must be apparent to all who understand the underlying theories of individual psychology. We must influence this mother to make Milton more independent. She must not criticize him so much and she must hide her fears for his future. We have noted that the boy's behavior is always better away from home, and we must explain to the mother that he will improve in a more social environment. She should not be censured, but encouraged to adopt a new viewpoint.

Volume 11 - Education for Prevention:
Individual Psychology in the Schools, The Education of Children

Vol. 11 of The CCWAA consists of two books by Alfred Adler: Individual Psychology in the Schools (1929) and The Education of Children (1930). Individual Psychology in the Schools was based on lectures Adler gave in the Pedagogical Institute of Vienna. Although the lectures were directed to teachers, Adler wished to gain the cooperation of psychiatrists, psychologists and families in trying to improve the lot of children, teachers and parents.

Part 1: Individual Psychology in the Schools (1929)

In Ch. I: The First Five Years, Adler tells his audience that all educators need to hear about both theory and practice; thus, he will be presenting case histories to illustrate his ideas. He then reviews the basic elements of his theory of personality development, adding that “The ideals of a nation reach into the heart of a family. Therefore, the means must be developed in the family and in the schools to ensure that education prepares an individual for society.” IP constantly looks for interrelationships, understanding human nature in terms of an individual's attitude toward others, which is revealed in all his expressive movements. This fundamental attitude toward others becomes crystallized in the first four or five years of life as the individual's life pattern, or life style. All subsequent experiences will be seen through the prism of this life style. Thus, the influence of the family, especially the mother, is crucial to prepare the child to face the demands of life with an attitude of interest in others and the courage to overcome difficulties. The first test of the child's preparation is school.

Both pampered children and hated children will have similar difficulties in school, and later life, because they lack the necessary preparation for interest in others and courage in the face of difficulties. Warnings and punishment do not change faulty preparation. Only training teachers in IP can help correct the faulty preparation in the family, and promote the ideals of community, courage, and cooperation. “Our most important task is to practice the art of motivating a child to reach for that social ideal.”

Adler presents the case of a five-year-old pre-school boy who is hyperactive, breaks things, climbs on the table with dirty shoes, sticks his hand into a cake and stuffs his mouth with it, and pushes guests out of their chairs so he can sit.

When the mother slaps him, he laughs and stays quiet for maybe two minutes. The mother thinks that the grandparents pampered him excessively. Now he no longer is really pampered. (Adler: That is the reason he developed as he did. His social feeling was never developed since he clung only to his mother and father.) He does not think or concentrate. (Adler: His life style does not require thinking and he is also unprepared. By now, he should be able to function on his own, but cannot do it.) He never attended a kindergarten. (Adler: Apparently, the mother's task was to keep the boy for herself. We must recognize how all these factors interrelate. We can claim to understand this boy when we know that we are dealing with a part of the total individual. Understanding means seeing things in their context, not as a sum of fragments.)

In Chapter II: On the History of Problem Children, Adler begins by comparing how other psychologies approach understanding problem children with IP. “Without our being aware of it, the social context always becomes a prerequisite. Human beings are not born with directed drives. However, some people successfully detach their drives from the social connection. For that reason, most psychologists have assumed that human beings are bad by nature and from necessity train and change their drives so that they are not directed against the well-being of society. The opposite is true. Whatever a child brings with him into the world will be integrated with all inborn possibilities into a social framework which he will consider primary.”

As the child integrates “all inborn possibilities” with external influences into his life style, he becomes guided by his fictional goal, “which he cannot escape without insight. Awareness of this goal allows us to recognize a direction in the chaos we encounter in individual symptoms.” We must, therefore, look for the direction of the child's movement: toward and with others, or away from and against them. Following a goal that does not conform to the rules of society, the problem child seeks a place where he can feel superior to others, but in a useless way. “With this principle, we find the starting point for applying IP.”

Our task is to investigate what has occurred in a particular child's life that has left him unprepared for the tasks he will face. The possibilities are endless, such as pampering, neglect, organic deficiencies, the birth of siblings, family economic difficulties, change of home or school, and so on. Any of these factors can lead to a similar result. “The explanation for an unwillingness to persist in a struggle to overcome difficulties is always the same: a lack of courage, a lack of interest in others, and selfcenteredness.” Educators face a formidable challenge. “We get these children already completed and we are expected to correct what parents failed to achieve. We must begin by doing the right thing, because society expects us to do better than the parents have done at an earlier stage.”

In Chapter III: Children's Lifestyles, Adler focuses on how to uncover and understand a child's lifestyle. When a child faces a test, like school, his behavior will show whether he believes he is capable of dealing successfully with it. If he hesitates, stops, or behaves in other socially useless ways, we know he lacks the confidence he needs to succeed; he suffers from a serious feeling of inferiority. In order to gain a better understanding of him as an individual, we must examine him in several contexts: “We have to conduct a horizontal examination in various places to determine how this self-evaluation is expressed, and how it changes into action. We should also begin a vertical examination. We should compare present manifestations with peculiarities in the child's past. We will then have a line that shows us the genetic structure of the child's life style.” Because of the unity of our inner life, all the ways in which the child expresses himself, in the past, present, and future, will agree. If he gives us some early memories, and we understand them, they will show us “the focal point that reveals his system.”

Adler then cites an example demonstrating how even very young children recognize a lifestyle and can have an effect on it: “A two-yearold-girl was dancing on a table to the great dismay of her mother who yelled at her, 'Get down, you'll fall!' The girl calmly continued dancing. The three-year-old brother, who had looked on, yelled to her, 'Stay there!' The little girl immediately climbed down from the table. The boy understood his sister's lifestyle. Clearly, a child can be taught to feel important by doing the opposite of what she is told.”

He then presents the case of a thirteen-year-old boy who was expelled from the fifth grade because of stealing and a number of other deficiencies. Considered a hopeless case, he was sent to a reform school where he encountered a teacher who had worked with Adler. When the teacher investigated the boy's history, he learned that the boy was a good student in the first three grades, but started having trouble in the fourth and fifth. He suspected that the boy had gone from a friendly teacher to an unfriendly, strict one. The boy confirmed his suspicion, saying, “The teacher in the fourth grade did not like me.” Adler comments that “What had occurred does not even have to be true. Whether I believe there is a tiger outside my door or there actually is one makes no difference. The facts are not important, only how we see them.” This boy was from a poor, but indulgent family where his mother had prevented him from becoming independent and confident. He wanted to be pampered.

In his efforts to be liked, he even stole in order to buy gifts for his classmates. After his father had punished him, and he ran away from home, he secretly gathered wood and placed it at night outside his mother's door. Adler remarks, “Everything moves toward the same goal: to be someone, to be more than what he is now.” The educators must now perform the mother's task, which is to expand the boy's social feeling and courage: “We must show him that he has unsuccessfully tried to be appreciated, liked, and honored before he has achieved anything.”

Adler concludes, “We can discern the level of a child's self-esteem from his actions, and when we compare these with other forms of selfexpression, the picture becomes quite clear. The more experience we have, the deeper we delve into this subject, the easier the task becomes. I have attached a questionnaire which should help in establishing the lifestyle and degree of self-esteem that can be found in these children.” This comprehensive, fifteen-item questionnaire appears as Chapter XV at the end of Part 2: The Education of Children in Volume 11 of The CCWAA.

In Chapter IV: Children in Difficult Situations, Adler defines a lifestyle as a “habitual and restrictive attitude toward life,” and states that he will attempt to show how it can be changed. In this process, the two most important questions are: When did the complaints about the child's behavior begin? In what circumstances?

To demonstrate the core structure of this process, he gives a case example. A ten-year-old girl came to him with her mother, both of them crying. The mother explained that recently she had taken the girl back from foster parents who had raised her. The mother had given up her daughter because she had divorced the father before the child was born. While she was with the foster parents, the girl made good progress in school. She was about to enter the fourth grade.

Privately, the mother told Adler that the father had been an alcoholic and impossible to live with. Afraid that her daughter might have inherited “something of her husband's flawed nature,” she now was determined to raise the girl in “a model fashion.” When the girl started her new school in the fourth grade, she was put back into the third. There, she was still found unable to keep up with the class and told that she might have to be placed in the second grade.

To Adler, the girl seemed perfectly normal. Certainly, she could not have done well in her previous school if she had been mentally deficient. After questioning the mother further, he learned that the girl was frequently inattentive and sad. Describing her daughter, she said, “I cannot understand this. I am very strict with her in order to avoid what happened to my husband, and yet she fails to make progress.”

In thinking about the child's situation, Adler put himself in her place. He thought about how he would behave, if he had been taken from a good life with foster parents to live with his mother who was strict. He concluded that the girl “recalled the good times with her foster parents and now despaired.” He could imagine her saying to herself, “If I fail completely, then mother will throw me out and I can go back to my foster parents.” She felt trapped and could not escape.

She told him how happy she had been with her foster parents and how much she had liked her school there. Adler spoke with the mother again, telling her that he did not think she was capable of doing what needed to be done. She asked him for his advice. He recommended that she speak pleasantly to her daughter, admit that she had made a mistake, and suggest that they live together as friends. The important thing was to help the girl realize that her situation was not hopeless, but caused by a mistake. The mother agreed to follow his advice, and visit him in two weeks.

Two weeks later, the mother and daughter appeared, smiling and happy. The mother also brought a report from the teacher, who said that the girl went from being one of the worst students to doing quite well.

After reviewing the similarly discouraging consequences of pampering, ill health, and lengthy illness, Adler emphasizes the optimistic outlook of IP which does not consider talent and ability innate. “It is wrong and impedes progress to insist that not everyone can accomplish whatever life demands,” excluding the mentally retarded or those afflicted with illness.

“Everything that is socially useful has universal validity. Morality sets the standards for social life. Every worthwhile political position endeavors to further humankind. IP has the task of pointing the way toward discovering the underlying interrelationships that fulfill the sense of community.”

In Chapter V: Real and Imagined Childhood Memories, Adler examines the significance of early memories and what they can tell us: “Because of our theory concerning the unity of the individual whereby every single aspect is a part of the whole, from an earliest recollection, we can grasp the entire structure of a lifestyle, or a portion thereof, even if it is meaningless to others.” All situations in a person's life have significance and can be related to and give meaning to childhood memories. Everything connects; the therapeutic task is to find the connections and their significance.

An early memory about “a Christmas tree full aglow” indicates a person with a keen visual sense, someone interested in colors and drawing; a memory about illness and suffering frequently occurs in people who become scientists and physicians, in order to associate with death and work to overcome it. Firstborn children often have memories concerning the arrival of the next sibling, the usurper. Realizing how quickly a position of power can disappear, they may later believe, “Do what you like, it makes no difference anyhow.”

When a child has a memory or dream of being pursued by a tiger, the significance of the expression lies in showing us an attitude “that sees the whole world as beastly. As a result, the child behaves like a hunted animal.” Or if a child dreams of running around naked, he tell us that he “dislikes being exposed and would like to remain a mystery to others from whom he wants to hide his true self.” Memories and dreams can offer hints indicating the burdens a child faced, the degree of social feeling he has developed, and his ability to cooperate: “Even his physical bearing expresses a degree of courage, optimism, and energy.”

Adler describes a memory of his own to demonstrate that memories do not have to be genuine in order to be significant: “When I was five years old and in first grade, I recall that my schoolmates and I routinely had to cross a cemetery. This was never a pleasant experience for me and while it depressed me, my friends happily went their way. The problem of death concerned me very early in life. I was three years old when my brother died. When I was four, I contracted pneumonia and the doctor gave up on me. At the age of five, when asked what I planned to be, I said that I wanted to be a doctor. It was during that time period that I found walking across the cemetery to be a heavy burden. I then decided to free myself of that fear. The next time I had to cross the cemetery, I decided to hang back and let my friends go ahead. I placed my school bag on the fence and started walking back and forth across the cemetery, until I was no longer afraid.

At the age of 35, I met a former schoolmate and asked him, 'What ever happened to the cemetery?' He replied, 'There never was a cemetery!' I had fantasized the whole story. It is an example of how a child may train himself to overcome a difficulty with courage.”

Fantasies and daydreams can offer clues to the extent of a child's social feeling. Many children describe fantasies of being wealthy. But one child may want to buy everything for himself, while a second child wants to buy a castle for his parents, a third child wants to give to the poor, and a fourth wants to “relieve the world of all misery.”

Adler concludes, “Childhood fantasies and daydreams allow us to measure the degree to which a child has the courage to live. I recommend that we assign children to write essays on subjects such as : 'What I Fear.' From these and similar reports, we can discern the individual's lifestyle.”

In Chapter VI: Childhood Memories and Dreams, Adler first describes and interprets a number of childhood memories. One six-yearold boy remembers, “I fell into the water when I was four years old.” His choice of this incident tells us that he focuses on the dangers in life. A reasonable amount of caution is necessary, but hesitation, anxiety, and doubt will probably inhibit this boy from accomplishing anything as he grows up. Another child says, “Dad took away the pacifier and I cried.” Expecting someone to take something from him, he will be on guard against having anything taken from him. A third boy recalls, “I alerted my parents to the need to change my sister's diapers when she cries.” Acting as his sister's protector, he tried to help his parents help her. We can predict that he will be a fatherly type, showing concern for others. “The first two boys think only about themselves and show very little social feeling. In the third child, we can see the impact of social feeling in that he does not think only about himself. We can also see a striving for significance. However, we cannot object to that since he relates in useful ways to others.”

Fantasies about work are valuable because they show us a child's interest and how he wants to express himself. By the age of fourteen or fifteen, a child should have some ideas about what he wants to be. If he doesn't, that is a sign of discouragement, indicating that he doesn't believe he can find his way in life. Adler recommends assigning children the writing topic, “What I Would Like to Be,” which would force them to think about the future, or at least to write, “I don't know.” Uncovering this uncertainty would allow teachers to help them. The occupations they name usually give strong indications of how they achieve superiority and how they want to develop themselves.

In discussing children's dreams, Adler reviews fundamentals of his dream theory which appear earlier in The CCWAA. For him the central questions are: “Why do people dream without understanding their dreams? Why can't we do something with our dreams?” His answer is that we dream in order to awaken moods and feelings which will allow us to accomplish something that we cannot do with logic alone. A fearful dream before a test we have little confidence in passing helps us lose all courage, so that we don't even show up for the test. On the other hand, a sunny, joyful dream confirms self-confidence we already feel, helping us awaken encouraged to face the test. Like all expressive movements, our dreams reflect our lifestyle and goal.

In Chapter VII: On the Meaning of Recollections, Fantasies, and Dreams, Adler continues his discussion of these expressive movements. They all contain fragments of the individual's lifestyle, similar to what we find in a person's manner of speaking, listening, shaking hands, and walking, in short, every slight movement he makes. Everything connects. Children's daydreams and fantasies concern what they would like to become, and often reflect what a particular child is really missing.

In one such daydream a mother who had very little money once told her children: You can wish every day for as much money as you like. (Adler: this daydream points to a child with a keen interest in money, which could have occurred only if that child experienced some problem concerning money. Were this not so, the child would not have arrived at this particular fantasy.) I bought a lovely coat and a straw hat. I then went home and asked for 140 billion. (Adler: With this sum, the child clearly expresses how much she exaggerates money. She suffers from a strong feeling of inferiority and believes that life cannot go on without money, which she needs for support.) The next day I invited every child I knew to a children's party. I first gave them a good meal, then we played games, and then they all went home. (Adler: She wants to connect with other children. We cannot say she has only egotistical feelings, because she does not want money only for herself. Of course, this tendency to spend money for others is also a feeling of superiority. She gains in esteem by doing something useful and by leaving some of her riches to others.)

Dreams demonstrate how “the human psyche tends to be governed not only by logic, but also by feelings and can create moods that contradict logical considerations. When someone has a problem that he feels cannot be solved while he is awake, then he will dream because he needs something else to deal with his difficulties.” Adler then relates his experience in World War I which provoked a disturbing dream. As the head of a large military hospital for soldiers suffering from war-related neuroses, he once saw a young man complaining of weak nerves, who asked to be relieved of military duty. His complaint turned out to be groundless, even though he walked around bent over. The hospital chief of staff refused the man's request, which Adler in turn related to him. The soldier suddenly straightened out and begged Adler to release him because he was poor and had to support his elderly parents, who would perish without him.
Consoling him, Adler promised to do whatever he could to get him assigned to guard duty, which would allow him to work part-time. This was not enough. The man cried, begging Adler for further relief. Knowing that the chief of staff could easily send the soldier back to the front lines, Adler concluded that the guard duty assignment was the best he could do to help.

“That night, I dreamed that I was a murderer. I did not know whom I had killed. I walked around in dark alleys and felt like the murderer, Raskolnikov, who vacillated between feeling guilty and not guilty. I awakened trembling, feeling that I had committed a murder. I soon realized that the dream related to this particular young man and in an exaggerated manner represented what I would have been guilty of doing if I did not comply with his plea. In my dream, I wanted to cancel my logic; I wanted to obtain for him an even lighter assignment so that he could save his parents. When I uncovered this self-delusion, I reaffirmed my logically conceived recommendation.”

Dreams are metaphors, and metaphors are a type of deception. “We use metaphors when we wish to explain or describe something and are unable to apply the naked truth. They are an artful trick.”

In Chapter VIII: On the Theory of Dreams, Adler first reviews three major points about dreams: “1) The dream has the task of creating a mood meant to lead the dreamer, against his own logic regarding a given situation in his life, to where his lifestyle actually takes him. 2) The dreamer employs certain means, which also relate to his lifestyle, in that in his dreams he reaches back to images in his memory that will ease his task and seem desirable to him for solving his problem. 3) The dreamer likes to find metaphors and similes in order to reinforce the mood he needs in order to attain his goal.” The dreamer also intoxicates or deceives himself with the emotion and mood he creates, allowing him to reduce “his problem so that he fails to grasp its full extent by selecting only one point as if that were the entire problem.” We also do this when we are awake.

Adler then interprets the dreams of several children. In the dream of a girl in the fourth grade: I once had a beautiful dream about an angel. I was in a garden when a man tried to throw me into the water. Suddenly, an angel appeared before me and held me in is arms. He said, “If you throw this child into the water, you will die.” Then the angel flew with me into heaven. He also took my parents along. It was very nice there. Afterwards I was very happy. (Adler: This child is obviously looking for support. A relationship with a man appears to her as a dangerous situation. He wants to throw her into the water, meaning that a man is dangerous and we need an angel on our side for protection. Further proof of her pampering is her desire to take her parents into heaven with her.)

In the dream of an eleven-year-old boy in middle school: I once dreamed about a brook. I walked along the brook until I arrived at an arid spot and saw a young shark. I pulled out my cap pistol and shot the fish dead. (Adler: This young hero takes it easy. He has a revolver; the fish does not.)

Some people dream a lot, others only a little or not at all. “The reason for the lack of dreaming seems to be that people who dream little or not at all do not like to lie or deceive themselves. They are not subservient to their moods, are not driven by their emotions, and feel no impulse to solve a problem in which they are entangled. People dream more who are often guided by strong emotions, rather than by logic, in their daily lives.”

In Chapter IX: Overview: Social Feeling, Adler elaborates on the effects of a lack of social feeling, focusing on the problem child in particular. In order to work therapeutically with such a child, we must first understand him. And in order to understand him, we must exercise our own social feeling by imagining that if we were in his situation, we would make the same mistakes and set the same goal. “When we can feel as one with such a child, then we can understand him. If we cannot do that, then all efforts are in vain and useless.”

In our investigation into a child's history, the first important question to ask in order to uncover his mistake is: When did the complaints begin? The next important question is: “Why has this child no interest in others, no social feeling?” In IP, we know that three types of children are poorly prepared and have little or no social feeling: “1) Children with inferior organs, 2) pampered children, and 3) neglected children.”

“'Know thyself' has been our primary guide for bringing up children. This principle requires us to help a child fully understand his mistakes and help him eliminate them. When a child understands the connection between his behavior and his mistaken thinking, then he has one more way to determine the course of his life. He is no longer the same person as before. He can begin exerting control over himself and take steps to eliminate his mistakes. This is the true success achieved only by 'knowing thyself,' never with criticism, punishment, or bribery.”

Social feeling is closely tied to a child's overall development, both physically and intellectually. A child with social feeling sees and hears better, because he is interested in what others do and say. He makes friends easily, because others can sense his interest in them. He achieves more in school and in later life, because he works well with others and has the courage to overcome problems. He will succeed in friendship, work, and love, the three main tasks of life.

Chapter X: Four Case Histories focuses on four problem children. One history and Adler's interpretations will be summarized here.

An eleven-year-old girl in middle school, usually well-behaved, can occasionally become very unpleasant. (Adler: We proceed on the assumption that no miracles occur in the psyche of a young child. What causes this child to behave badly?) She behaves badly when her sixteenmonths-older sister wants to borrow her younger sister's bathrobe and takes it out of the drawer. She then begins to yell and scream that her sister will dirty the robe. (Adler: Such cases are frequently found in family situations. We see a tendency to want to outdo her sister. A younger sister generally tries to equal or outstrip the older. The older sister, on the other hand, strives to keep her position or strengthen it.) The older girl tends to make trouble for her younger sister and seeks to get her sister into situations where she will appear less deserving. (Adler: This situation allows us to establish whether this girl is socially well prepared. It shows us that she has a great deal of interest in herself. She has a strong feeling of inferiority that does not give her any relief so that under certain circumstances, she lets herself go.)

The mother says that the older sister is remarkably beautiful, while the younger one is stocky and awkward to the point where it is difficult to avoid praising the older and making her appear the favorite whenever strangers come to the house. Seeing herself neglected, the younger sister believes she is disadvantaged by nature, and fears getting into situations where her disadvantaged position would become apparent. I advised the mother that the younger child has to be taught that beauty does not play such a big role in life and that good health is much more valuable. The child also demonstrates her dislike of school by being absent frequently. She does not think much of school. According to the parents, neither daughter is favored over the other. However, I believe that the older is regarded with more pride because she is more beautiful and as a result, the younger feels neglected. She also has the disadvantage of being unable to overtake her older sister. She can see no way of becoming superior to her sister.

We can recognize this child's lifestyle and also see where mistakes were made. The mother failed in not being able to direct her child's interest toward the older sister. She was even unable to bond with the child herself. The mother said that her younger daughter favors her father because, “I am too abrupt with her.” That is not a suitable method for winning over a child's affection.

We are not surprised to learn that the girl does not want to go to sleep at night. The parents had an arrangement by which the younger daughter goes to bed first. She finds that unfair and says she will not go to bed if her older sister is allowed to stay up late. The older sister insists that her younger sister must go to bed first. When they finally agree to go to sleep, the race continues in bed. Both children read under a light over each bed. Then the mother comes into the room, tells the children that it is late and turns off the light over the younger daughter's bed. She remarks that the older girl can continue to read but “not you,” to the younger. Here again, the younger child feels shortchanged.

This child is in danger of becoming hostile to people. She is not a truly social person. She sees life as a struggle that turns on whether one is “on top”; one must be either the hammer or the anvil. If a person cannot be a hammer, then he is an anvil. She does not want to become an anvil. We should make clear to her that we gain much more in life with social feeling than by having people fight with one another. We must show her how her mistakes occurred in order to explain the delusion under which she lives when she assumes that she can never catch up with her sister, and, therefore, has to find ways to torment the sister whom she believes to be her superior in this race. We need to point out to her that because she is always tense, she cannot do well in school and make friends. Our task becomes to carry out the function of the mother: first, to win her over; then, to try to expand that affection toward others. We must help her win friends. We must try to help her stand out in school by becoming a better student who excels in schoolwork.

Part 2: The Education of Children (1930)

In Chapter I: Introduction, Adler begins by stating that the problem of education is one of self-knowledge and rational self-direction. Obviously, with children the proper guidance becomes crucial. In providing that guidance, “the great obstacle is ignorance. The adult has difficulty enough knowing himself, the cause of his emotions, his likes and hates, in short, understanding his own psychology. He has even more difficulty understanding children and guiding them on the basis of proper knowledge. IP is especially concerned with the psychology of children, both for its own sake and for the light it sheds on adult traits and behavior. And unlike other psychological approaches, it allows no gap to exist between theory and practice.”

“The doctrines and methods of IP hang together as an organic whole. In this opening chapter, I will attempt to present the viewpoint of IP as a whole, and treat the various interrelated problems introduced here at fuller length in later chapters.” Adler then reviews the key aspects of IP: the purposive striving of the psyche toward a goal which promises “greatness, perfection, and superiority”; the subjective nature of that goal and its accompanying lifestyle, which leads to inevitable mistakes; the inherent feeling of inferiority and the dynamic of psychological compensation; the crucial importance of social feeling; entering school as the first test of social feeling; how the individual's response to the main life tasks of friendship, work, and love reveal his “general style of life and particular goal.”

“All these factors are closely interconnected and influence one another, forming an organic and unbreakable unity – a unity that cannot be broken until we discover the fault in construction and accomplish a reconstruction.”

In Chapter II: The Unity of the Personality, after pointing out that the individual's pattern of personality is established very early, creating a unique style of behaving which will characterize all his movements, Adler explains the futility of asking a child why he misbehaves. “When we ask a child why he is lazy, we cannot expect him to know what we must know, i.e. the fundamental connection between his mistaken thinking and his behavior. Neither can we expect him to tell us why he lies. For thousands of years, Socrates, who understood human nature so well, has spoken in our ears: 'How difficult it is to know one's self!' By what right, then, can we demand that a child answer such complex questions, which even psychologists have difficulty answering? To be able to understand the significance of individual expression presupposes having a method for understanding the whole personality. Understanding means more than merely describing what a child does and how he acts; it means understanding his attitude toward the tasks which lie before him.”

Furthermore, understanding the individual's attitude requires the recognition that it has developed based on his interpretation of a situation, not on the objective facts or circumstances themselves. “The remarkable aspect of our psychic life is that our point of view determines the direction we take, not the facts themselves. This principle is extraordinarily important, inasmuch as all our activities are regulated and our personality is organized on the basis of it. A classic example of the effect of subjective ideas in human action is furnished by Caesar's landing in Egypt. As he jumped ashore, he stumbled and fell on the ground, which the Roman soldiers took as an unfavorable omen. Brave as they were, they would nonetheless have turned around and gone back, had not Caesar thrown out his arms and announced, 'I embrace you, Africa!' We can see from this example how little the structure of reality is causal, and how its effects can be molded and determined by an organized, well-integrated personality.”

In Chapter III: The Striving for Superiority and Its Educational Significance, Adler says that we all strive for superiority and success. “This striving directly relates to the feeling of inferiority, for if we did not feel inferior, we would have no desire to improve the immediate situation. The two problems – the desire for superiority and the sense of inferiority – are really two aspects of the same psychological phenomenon, but for the purposes of exposition, we will treat them separately.”

This urge to assert ourselves is common to both children and adults. “The feeling of degradation and depreciation, the mood of uncertainty and inferiority, always lead to a desire for reaching a higher level in order to obtain compensation and completeness.” Problems occur when the child's natural sense of inferiority, being “too small in a too-big world,” becomes exaggerated, which can happen as a result of many factors. The greater his felt sense of inferiority, the higher and more unrealistic his compensatory goal will be. This striving for superiority can relate to striking character traits, such as envy, wishing his competitors evil, malevolence, vindictiveness, and angry outbursts. For these children, any test is painful, because their perceived worthlessness might be exposed.

Some children become so ambitious in their compensatory striving that they arrange their lives to surpass all others. They resent the success of others, having headaches, stomachaches and other ailments when others excel. The more insecure they believe their position to be, the more unpleasant they find contact with their peers. They may also feel burdened by the expectations of their family. “Gaining no satisfaction from accomplishing the task itself, over-ambitious children care only about the end result, which is the recognition of their success. We see the result everywhere in the number of people dependent on the opinion of others.”

“Some children whose striving for superiority originally took the form of ambition relinquished this ambition as unattainable because another child had already gotten so much further ahead. Many teachers follow the practice of treating children who do not manifest sufficient ambition severely, or giving them bad grades in order to arouse their dormant ambition. Occasionally, this method succeeds if the child still has some courage left. However, we do not recommend this method for general use. Children already close to the danger line in their studies become completely confused and are driven into a state of apparent stupidity by such treatment.”

The fate of the child and the adult he will become lies, to a great extent, in the hands of the teacher. Only teachers trained in IP have the ability to correct a child's mistaken style of life and re-direct his goal to ensure “that he plays his individual role harmoniously in the orchestral pattern of society.”

In Chapter IV: Directing the Superiority Striving, Adler focuses on laziness and stuttering as manifestations of the superiority striving in children. On the surface, so-called lazy children seem to lack ambition or any striving for superiority. On the contrary, however, their laziness “buys” them the prize they desire: center stage; parents and teachers pay extra attention to them. Also, they gain certain advantages: people tend to expect little from them; small accomplishments gain them great praise; and they content themselves with “the recognition that they could accomplish anything, if only they were not lazy.”

Stuttering is another example of the striving for superiority diverted into a useless direction. Often, stutterers show no trace of difficulty when angry; or as they grow older, when reciting or in love. “The crucial factor lies in their relationship to others.” As with laziness, stuttering usually gains greater parental attention, except now the extra attention causes the child to become more self-conscious about his speech, thus aggravating the problem. “Children are especially content to lean on others, maintaining an advantage by a seeming disadvantage.” As with all expressive movement, laziness and stuttering have a purpose which suits the individual's lifestyle and goal.

“How frequently apparent disadvantages may be turned to advantage is illustrated in one of Balzac's stories. He tells of two tradesmen who tried to get the best of each other in a bargain. While they were thus bargaining, one of them began to stutter. The other one noticed, quite surprised, that the stutterer won enough time with his stuttering to think before making his point. Searching quickly for a counter-weapon, he suddenly made himself unable to hear any more. The stutterer was then at a disadvantage, because he had to strain himself in order to make the other one hear. Equality was thereby re-established.”

In Chapter V: The Inferiority Complex, Adler explores further the root of an excessive, misdirected striving for superiority: the exaggerated feeling of inferiority. This inferiority complex “necessarily seeks easy compensations and specious satisfactions, while at the same time obstructing the road to successful accomplishment by magnifying the obstacles and decreasing the supply of courage.” This “vicious circle of a neurotic inferiority complex” is demonstrated by the symptom of stuttering; discouragement is partly responsible for the stuttering, and the stuttering increases the individual's discouragement.

Children can find innumerable weapons to use when they do not feel they can succeed on the strength of their ability. Because their discouragement is the root of the problem, we must begin treatment “by increasing their courage and getting them to believe in their own strength and ability.” With friendliness, encouragement, and various strategies, we must bring them to have faith in their own abilities. “The worst mistake in the education of children is for the parent or educator to prophesy a bad ending for a child who has strayed on the wrong path. Such a stupid prophecy makes the situation infinitely worse because it increases the child's cowardice. We should do just the opposite: inspire the child with optimism. As Virgil said, 'They can because they think they can.'”

“When a child is robbed of his faith in the future, he withdraws from reality and builds up a compensatory striving on the useless side of life. An educator's most important task, we might almost say his holy duty, is to ensure that no child is discouraged at school and that a child who enters school already discouraged regains his confidence in himself through his school and his teacher. This goes hand and hand with the vocation of the educator, for education is possible only with children who look hopefully and joyfully to the future.”

In Chapter VI: The Development of the Child: Preventing the Inferiority Complex, Adler states, “Obviously, children do not have sufficient intelligence to judge their situations correctly. What determines the development of the child is neither his own intrinsic ability nor the objective environment, but the interpretation that he happens to make of the external reality and his relationship to it. The potential a child brings into the world is not of primary importance, nor is our adult judgment of his situation of any importance. We must see the child's situation with the eyes of the child himself, and interpret it logically, according to adult common sense, but we must be ready to recognize that children make mistakes in interpreting their own positions. Indeed, we must remember that the education of children would be impossible if they did not make mistakes. We could not possibly educate or improve a child if the mistake he made were innate. Consequently, he who believes in innate character traits cannot and should not educate children.”

He then reviews the many possible situations that can lead to a feeling of defeat or inadequacy, such as organic deficiencies, illness, difficulties with school subjects, pampering, and neglect. These and a number of other influences may lead a child to misinterpret his position, undervalue himself, and pursue a compensatory, useless goal.
Finally, he systematically discusses how each item in the IP Questionnaire (found in Chapter XV of Volume 11 of The CCWAA) helps in our investigation of a child's history, strengths, and weaknesses.

In Chapter VII: Social Feeling and the Obstacles to Its Development, Adler begins by pointing out that “the desire for supremacy and the feeling of social-mindedness rest on the same basis in human nature. They both express a root desire for affirmation; they differ in their form, and their different forms involve different implicit judgments about human nature. Thus, the unique striving for supremacy involves a judgment that the individual can do without the group, while the feeling of social-mindedness involves a belief in a certain dependence on the group. Of the two views of human nature, social feeling is clearly superior to the egotistical striving. The former represents a useful, socially logical outlook, while the latter, although common, represents a useless, selfish outlook.” Thus, IP is built on a practical, optimistic foundation.

In reviewing the obstacles to the development of social-mindedness, Adler uses the example of speech. Whereas we tend to assume that children who speak well are more talented than those who do not, in reality, difficulties in speaking reflect deficiencies in social feeling. “Children who do not learn to speak well are frequently spoiled children, for whom their mothers do everything before the children have time to ask for anything. These children do not need speech. Some children are reluctant to speak because their parents never permit them to finish a sentence; others have been laughed at or ridiculed, and thereby discouraged. In one case, a child could speak and hear, but his parents were both deaf and dumb. He cried without making any sound when he hurt himself. He needed to let his parents see his pain, but he knew making his suffering audible was useless.”

Discouragement is the primary obstacle to the development of social feeling. “If we constantly tell a child that he is bad or stupid, he will become convinced in a short time that we are right and he will not have sufficient courage thereafter to tackle any task presented to him. He then fails in whatever he tries to do. The belief that he is stupid takes firmer root. He does not understand that the environment originally destroyed his self-confidence and that he subconsciously arranges his life to prove this fallacious judgment correct. His attitude shows his depressed frame of mind, which is in direct proportion to the amount of pressure exerted upon him by an unfavorable environment.” However, while this influence creates a high probability for discouragement, it is not causal. Some children are able to transcend negative factors at home by responding to more positive influences at school or elsewhere.

The child's social feeling must be developed during the first four or five years of his life, because by the time he is five, his attitude toward himself and others is so fixed and automatic that it will direct his movements for the rest of his life. “He is caught in the trap of his private perspectives and repeats unceasingly his original mental patterns and the resulting actions. Social feeling is limited by the boundaries of the individual's mental horizon.”

In Chapter VIII: The Child's Position in the Family: The Psychology of the Situation and the Remedy, Adler states that “children develop in accordance with their unconscious interpretation of the position they occupy in relation to their environment.” This interpretation leads them to formulate a set of rules which will regulate all their conduct and reactions. Because this set of rules, or life style, is unique for each child, treating all children in school in the same way is often ineffective.

“Obviously, a child should have some imagination as well as a willingness to accept reality, but we must not forget that children do not regard these things as simply as we do and tend to divide the world sharply into two extremes. Most important, they tend to divide everything into opposites (above or below, all good or all bad, clever or stupid, superior or inferior, all or nothing). Adults also use this same antithetical scheme of apperception. Ridding ourselves of this type of thinking is difficult; for instance, thinking of hot and cold as opposites when we know scientifically that the only difference is in the degree of temperature.”

“Even today, almost every amateur philosopher tries to measure values by means of opposites. Some of them have established tables – lifedeath, above-below, and finally, man-woman. The present, childish division of everything into opposites and the old philosophical scheme of apperception are strikingly similar, and we may assume that adults accustomed to dividing the world into sharp contrasts have retained their childish way of thinking.”

“People who live according to such an antithetical device have a formula which can be expressed by the maxim 'all or nothing.' Of course, human beings cannot have either all or nothing. A thousand and one gradations exist between these two extremes. We find this formula primarily among children who have a deep feeling of inferiority and become inordinately ambitious as a compensation.” While there are no rules for how to make great leaders out of children, we must never approach them harshly, but constantly encourage them, “and always try to offer them an appealing, manageable picture of reality, so they do not create a gap between their fantasies and the world.”

In Chapter IX: The New Situation as a Test of Preparation, Adler points out that because psychic life is a unity, “all expressions of personality at any one time fit together on a continuum.” Any new situation, such as entering school, reveals a child's hidden character traits in a way that familiar situations do not. If the child misbehaves, or seeks significance on the useless side of life in a variety of possible ways, and we punish him for it, we punish him for his lack of preparation and for making mistakes in his interpretation of his environment. We also confirm his belief that he is correct in rebelling against expectations. His mistakes may be childish, but they are not surprising, and we see individuals continue to make the same mistakes in adult life. As Adler has said, “Punishment is worse than useless.”

In his emphasis on how every aspect of an individual's character reflects his psychological movement, Adler takes a singular approach to understanding the personality in general, and problem children in particular. “The interpretation of gestures and subtle forms of expression is an almost unexplored field. One form of expression may have different meanings on different occasions and two children can do the same thing without having it mean the same. Furthermore, the forms of expression in problem children vary even when they arise from the same psychological cause. In short, many roads exist to any specific goal.” “We cannot speak here of right or wrong from the point of view of common sense. Children make a mistake because they have a mistaken goal. Consequently, what follows as the result of striving to achieve this goal is also mistaken. Although we have innumerable possibilities for making mistakes, only one correct path leads to productive, socially useful living.” Hence, while IP focuses on the uniqueness of each individual, child or adult, it evaluates and helps to guide the development of that individual based on a universal standard: the values of courage, independence, and social feeling.

Adler then discusses how particular questions in the IP Questionnaire (found in Chapter XV of Volume 11 in The CCWAA) can help us investigate and assess a child's degree of preparation for new situations.

In Chapter X: The Child at School, Adler comments on different aspects of the potential difficulties involving a child's adjustment to school, and makes some recommendations for prevention. He begins, “Concentration on school subjects depends primarily on the child's interest in his teacher. Part of the teacher's art is to keep a child attentive and to find out when he is not attentive, or is unable to concentrate. Many children come to school without any ability to concentrate. Generally pampered, they are dazed by the presence of so many strange people.” Children need to be won over emotionally to want to cooperate; criticizing and punishing do not change a life style, and only make children “develop a pessimistic attitude” about school.

In order to help children succeed, Adler suggests making instruction as interesting as possible. For instance, arithmetic and geometry can be taught “in connection with the style and structure of a building and the number of people that can live there. Some subjects can be taught together. We have experts who know how to teach the interrelationships of subjects. They take a walk with the children and find out that they are more interested in certain subjects than in others. They learn to combine instruction; for example, instruction about the plant with the history of the plant, the climate of the country, etc. In this way, they not only stimulate interest in subjects which would otherwise be uninteresting to the child, but they also give him a coordinated, interconnected approach to things, which is the final aim of all education.” Again many years ahead of his time, Adler thus anticipates the modern “child-centered” and “interdisciplinary” approaches to education.

Because the final challenge rests with the teacher, who has the “sacred, fascinating task of molding the minds of children,” Adler tried to train teachers in the philosophy and methods of IP. In addition to his own many lectures and publications, he joined with his colleagues to establish child guidance clinics throughout Vienna, which brought together teachers and psychologists to help parents with their problem children. In these clinics, “children have learned courage and the spirit of cooperation. Others, who have not been called into the consultation clinics, have also benefited. When a situation that threatens to become a problem arises in the class, the teacher will propose that the children talk the matter out. Of course, the teacher directs the discussion, but the children participate and have full opportunity for expression. They begin to analyze the causes of a problem – say, laziness in the class. By the end, they will reach some conclusion, and the lazy child, who does not know that he is the intended target, will, nevertheless, learn a great deal from the discussion.”

In Chapter XI: Influences From Outside, Adler points out that IP is both individual and social; “it does not concentrate on the individual mind to the exclusion of the environment which stimulates the mind, or on the environment to the exclusion of its significance to particular minds.” Parents and educators are not the only educators of children; many influences shape them both directly and indirectly. These influences cannot be avoided; therefore, we need to be aware of them.

Adler then describes the nature and potential effect of these influences: the family's economic circumstances; the family's “social atmosphere,” characterized by cooperation and friendliness, or suspicion and hostility; family prejudices concerning nationality, race, and religion; childhood sicknesses and their consequences; types of books and toys, which should avoid weapons, war games, and war heroes, in favor of stimulating cooperation, construction, and creativity. Also, children should be taught to consider animals not as toys but as companions “who feel and experience pain similar to human beings. Proper comradeship with animals may be regarded as a preparatory stage for social cooperation with people.”
Finally, while Adler acknowledges that beauty is a gift of nature, he objects to the overvaluation of it in our civilization: “The only way to combat the ravages of this cult of beauty is to teach children that health and the ability to get along with our fellow beings are more important than beauty.” Obviously, beauty has value, but we should not promote it as a supreme goal. “We can conclude that beauty is not sufficient for a rational and good life by observing how many extremely handsome boys, as well as ugly ones, become criminals. The handsome boys knew they were handsome, so they thought everything would come their way. Therefore, they were not properly prepared for life.” We might say that beautiful girls often make a similar mistake of exploiting the unearned attention they receive, rather than earning recognition for useful accomplishments.

In Chapter XII: Adolescence and Sex Education, Adler tells us that adolescence is an important topic, “but for a different reason than most people imagine.” In the first place, not all adolescents are alike, and we “find adults and even old people who look and act like adolescents. From the point of view of IP, this is not surprising, and it means that these adults have stopped at a certain stage of development. In fact, for IP, adolescence is simply a stage of development through which all individuals must pass. We do not believe that any stage of development, or any situation, can change a person. But it does act as a test – as a new situation, which brings out the character traits developed in the past.”

Adolescence allows us to read an individual's style of life better than ever before because he is “nearer the front lines of life” than in childhood. His response to the main tasks of friendship, work, and love become clearer, as he is given more responsibility and freedom. “If a person really knows a particular child, he can predict how he will behave in the period of adolescence, when he is given opportunities to express himself more independently than in the period when he was watched, guarded, and restricted.”

“One of the best preventives for the trouble of adolescence is the cultivation of friendship. Children should be good friends with one another, with members of the family, as well as with people outside the family. The family should be a unit in which everyone trusts each other. The child should trust his parents and his teachers. Indeed, the only type of parent and teacher who can continue in his capacity as guide to the adolescent is one who has previously been a friend and sympathetic fellowman. A child will immediately shut out any other kind of parent or teacher during this period, not sharing any confidences with him, and even regarding him as a complete outsider or enemy.”

“Another aspect of adolescence is that every child, at some point, feels the need to prove that he is no longer a child. Of course, this is a treacherous feeling, for every time we feel the need to prove something, we usually go too far. This is indeed the most significant symptom of adolescence. And the way to counteract it is by explaining to the youth that he does not have to convince us that he is no longer a child; we do not need proof.”

“The real problem of sex education is not merely explaining to children the physiology of sexual relationships; it involves the proper preparation of the whole attitude toward love and marriage. This is closely related to the question of social adjustment. If a person is not socially adjusted, he will make a joke out of the question of sex and look at things entirely from the point of view of self-indulgence. This happens of course all too often, reflecting the defects of our culture. Women have to suffer because in our culture, men play the leading role. But the man also suffers because by means of this fictitious superiority, he loses touch with the core sense of human values.”

In the matter of sex education, as in all other phases of education, what matters most is “the sense of cooperation and friendliness within the family. With this cooperation, and with an early knowledge of the sex role and of the equality of men and women, a child is well prepared for any dangers he may face.”

In Chapter XIII: Pedagogical Mistakes, Adler advises that “In raising children, parents and teachers must never allow some things to discourage them. They must not despair because their efforts do not achieve immediate success; they must not anticipate defeat because the child is lethargic, apathetic, or extremely passive; nor must they permit themselves to be influenced by the superstition that some children are gifted or ungifted. IP claims that the effort should be made to stimulate the mental capacities of all children by giving them more courage, more faith in themselves, and the belief that difficulties are not insurmountable obstacles, but problems to face and conquer. These efforts will not guarantee success, but the many successful cases more than compensate for the less successful ones.”

He then presents the case of a twelve-year-old boy to demonstrate how a series of pedagogical mistakes can seriously impact the development of a child. Because of rickets, he could not walk until the age of three, and could speak only a few words. When he was four, a psychologist told his mother that the boy was hopeless. Developing slowly, he did poorly in school, received low grades, and made little contact with others. By the time Adler saw him, he was still wetting himself and unable to control his bowel movements.

In further investigating the boy's history, Adler learned that an older brother was quite successful in school “without even studying.” This older brother called the younger one “a fool or an idiot,” and kicked him when the latter did not obey him. The mother had given up on him as hopeless, and the older brother treated him with contempt. Clearly, this twelve-year-old had lost all faith in himself, and suffered from an intense inferiority complex. In his compensatory striving for superiority, his only refuge was to cling to the past, when he was a baby – hence, the lack of control over his bladder and bowels, and his passivity.

Adler conferred with the boy, his brother, mother, father, governess, and teacher, attempting to explain his interpretation of the boy's situation and his recommendations. Because he could not win over the teacher to take a different view of the boy, he concluded that the boy's interest would best be served by moving him to a new school where, at least, he could make a fresh start. Having a teacher trained in IP might have saved this child from considerable suffering.

In Chapter XIV: Educating the Parent, Adler advises teachers on how to handle the parents of problem children. “Many teachers have remarked that approaching the parents of a problem child is often more difficult than approaching the child himself. Consequently, a teacher must always proceed tactfully. He must act on the assumption that the parents are not responsible for all the bad qualities the child shows. After all, parents are not trained educators, and they usually have only tradition to guide them. When they are summoned to school because of their children, they come feeling like accused criminals. Such a mood, revealing as it does some inward consciousness of guilt, demands the most tactful treatment from the teacher. Therefore, the teacher should try to change the parents' mood to a friendly, freer one, placing himself at the disposal of the parents as an assistant and relying on their good intentions.”

“Suggestions to parents should not be made in an authoritative manner. The sentences should always include 'perhaps,' 'probably,' 'possibly,' or 'you might try it this way.' Even if we know exactly where the mistake is and how it should be corrected, we should never point it out to the parents bluntly, as if we want to force them.” Obviously, this style of counseling requires considerable tact, patience, and practice.

“Many parents do not want to hear any suggestions. They are astonished or indignant, impatient and hostile, because the teacher has placed them and their child in such an unpleasant situation. Such parents have usually been trying for some time to close their eyes to their child's faults, to blind themselves to reality. Suddenly, their eyes are forcibly opened for them. Many parents go even further. They meet the teacher with a verbal tide of indignation, making themselves unapproachable. In such cases, the teacher does better to show them that he needs their assistance; he must quiet them and bring them to the point of speaking in a friendly manner. We must remember that parents are often so entangled in the meshes of traditional, antiquated methods that they cannot free themselves quickly.”

“Pedagogical work requires practice and courage, as well as the unshakable belief that no matter what the circumstances, we can always find a way to prevent a child from becoming discouraged. First, it is never too early to start. Someone who regards a human being as a unity and symptoms as part of that unity will be able to understand and help a child far better than someone who seizes on a symptom and treats it according to some rigid scheme – such as a teacher who, when a child has failed to do his homework, immediately writes a note about it to the child's parents. The important thing to remember is that a single behavior has no meaning when detached from the personality as a whole, and we can understand it only when we study it in connection with the rest of the human being.”

Chapter XV: An Individual Psychology Questionnaire: For the Understanding and Treatment of Problem Children, Drawn up by the International Society of Individual Psychologists is a fifteen-item, comprehensive questionnaire designed to uncover all relevant material about a child's history, in order to help uncover and treat his life style and goal.

Chapter XVI: Five Case Histories With Commentaries deals with five problem children: 1) a fifteen-year-old boy who is disobedient; 2) a ten-year-old boy with a speech defect; 3) an eleven-year-old boy with a high I.Q. who makes little progress in school; 4) an eight-year-old boy who has repeated every grade in school and talks baby talk; and 5) a tenyear-old adopted girl, now having school difficulties in New York, whose family left Germany two years ago, where she was doing well.

Volume 12 - The General System of Individual Psychology:
Overview & Summary of Classical Adlerian Therapy & Current Practice

“The General System of Individual Psychology” is an unpublished manuscript by Alfred Adler that was discovered in the Library of Congress. The thirteen undated lectures, identified as “chapters,” form a complete series that Adler presented in English, probably in New York City, at some point later in his career. This final volume in The CCWAA covers the great range of topics Adler addressed from 1898 to 1937.

Chapter I: Unique Goal of Overcoming . Striving of Life to Overcome: “Clearly, we focus on movement. We can understand only that which we see in movements. The approach toward other individuals, the movement in regard to occupation and work, and the shifting relationship between the sexes are the great problems of mankind.”

The Pull of a Creative Goal: Our “impressions from the outside, the environment, and our experiences do not lead us. We merely use them. Who is using them? This master of assimilation is the part of life we call the creative power. This creative power, the foundation of a striving life, must be considered as much more important than our capacities, what we inherit, or the impressions we receive.”

Artistry to Find Uniqueness: “We must use rules only for enlightening the field. But we must be sure that in considering this field, the psyche and the mind of an individual, we always find a uniqueness, something never entirely identical to another person. Psychology cannot use measures, numbers, types and rules; we must combine an artistic ability with science and our own experience. Then, after we are sure of finding a distinct personality with our artistic ability and scientific experience, we have to prove over and over again that we are on the right track.”

Reading Movement in a Direction: “The meaning of life for a person must agree with his direction. His attitude toward things, problems, and other people must agree with the direction in which he is moving. Therefore, IP is a careful science, very skeptical about itself, never resting, and never content before finding agreement in many points, for instance: in thinking about understanding life, dreaming, in remembering, how to behave toward the family, toward other people, toward the problem of friendship, toward work and occupation, how to cooperate with others, and how to behave toward the other sex.”

Social Interest: “Intelligence, rightly called common sense, means to understand things, persons, and problems. Therefore, understanding is not a private matter, in spite of the many people who try to understand things for their own behalf, to understand how they can be applied merely to themselves and not in an objective manner. We see again, not only that the functions of seeing, listening, and speaking form the foundation of understanding, but also that our understanding can be developed correctly only if it is based on a sufficient degree of social interest.”

In applying our understanding to case diagnosis, “The science of IP presupposes a great capacity for guessing. This is a difficult problem in psychology. We cannot count on things and facts which can be grasped, seen, or felt immediately. All of what we want to find out lies under the surface; therefore, psychology is a challenge of imagination, speculation, and even fantasy.”

“Merely to see, order, qualify, and characterize all the facts and things we can grasp is no science. Science begins at the point where we can look beneath the surface, finding underlying lines which combine the details leading to a certain point, finding the coherence of the common denominator among all the parts we have in our hands, so that at last we find a typical rule as we have always found in all the sciences. Medicine is also based on imagination. Law and all the professions cannot be carried on if a person looks merely at the surface and what he can see immediately. He must find out more, the connections and overall coherence.”

Chapter II: Striving Toward Ideal Form. Single Unifying Goal: An individual's goal could “include cooperation and contribution toward the welfare of mankind. Other directions might include: to be more than others, to dominate, to tyrannize others, or to be supported by others, to exploit the contributions of others, or as we often find, merely to avoid a defeat, not to solve problems but to escape, to retreat from every problem. These general ideas of goals of completion differ in each personality. Even if you have these general principles in your mind and you can use them, you have not understood IP if you merely understand the general principles. You must find the uniqueness in each individual.”

Striving From Minus to Plus: “We look for the expressions of an individual as if he is trying to move from a minus situation toward a plus situation. If a person thinks and feels that he is in a minus situation, then he is in a minus situation; this feeling I have called the feeling of inferiority. This is a common feeling of every human being which accompanies him throughout his life. It can be a worthwhile stimulus. It constantly drives mankind to improve its culture.”

“This feeling of inferiority arises again because we continually face problems; we always have difficulties in life which we have to overcome. These problems and difficulties provide the reason for the development of each individual. Because we are constantly striving to overcome difficulties, this goal of completion as a fictitious plus situation is also a goal of superiority, so that we can say that each individual strives for a goal of superiority in order to overcome his feelings of inferiority.”

Creative Power: “Many examples show that inheritance and environment do not help us understand the development of an individual, his personality, and his style of life. We must look at his creative power, how he uses what he has accepted from nature and his environment. This creative power is the key to helping us understand an individual, so we must pay attention to it.”

Movement in Time and Space: “Movement is something that occurs in time, in the passing moment, which without our understanding would disappear. We like to fix movement for our own security, to use it, not only in the passing moment or in the present, but forever. For instance, mankind had to invent writing and printing, so that what had once been movement cannot disappear. What happens at this point? Movement becomes frozen, and this frozen movement becomes form. So when in our discussion we speak about the style of life, we must remember movements always lie behind it.”

Art of Guessing: “This guessing ability can be developed only if a person has a training opportunity. It is part of a person's creative power, which helps us advance. We constantly face new situations and variations of old situations, where conditioned, fixed reflexes cannot help us find solutions. We must be able to guess.”

Compensation for Felt Deficiency: A child's burden of suffering from imperfect organs “means a greater stimulus to go ahead, but when a child establishes his goal of completion in the first four or five years of life, that goal of completion must agree with the burden. His goal of completion must also suffer. When we find this greater feeling of inferiority, this greater struggle in striving to overcome difficulties, we also find a much greater interest of the person in himself, in a hurry to reach an equilibrium.”

Development: “I again want to advise against using any rule or formula in trying to understand an individual. We cannot understand him with a rule or formula because each individual is different, and we find so many variations that nobody would understand it if we gave him a rule, as for instance, for the feeling of inferiority or the striving for superiority. I know some people are relieved to have a rule or formula, but they do not know that these rules and formulas are merely the keyboard of a piano on which a psychologist, someone who wants to understand, must train to play.”

Overcoming Childhood Burdens: In addition to having imperfect organs, a child can suffer from the burden of a mother or her substitute who might fail in two directions: “first, by not being interested enough in the child, and second, by being too interested in the child.” Neither neglect nor pampering help prepare a child for cooperation, courage, and social interest.

“We see serious potential errors in the early years of parenting: how a child can be hampered and narrowed in the development of social interest at the time when he is building up his prototypes, so that through his life he will have merely a small degree of the ability to cooperate. Even so, we do not make this outcome into a rule because a child can overcome parenting mistakes; other circumstances can promote the growth of his social interest.”

Chapter III: Organ Inferiority & Pampering . Organ Inferiority: “When a child comes into the world suffering from imperfect organs, we can understand how he might dislike this new environment. Also, physicians have always known that children who have suffered since birth turn away easily from life, do not like it, and do not give an impression of thriving. They described this observation long before I started IP. I have merely shown statistically and through my experience that among those who resist life, find hostility everywhere, and behave as though life were an enemy, we find a great many who have suffered since childhood from imperfect organs. Although we can find much more, I want to emphasize that this connection between organ inferiority and the life style should not be used as a rule. Some exceptions we can predict and some we cannot because we must consider the creative power of a child.”

“Children who have perfectly normal organs can also suffer when a mistaken routine is used. For instance, if we feed a baby in a mistaken way, he will suffer just as a child with an imperfect stomach would suffer if given the wrong food. We need to sharpen our insight so that instead of seeing superficial symptoms, we can understand underlying relationships.”

“In addition, because a child soon relates food and eating to money, individuals suffering from an imperfect stomach in childhood often show a great interest in making money, and this can be their goal of completion: to be rich. If we look around in our world, we see how often the desire to be rich is connected with stomach trouble. The principle I have explained is the underlying power driving these people to be interested day and night primarily in money-making. We are in no position to judge, but Rockefeller and Morgan suffered from stomach trouble, and Ford has written a book about proper nutrition.”

“If I were to estimate the number of pampered children, I would find nearly eighty percent. Sometimes we meet people who have read many books and know what is wrong with pampered children, yet they cannot resist pampering a child. We can see an egotistical tendency in pampering a child because it originates from a god-like feeling on the part of the pamperer, who has the power of being able to control the child.”

“I should make some distinctions between the two types of pampered children: the passive and the active. The passive group retreats, bothered by everything. These individuals are usually very kind, believed to be good people, soft and gentle, often luring others into pampering them. They have learned how to win other people. These pampered children, as I call them, because of their desire for and attempt to retreat whenever confronted, tend to become neurotic later because neuroses and psychoses are retreats. They want to be with and utilize their family, expressed in neurotic symptoms. We can see these same symptoms as characteristics in their early childhood.”

“If someone flatters such a pampered person, he will do everything for him, because like a moth, he flies toward the light, toward the warmth. Girls and boys who submit so easily to temptation have great difficulties because they can be ruined as easily as they are tempted. These pampered people who are tempted so easily can really be used as tools if somebody understands how to flatter, appreciate, and indulge them.”

“In their early years, active pampered children tyrannize the family, scream, fight, have temper outbursts, and attack the mother, calling her bad names if they cannot get everything they want. Every pampered child with some degree of activity later becomes the tyrant of the family, as a result of his training. He is trained for being the leader, for being the center of the stage, for ruling and commanding from the beginning of life. At first the parents smile and like it, but later they complain and suffer.”

“Although these more active children do not become neurotic, they do not know what to do with this degree of activity when they fail. They want to disrupt the games of others, disturb the class, and quarrel, and then the teacher usually does not know what to do with them. Here we see how these pampered, active children can become delinquents.”

“If we pamper this individual in school or in another situation, in society, occupation, love, or marriage, then he is all right. But life is not established in such a way that we can promise this special treatment. Again and again, in a new situation he cannot stand up because he expects what we cannot offer.”

Chapter IV: Tasks of Life & Difficulties . Social evolution: “Each of us has to strive for a constructive, active adaptation toward life's demands,” without which evolution would not be possible. “Striving is the most important part, and the German poet, Lessing, expressed it once when he said that if the Lord came to him and offered him a choice of the truth or the striving for truth, he would ask Him for the striving.”
Expressive Movement: “Many things working in us are not known in words, but expressed in feelings, and especially in attitudes. It is as if the thoughts which had once existed in a certain fact and experience had evaporated and only feelings, emotions and attitudes remain. Then the task of Individual Psychologists is to guess from the feelings and attitudes what thoughts someone has. We have to suppose, we have to explain what goes on in their minds.”

Interpreting a Life Style: “The most important part of understanding a human being is understanding his movements. I have often said to my students, 'If you do not understand an individual, close your ears; do not listen, just look and see how he moves. Then you will understand him.'”

“Because movement flows from below to above, always striving in each part of mind and psyche for completion, we must find in each point a minus situation and a plus situation. This minus situation is felt as a feeling of inferiority. This feeling of inferiority is part of evolution because in order to advance, to adapt more efficiently to the demands of life, there must be such a minus situation to act as a stimulus.”

Social Interest: An individual “can develop his potential only if he has an interest in life, meaning an interest in others. Social interest is required to face the three major tasks of life: social problems, occupation, and love. We cannot escape social interest. Therefore, our goal, dragging along all our strivings, feelings, movements, expressions, and attitudes, must include social interest.”

“It is the hardest fate for a person to believe he is inferior, so this belief is always covered and veiled. For instance, when a person insists, 'I am suffering from an inferiority complex,' he means to place the responsibility on the doctor to solve his problems. Many, or perhaps the majority of individuals suffering from an inferiority complex, cover it with a superiority complex. This also represents the minus and the plus situation, but in a mistaken, abnormal way; therefore, we surmise there must be something wrong in the goal of completion of such a person, and this mistake must be found. In order to understand someone, we must find his peculiarities and nuances, every aspect of his individuality.”

Adler's Childhood: In telling about his own childhood and its minus situations, Adler describes four major factors. First, at the age of two, he suffered from rickets, which hindered his ability to walk and move. (As soon as he could walk, he spent time outside making many friends in the neighborhood.) Second, he felt bothered by the freedom and superior attitude of his older brother. Third, he realized he had to give up his pampered position as the youngest when the third child, then others, were born. A fourth minus situation occurred when the brother next to him in age died and in that same year, Adler contracted pneumonia. The doctor attending him told Adler's father, “The boy is lost. Do not bother any more about him.” This shock made a deep impression on him. In order to overcome the danger of death, he decided to become a doctor “so that I could understand myself and the nature of illnesses.” Thus, Adler's own history reflects the core principles of IP: the striving from a minus situation to a compensatory plus; overcoming organic deficiencies which results in a focus on movement; the influence of birth order; and the use of the child's creative power to pursue a goal based on courage and social interest.

Chapter V: Child Guidance, Birth Order, & Recollections . Child guidance: “A bad companion can present an obstacle for a child, if he is enticed into bad behavior. This is also a test. A socially adjusted child cannot be enticed. It is not possible, in the first place because it is against his nature, as he would say, and second, he has such a good relationship with his parents that he would talk to them about it. Therefore, these temptations from bad companionship, ugly books, or movies can attract only children who are not socially adjusted, not the others. Nobody should believe that a child accepts everything that he hears or sees. He has a critical attitude, especially if he is socially interested. He uses and exercises his social interest like breathing, and he would feel the temptation of bad companionship like choking. It is a 'dangerous corner' because so many children do not have enough social interest.”

Entering School: “Often parents closely watch a child's grade average in school and talk bout it, forcing the child to move ahead, and worst of all, at meals they will talk relentlessly about any school difficulties. This should be avoided. Even disturbances at meals can be 'dangerous corners.' Frequently, when children are seated at the table with their parents, they are consistently nagged and admonished about their table manners because the parents like to judge the children even at meals. Or they want the children to be silent, while they are critical. This atmosphere is not pleasant for children, and now when everybody works so much, mealtimes are important for maintaining contact with family members. The children should like these times, should want to be present with their siblings and parents, and not wish to run away as soon as possible.”

Birth Order: “Whereas the minus situation of an oldest child appears on the day the second child is born, the minus situation of a second child is different. He is stimulated more and has to run fast to catch up to the older child. This race is expressed in interesting ways. I remember a second child who was seen crying, and when asked why he was crying, said, 'Because I can never be the same age as my brother.' Because of this intense motivation, the second child moves at full steam. Usually we find him energetic, moving, not recognizing power. We can understand why a second child does not respect or worship power, because he wants to overturn it. Often in his mind is the idea: 'Everything can be changed; there are no rules.'”

“This greater energy, as a result of constantly being at full steam, can lead to success or failure. For instance, somebody who was influenced by my views for some time made a record of juvenile delinquents in New York and found a majority of second children among them. This fact can be determined because these second children run faster, as though at full steam, facing more problems and confrontations than other children, and if a person is more confronted it is easier for him to fail. Everything depends on how this second child has developed his social interest, whether he is on the path of cooperation or not.”

Degree of Activity: “We can measure all children in regard to their degree of activity. For example, later in life a neurotic person will show that in childhood he had been more passive. A criminal will show that in childhood he had been more active. Consequently, to prevent mistakes in regard to the position of children, we must know what to do with an only child, or a second child. Although we cannot use a fixed rule or formula, we can and should look for major patterns and personality traits.”

Evaluating Roots of the Life Style in Recollections: “The most important point is although someone believes he is telling us about the past, he is actually revealing his current pattern of behavior. Then we know he has given us a significant part of his main interest in life, his meaning of life, his attitude toward himself, and toward the demands from the outside.” “If a person tells me something he does not understand, for instance, an earliest recollection, he does not know the meaning of it unless he understands IP, but I know it. Therefore, unconsciousness may be interpreted as the not yet understood.”

Chapter VI: Education & Training . Education for the Right Direction: “Education means not only to give good advice and examples, but also to look for how a child uses them. Unfortunately, educators believe that if they teach a child correctly, then he will act correctly.”

“In order to understand his accomplishments, we must see the direction in which he moves for completion, fulfillment, and superiority. The directions vary in a million ways. It would be very difficult to evaluate whether each step a child takes is right; therefore, he must be trained so that he does not consider it unpleasant to be corrected when he makes mistakes.”

Responding to Daily Tests: “From the first day of birth, a child must be made cooperative because he is connected with another person. We have seen clever, intelligent mothers who understood that they should make the child cooperate: not to make trouble all day and night, not to expect everyone to carry him around and feed him whenever he wants to be fed, and not to cry in the night, upsetting the whole family. Better cooperation is the goal of an intelligent mother and it must be achieved creatively.”

“A young child cannot speak; he has no words or concepts about what he experiences and how he responds to these experiences, but he has an understanding which is in his consciousness. He does not know where the feelings inside him come from because he does not have the words to express them. He has only his impressions and feelings; therefore, to change a child's life style, we must verbalize what was going on at the beginning of his life.”

Starting School: When a child starts school, “we can see whether he is interested in others or only in his mother, only in staying home. If he is not socially interested, he will fail, so we must pay the greatest attention to this point in early childhood. Parents frequently overlook these factors and it is not easy to educate them in this way, especially because those parents who need it usually do not want to listen. They are sure they understand their children better than anyone else.”
Tests Later in Life: “Adolescence presents a later test. The terror of all fathers and mothers, adolescence is often considered a time when the devil could be driving the pigs (i.e. all hell is breaking loose), but a child's style of life merely has more possibilities, more power, more opportunities and he is especially stimulated by his desire to prove he is no longer a child. When we want to prove something, we usually go too far. We want to prove it over and over again, leading to the exaggerations in adolescence. But if a child is socially interested, then his exaggerations also would not matter and he would find a healthy direction again. The mistaken path is chosen only by children who doubt their success later and do not want to work for their future, but want to indulge more in having a good time, dreaming, going out at nigh, etc.”

Mealtime: “Mealtime is usually the only time when the family is together, and this together time should be used for increasing social interest. This means that meals are not a time for scolding, nagging, or criticizing, which happens so often that each member is glad when he can escape. At this time, everybody should try to be friendly and interested in each other.”

Main Tasks of Life: “As adults, we face the great problems at the front of life, friendship, occupation, and love, which all require social interest. With the task of love, all people not socially interested have great trouble. They expect from love and marriage only confirmation of their own superiority. They criticize and want to control the other person, not knowing that love is a task for two individuals where both must be interested in each other more than in themselves.”

Chapter VII: Crime, Occupation & Economics . Limits of Social Interest: “The main point to recognize in criminals is that they have not been made cooperative. We can see their lack of cooperation at first glance because what we call a criminal is someone who lacks interest in others, who fights them, and exploits their contribution.”

“We often hear about how criminals work together in gangs, which seems to indicate interest in others. To a certain extent we agree, but the impulse to work together is much greater because they are afraid of each other. If the criminal, for instance, betrays others, he is in danger of his life; it is not social interest to cooperate with others only because he is in danger. This is not what I mean by social interest.”
Occupation: “Criminals have the same tendency against cooperation in regard to occupation. Although they may be trained for a certain job, they are always ready to give it up because they find it very difficult. Courage characterizes a person who feels at home, who feels a part of life, who cooperates, who contributes, who does not escape the solution of the problems of life. As we have seen, a criminal escapes. He is very clever and can jump and run, and for the most serious case, he has a weapon with which to defend himself. He breaks into houses where probably no one is at home, or at least no one dangerous. Is this courage?”

“Perhaps a murderer or a hold-up man is alone. But he always attacks someone whom he is sure to conquer. This cannot be called courageous either. We need to emphasize to the world that crime is a sign of cowardice.”

School: “All children who are not trained correctly in social interest or cooperation, especially the active children, are in danger of becoming criminals. But when does a crime originate? It begins with a tempting situation, and someone more interested in himself than in others can be tempted much more easily. A person used to pampering and getting what he wants is tempted more easily; therefore, all the temptations of life bother such a child or adult much more than others.”

Economics and Society: What are we to do now with the many people whoa are not socially interested? What can be done has also influenced the views of the criminologists, who find more reasons for crime than we do. For instance, they find temptations, that if people are unemployed or if the cost of living is very high, then we have more criminals. But they are wrong because we have seen a major increase in crime in times of prosperity. Prosperity can also cause a person to wonder how he can become rich overnight, a very great temptation for socially unadjusted people.”

“As I see it, obedience among children always replaces independent cooperation. A child's obedience seems to be enough, but it is not. A child should be more. To be trained properly for successful social living, he needs to be independent and cooperative. If the family cannot train him in this way, then the school must do it. We need it. Our greatest need is for more social interest and a higher level of cooperation.”

Chapter VIII: Individual Psychology & Psychoanalysis . Comparison of IP and Psychoanalysis: “First, psychoanalysis started as a sexuallyrooted psychology, which it still is, despite the sexuality being more hidden now. Later it became the drive psychology, and the meaning of psychoanalysis was that each human being has inherited drives, such as a sadistic and a masochistic drive, and these drives create everything.” But, a drive has no goal and no direction. “Therefore, we do not know what a drive actually does. Psychoanalysis tried to help itself by making the drive an ego, with common sense, intelligence, and creative power. IP insists the origin of the entire unified personality is an ego that encompasses everything: consciousness, unconsciousness, drives, feelings, thoughts, while psychoanalysis insists that the personality consists only of drives wanting to be satisfied.”

“Drives want to get, want to fulfill their wishes. This is the world view of pampered children.”

Early Recollections and Neurosis: Commenting on the case of a 30-yearold woman who had dreams of falling, Adler states, “Only someone who feels above can have a dream of falling. A person who feels he is down can never have the impression of falling. It is also interesting that these falling dreams are the most frequent dreams of all. So many falling dreams give us insight into the courage of the average person today, because these dreams mean that people constantly fear what they might lose.”

“What is our system and method of looking at earliest recollections, this metaphysical idea that is frequently beyond all actual experiences? What we hear is mostly empty words and thoughts, not more, and we must bring these empty words and thoughts to life. We must reconstruct the feelings and emotions connected with these thoughts and words. What are the sensations, the emotions and feelings of these earliest recollections?”

Chapter IX: Memory, Fantasy & Dreams . Memory as Part of the Style of Life: “We have no ideas about the impressions occurring during early childhood because as children, we have no words or ideas yet. We cannot say that everything is forgotten. It is as if only the thoughts and impressions have evaporated, but the emotion, feeling, and attitude toward them are left, and we can find out impressions from these attitudes, emotions and feelings. Perhaps we cannot put them into words or ideas, but we can understand the movement of the whole impression, the structure of the thoughts.”

“We can see clearly that memory is really part of the style of life, that it relates to the law of movement of each individual, and that it has activity. If we look back into our past and remember anything, we do not remember it in the way we were impressed at the time. It is especially easy to see ourselves in this remembrance as we have never seen ourselves in reality which means we are continually reconstructing our memory. We have the means for this reconstructing, even though we know nothing about them.”

“Our ability to re-invent the past is evidence of our creative capacities. Understanding the purpose of earliest recollections is not simple or easy, even for a well-trained person. If a therapist is not an Individual Psychologist, he merely sees the keyboard and oversimplifies the task. But to play music on the keyboard is a complex art that requires extensive training.”

Fantasies and Daydreams: “Fantasy is connected with memory, the style of life, and the law of movement of the personality. The fantasy we read or hear seems to be a fixed structure. But it is like all other mental expressions, continually moving toward what a person considers to be his final goal of completion.”

“The weaker a child feels, the higher he will build up his fantasies. So we are usually correct to expect that if a child has very high fantasies and wants to arrive at a very high goal in reality, then he feels weak, useless, and powerless.”

Fantasies of Cruelty: “Some people find emotional upset or fear sexually stimulating. Sometimes they provoke it. For instance, they like cruel and sadistic stories or fairy tales. They even like to be slapped or beaten because this arouses them sexually, which they enjoy. We play into the hands of children of this type if we slap or punish them. They like to be punished.”

“Often, they like not only to be tortured, but also to torture others. These variations include both sadism and masochism, although one tends to be emphasized. Understandably, most psychologies want to eliminate the spanking of children. Spanking always shows that a person does not understand what is going on, does not understand a child's life style, wants to change a symptom and not the whole personality. We cannot change a personality by spanking.”

“Knowing these things helps us be more careful with children who like being punished. Some children will not stop whatever nuisance they are up to until they are spanked. Then they are happy. We must not play into their hands. They may grow up preferring violent fantasies, literature, and entertainment.”

Purpose of Dreams: “Perhaps through dreams of thoughts and pictures we do not understand, we arouse emotions which fool us. We must do this through the dream because we could not fool ourselves as well in thoughts, which tend to be logical and realistic. Therefore, we must fool ourselves by arousing feelings and attitudes useful to our life style, and by not understanding the pictures in our dream.”

“If it is true that we fool ourselves when we face a problem which we cannot solve with common sense, then what means do we use? The best way of fooling ourselves and others is to use comparisons, metaphors, and similar poetic expressions,” similar to a poet's use of metaphor, which does not agree with common sense or reality.

“It is the same as if we are driving a car and we step on the accelerator. We have the same direction and goal, but we have more power now. This is what happens in a dream, which acts like an accelerator to fuel the emotions required by a person's style of life. He would probably do the same without dreaming. But he does it in a more powerful way influenced by the feelings aroused in his dream by using impressions, poetic expressions, and metaphors.”

Chapter X: Dreams, Sleeping, & Preparation . Interpreting Dreams: “A dream is like an intoxication, preparing the dreamer to solve his problems according to his life style, against common sense, and not as he would solve them during the day when he is involved in real life and controlled by the meaning of others.”

Dynamics of Sleep: “We cannot say more than that a human being is so constructed that we are awake during the day and asleep during the night. Otherwise, if there really were a specific reason for sleeping, then we would also have to find a reason for being awake. Now, we cannot go further than to insist that sleep is part of life, and such a significant part that we do not know if sleep is a variety of being awake or being awake is a variety of sleep.”

In many cases of sleeplessness, a person listens to hear noises, dwells on his thoughts, and uses tricks that are mostly useless and keep him awake. “Therefore, in cases of bad sleeplessness, as for instance in depression, we must find out whether a person has really decided not to sleep. We can prove it by means of some incidents, insisting this person is much more interested in how not to sleep.”

We cannot explain everything from a dream if we have no further information. “I want to repeat the golden rule of IP: 'Everything can be different.' An interpretation of a dream must be modified to fit the actual individual.”

Preparation for Life's Problems: “As long as a child of two, three, or four years experiences the fact of war, he cannot feel socially interested. He will think, 'What I hear in ethics, morals, religion, and IP is different from what I find in life. These ideas are not part of life. The people who teach me these ideas must be mistaken. I constantly see hostility in life.”

“Although we have not yet been able to eliminate war and violence, we must teach children that this failure is because we lack a common goal.” The misery of unemployment, and the difference in value attributed to men and women also make a negative impression on children, hindering the development of their social interest. We must teach children that “these hindrances are remainders from long ago which we must overcome.”

Chapter XI: Childhood Prototype & Failures . Degree of Activity: “We must consider a child's degree of activity, which should not be mistaken for courage. Courage is different; it is activity along social lines in the realm of social interest.”

Finding a Useful Place: “A passive child will be seen primarily as an obedient child, and if he is stubborn this stubbornness does not appear very obvious. He shows his stubbornness more in being quiet, in not moving forward, while more active children show their stubbornness in more obvious ways.”
Passive Failures: “Neurosis is a passive failure, in a thousand varieties, but it can be predicted. We find this passivity, for instance, among children who are timid, afraid of the dark, dependent on others, lacking in self-confidence, etc. If children characterized by anxiety, timidity, shyness, and self-consciousness fail, then they become neurotic later. With active children, everything is much more complicated.”

Active Failures: “We have a good clue for understanding the personality by looking for the degree of activity. The failure with the highest degree of activity level is a criminal. Therefore, we need to understand the relationship between antisocial activity in early and later behavior. In many cases of active criminals, we find that they had been cruel for some time. As children, they are sometimes cruel only to animals and later to human beings.”

“We should never overlook the aggression in suicide, which sometimes appears like an accusation against another person, like revenge against somebody, despite our inability to see a high level of activity which would convince everybody that suicide shows activity.”

“Sexual deviations always involve activity, but in many different ways. In a case of masochism, where someone wants to be hit by another person, we do not seem to see much activity. However, a masochist has some degree of activity because he commands another person to hit, suppress, or soil him. He is the boss, he commands; therefore, masochism requires some level of activity.”

The Shock Result: “Another opportunity for understanding the unity of the personality is to look at the shock result which occurs when someone lacking social interest faces a life problem that requires it. Sometimes we find odd people with such a small sphere of activity that they do not move at all. But this is rare because the goal of superiority drags each person along. Each individual is pulled, he has to move, he has to do something, and life constantly challenges him. But his movement is characterized by hesitation; he hesitates, goes later, or goes more slowly. Or we find his hesitating attitude in expressions of the body, in trembling, in blushing, etc. He may hesitate forever, but if he wants to hesitate forever he must justify it, because otherwise he will lose his claim for superiority; he will appear inferior and nobody wants to appear inferior. He must look for an alibi for not moving forward.” “With sufficient material on someone's demeanor and sphere of activity, we will consistently be able to understand his personality. Someone trained in IP does not look for these principles any more. He has them at his fingertips, so he can easily grasp a personality. But in the beginning we need to look for all these points, to ask, “What about social interest? What about the patient's special goal of superiority? What about the degree of activity? What about the way in which he moves ahead?”

Chapter XII: Activity, Traits, Love & Sex . “A style of life can be examined in regard to its sphere of activity. We must have an artistic feeling for imagining the style of life in the right size and shape. But more or less, we can find out how far a person extends his movements.”

“As we might expect, the small sphere of activity has some dangers connected with it. It leaves little room for happiness, for the solution of life's problems, for courage, or for achievement. But the greater sphere of activity also has some danger which comes from the external world where the individual immediately meets the problems of life; the larger sphere contains many more problems to be solved than the smaller one. Therefore, active people with a greater sphere of activity face more risks.”

“Active people with a greater sphere of activity are much more willing to take risks; whereas, we find a lack of energy or a tendency to avoid risks among those with a narrow sphere of activity. A therapist needs this ability to judge activity level in his sense of touch. Often, simply by looking at someone, we can tell if he has a greater sphere of activity or not.”

“We can view all the different movements in general, but we must also train ourselves to understand the uniqueness of each individual. To understand these differences we must really be experienced, and we must also develop our artistic ability, and in this artistic realm, rules or formulas have no value any more. Sometimes we cannot express it clearly; we may have merely a certain impression that something is wrong in regard to courage, work relationships, or the problem of love. This artistic feeling with the intuitive guessing ability must also be trained more, because IP demands not only an academic education, but also an education in artistic sensibility and approach.”
Love, Sex, and Marriage: “Although every individual can potentially be attractive to someone, the specific attraction comes from the other person's style of life.”

“Love requires devotion. Love does not permit the possibility of ruling, dominating, opposing or fighting another person. It means a mutual task for two individuals devoted to each other.”

“A person interested solely in himself, as we find in the majority of pampered children and adults, can not solve the problem of friendship, and will make the same mistake in love.”

“Many people believe that in a matter of love and marriage, one person must dominate. This belief leads to shock results, quarrels, dissension, and protest. These are the signs we find so often in unhappy marriages, unhappy love affairs, and divorce. The structure of love and marriage has not been correctly understood, and therefore the shock results appear.”

“People bring into marriage their old style of life and if this style of life, as usual, is not properly equipped for interest in another person, if one or both do not have the right degree of cooperation, complications, contradictions, and quarrels will inevitably occur.”

If two people cannot agree any more in love and marriage, “their 'reasons' are all merely excuses and subterfuges. The real reason is always that they have never found the way to solve the common task. They never really cooperated; otherwise, love would never end because in healthy love and marriage people are so intimately connected that there is no possibility of separating them.”

“A mutual task, complete equality, devotion to each other, and physical attraction are the structural basis of love. Therefore, marriage, the culmination of love, is a beginning and not a finish of life.”

Sexual Disorders: “In masochism one person submits to another in an ugly degrading way. It also means the submissive partner gives commands to the more overtly aggressive partner as to how to treat him. Both sadism and masochism reveal a deficient social interest within the illusion of dominance over the partner.”

Chapter XIII: Individual Psychology Summary & Philosophy . Meaning of Life: “While every individual has an opinion about what life means, this meaning can be interpreted only from his attitudes toward life and its problems. We cannot ask him for his meaning because he does not know what it is, but he is ruled by it just the same. Therefore, we can say this meaning is a fictional one; he has to create it and usually does not know what it is for hm. If we ask him what he believes the meaning of life is, he will say it has none.”

We need to “find a way of understanding not what meaning life gives a person, but what meaning a person gives to life.”

Looking, Hearing, and Speaking: “We always find it a mistake if someone does not look into the face of another person, but has a downcast look, showing that he has no interest in others. The same principle applies to hearing. Hearing also means to be interested and to connect oneself with the language. Language means connection . . . and mirrors the interest a person has in other people. Someone lacking interest in others speaks in a way which cannot be understood clearly. He does not speak distinctly; he does not speak as he would like to have others speak to him. Also, speech defects often prove that a person lacks proper interest in communicating, cooperating, or contributing.”

“In other words, the three fundamental functions of seeing, hearing, and speaking from the basis of the development of intelligence; also our interpretation and understanding can improve only as much as we are interested in others. Understanding is not a private matter. Consequently, those who live an isolated life and have no friends are behind in intelligence. Social interest alone causes the functions to develop.”

Morals, Ethics, and Social Interest: “So, the main and important mental functions can be developed properly only if a person is interested in others, and for him to use these functions properly, he must forget himself. This forgetting of oneself in work is an important part of success and achievement because if someone cannot forget himself to focus on the work he is doing, in the interest of contribution and cooperation, he lacks the ability to succeed.”

“Personal responsibility can be awakened only if a person has understood the interconnectedness and importance of social interest. Then he will not only be responsible, but later he will also be the master of his fate, and he will pass beyond that style of life which he believes to be the master of his fate.”

“Finally, I want to emphasize this personal responsibility, understanding the whole coherence of the unity of an individual's personality, and his connection with the human race. We cannot save one person or the whole of mankind without increasing social interest. We cannot solve any important problem of a country or of the world without this increase in social interest. The solution will always be found on this point and not on some superficial and artificial enterprises. If we consider carefully all the great problems of life, we will see that only social interest provides the solution.”

Appendix A:
Basic Principles of Classical Adlerian Psychology

Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) developed a rare, holistic theory of psychology, pedagogy, and philosophy of living. His lectures and books for the general public are characterized by common sense. His clinical books and journal articles reveal an uncommon understanding of mental disorder, insight into the art of healing, and inspiration for encouraging optimal human development. Adler's essential principles are as follows.

Unity of the Individual

Thinking, feeling, emotion, and behavior can be understood only as subordinated to the individual's style of life, or consistent pattern of dealing with life tasks. The individual is not internally divided or the battleground of conflicting forces. Each aspect of the personality points in the same direction, toward an unconscious, fictional final goal.

Goal Orientation

One central personality dynamic originates from the growth and forward movement of life itself. It is a future-oriented striving toward a goal of significance, superiority, or success. In mental health, it is a realistic goal of socially useful significance or superiority over general difficulties; in mental disorder, it is an unrealistic goal of exaggerated significance, power, or superiority over others. The natural childhood feeling of inferiority (being “small in a too-big world”), for which we aim to compensate, leads to the creation of a fictional final goal that subjectively seems to promise future security and success. The depth of the inferiority feeling usually determines the height of the goal, which then becomes the “final cause” and organizing principle for all behavior patterns and expressive movements.

Self-Determination and Uniqueness

The unconscious, fictional goal may be influenced by hereditary and cultural factors, but it ultimately springs from the creative power of the individual, and is consequently unique. Individuals are not consciously aware of their goal. By analyzing birth order, repeated coping patterns, and earliest memories, the psychotherapist infers the goal as a working hypothesis. The therapeutic process consists of ultimately making the client's unconscious goal conscious, and encouraging him to move in a more socially useful, and thereby more satisfying, direction.

Social Context

As an indivisible whole, the human being is also a part of larger wholes or systems: the family, the community, all of humanity, our planet, the cosmos. In these contexts, we meet the three important life tasks: occupation, love and sex, and our relationship with other people-all social challenges. Our way of responding to our first social system, the family constellation, may become the prototype of our world view and attitude toward life, solidified as a psychological “style of life.”

The Feeling of Community

Each human being has the capacity for learning to live in harmony with society. This innate potential for social connectedness has to be deliberately nurtured (a crucial, early parental task). Social interest and feeling imply “social improvement,” quite different from conformity, allowing for innovation even through cultural resistance or rebellion. The feeling of genuine security is rooted in a deep sense of belonging and embeddedness within the stream of social evolution.

Mental Health

A feeling of human connectedness, and a willingness to develop ourselves fully so that we contribute to the welfare of others, are the main criteria of mental health. When these qualities are underdeveloped, feelings of inferiority may haunt an individual, or an attitude of superiority may antagonize others. Consequently, the unconscious fictional goal will be self-centered and emotionally or materially exploitative of other people. When the feeling of connectedness and the willingness to contribute are stronger, a feeling of equality emerges, and the individual's goal will be self-transcending and beneficial to others.


Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy, brief therapy, couple therapy, and family therapy follow parallel paths. Clients are encouraged to overcome their feelings of insecurity, develop deeper feelings of connectedness, and redirect their striving for significance into more socially beneficial directions. Through a respectful Socratic dialogue, they are challenged to correct mistaken assumptions, attitudes, behaviors and feelings about themselves and the world. Constant encouragement stimulates clients to attempt what was previously felt as impossible. The growth of confidence, pride, and gratification leads to a greater desire and ability to cooperate. The objective of therapy is to replace exaggerated self-protection, self-enhancement, and self-indulgence with courageous social contribution.

Appendix B:
Classical Adlerian Theory and Practice

by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D. and Martha E. Edwards, Ph.D.

Published in
Psychoanalytic Versions of the Human Condition and Clinical Practice Edited by Paul Marcus and Alan Rosenberg New York University Press, 1998.


Over the half century since Alfred Adler articulated his theory of personality and system of psychotherapy, his ideas have gradually and persistently permeated the whole of contemporary psychology (Ellenberger 1970, 645-648). The shift of psychoanalysis to ego psychology reflected Adler's original thinking and Adler was "hailed by certain psychoanalysts as a precursor of the later developments of psychoanalysis" (Ellenberger 1970, 638). Adler's observation that "human beings live in the realm of meanings" reflects the social constructivist view of human behavior. An early feminist, he held that both men and women suffered from our society's overvaluing of men and undervaluing of women, and he believed the only positive relationship between men and women was one of equality. His earliest work in which he argued for the unity of mind and body was a precursor of psychosomatic medicine.

Even the findings of anthropologists, biologists, and physicists parallel Adlerian concepts. Adler's view of the interconnectedness of all living beings and their natural proclivities toward cooperation has been echoed by anthropologists (Ho 1993; Kim and Berry 1993; MayburyLewis 1972), and biologists (Augros and Stancui 1988; Hamilton 1964; Simon 1990; Trivers 1971; Wilson 1975). His concept of the style of life, where one central theme is reflected in every psychological expression, suggests the concept in physics of the hologram, wherein each part of a whole is an enfolded image of that whole (Briggs and Peat 1989). His concept of the final goal, a fictional future reference point that pulls all movements in the same direction, is similar to that of a strange attractor in chaos theory, a magnetic end point that pulls on and sets limits for a process (Nelson 1991). He believed in the fundamental creative power of individuals and their freedom to choose and change their direction in life; this is very similar to the biological process called autopoesis which is the autonomous, self-renewing, and self-directing nature of all life forms (Nelson 1991).

When sociologists, anthropologists, biologists, mathematicians, physicists, and psychotherapists begin describing remarkably similar dynamics, one wonders if we are on the brink of a new unified field theory. Forty years ago, Alexander Mueller frequently referred to Adler's body of work as "philosophical anthropology," and held that it had the potential for providing the magnetic center that would draw other disciplines together (Mueller 1992).

The scientific paradigm shift and intellectual climate of the 1990's might well be ripe for a re-discovery of Adler's original and full contribution to an understanding of human beings and their relationship to the world. He created an exquisitely integrated, holistic theory of human nature and psychopathology, a set of principles and techniques of psychotherapy, a world view, and a philosophy of living.

In this chapter, we will first describe Adler's view of the human condition and his ideas of personality development, including optimal development. Second, we will outline his explanation of how this process goes astray and results in psychopathology. Third, we will sketch the Adlerian levels of intervention which include not only psychotherapy but also preventive programs in the areas of parenting and education.

The Human Condition and Personality Development

The core of Adler's integrated complex of philosophy, theory, and practice was a vigorously optimistic, humanistic view of life. He offered a value-oriented psychology that envisioned human beings as capable of profound cooperation in living together and striving for selfimprovement, self-fulfillment, and contribution to the common welfare. Indeed, Adler predicted that if we did not learn to cooperate, we would run the risk of eventually annihilating each other. Thus, if we were to distill his view of the human condition into one main idea, it would be the concept of the Social Human, inextricably interconnected with others and all of nature. The central problem that humans face is how to live on this planet together, appreciating what others have contributed in the past, and making life better for present and future generations.

Central Concept: Feeling of Community

Following from his view of the human condition, Adler based his psychology on the central concept of (in German) Gemeinschaftsgefühl. It is a difficult concept to translate adequately and has been translated by the phrases social interest, social feeling, community feeling, and social sense (Ansbacher and Ansbacher 1956, 134). Adler and many of his followers came to prefer the term feeling of community (Bruck 1978). It is a multi-level concept. Individuals may understand and put into practice some levels and neglect the development of others.

If people have developed social interest at the affective level, they are likely to feel a deep belonging to the human race and, as a result, are able to empathize with their fellow humans. They can then feel very much at home on the earth -- accepting both the comforts as well as the discomforts of life. At the cognitive level, they can acknowledge the necessary interdependence with others, recognizing that the welfare of any one individual ultimately depends on the welfare of everyone. At the behavioral level, these thoughts and feelings can then be translated into actions aimed at self development, as well as cooperative and helpful movements directed toward others. Thus, at its heart, the concept of the feeling of community encompasses individuals' full development of their capacities, a process that is both personally fulfilling and results in people who have something worthwhile to contribute to one another. At the same time, the concept denotes a recognition and acceptance of the interconnectedness of all people.

These ideas of Adler's also speak to the current discussion of the relationship between self and society. Unlike others, he saw no fundamental conflict between self and society, individuality, and relatedness, self interest and social interest. These are false dichotomies. The development of self and connectedness are recursive processes that influence one another in positive ways. The greater one's personal development, the more one is able to connect positively with others; the greater one's ability to connect with others, the more one is able to learn from them and develop oneself. This idea has been rediscovered by recent authors (Guisinger and Blatt 1994).

Adler saw the connections among living beings in many different spheres and on many different levels. An individual can feel connected with another, with family, friends, community, and so on, in ever widening circles. This connectedness can encompass animals, plants, even inanimate objects until, in the largest sense, the person feels connected with the entire cosmos (Mueller, 1992, 138). If people truly understood and felt this connectedness, then many of the self-created problems of life -- war, prejudice, persecution, discrimination -- might cease to exist.

The feeling of interconnectedness among people is essential not only for living together in society, but also for the development of each individual person. It has long been well known that if human infants do not have emotional connections with their caregivers, they will fail to thrive and are likely to die.

Furthermore, individuals need to acknowledge their connectedness both to the past as well as to the future. What we are able to do in our lives depends very much on the contributions made in the past by others. A critical question that Adler saw facing each person was, "What will be your contribution to life? Will it be on the useful or useless side of life?"

The title that Adler gave to his system, "Individual Psychology," does not immediately suggest its social foundation. It does not mean a psychology of individuals. On the contrary, Adler's psychology is very much a social psychology in which the individual is seen and understood within his or her social context. Accordingly, Adler devised interventions not only for individual clients, but also for families and schools.

In German, the term Individualpsychologie means the psychology of the unique, indivisible, and undivided person (Davidson 1991, 6). What Adler meant by this is that, first, Individual Psychology is an idiographic science. How an individual develops is unique, creative, and dependent on the subjective interpretations the person gives to life. Second, Adler meant to convey that an individual behaves as a unit in which the thoughts, feelings, actions, dreams, memories, and even physiology all lead in the same direction. The person is a system in which the whole is greater than and different from the sum of its parts. In this whole, Adler saw the unity of the person. In the symphony of a person's behavior, he discerned the consistent melodic theme running throughout. This theme may have many variations in tempo, pitch, or intricacy, but it is nevertheless recognizable. Thus, to understand a person, we must look at the whole person, not at the parts, isolated from one another. After we grasp the guiding theme, however, it is easy to see how each individual part is consistent with the theme.

Development of Personality

How do we come to develop this guiding theme? It is an active and creative process in which individuals attribute meaning to the life experiences they have faced. They construct out of this raw material the subjective reality to which they respond. Thus, they are not passive victims of heredity or environment (not objects) but active constructors and interpreters of their situations (subjects).

This process begins in infancy as children become conscious of felt insufficiencies in the face of normal, everyday tasks, especially when they compare themselves to older children and adults. As a result, they experience what Adler called inferiority feelings, which are the very normal reactions to the awareness of not being able to function in a way that we wish. Adler also described this as experiencing a "minus situation." These feelings become motivation for striving toward what he called a "plus situation."

Individuals strive in this direction because of the "creative power of life, which expresses itself in the desire to develop, to strive, to achieve, and even to compensate for defeats in one direction by striving for success in another. This power is teleological, expressing itself in the striving after a goal, and, in this striving, every bodily and psychological movement is made to cooperate" (Ansbacher and Ansbacher 1956, 92).

Influenced by the German philosopher Hans Vaihinger, Adler held that individuals were not always guided in their actions by reality. They were also guided by fictions, or what they believe to be true, though these beliefs are largely unconscious (Vaihinger 1925). These ideas formed the basis of Adler's concept of the final goal. The final goal is a fictional creation of the individual--an imagined ideal situation of perfection, completion, or overcoming. Movement toward the final goal is motivated by a striving to overcome the feelings of inferiority. Although the final goal represents a subjective, fictional view of the future, it is what guides the person in the present.

In an active, courageous individual possessing a strong feeling of community, the striving toward the final goal to overcome inferiority feelings may be expressed as a life-long movement toward optimal development -- with full realization that there is no end point to this striving. This is quite similar to Abraham Maslow's view of individuals striving toward self actualization -- toward the full realization of their potential (Maslow 1970).

In dealing with inferiority feelings and developing the final goal, the influences of the family (both parents and siblings) as well as external social influences may be critical. Children learn to cope with and/or overcome difficulties in life through the support and encouragement of significant others who promote their development, cooperation, and interdependence. Adler considered the connection with and influence of the mother as the primary factor in the early development of the feeling of community. In our current social structure, fathers and caregivers are also recognized as important influences. With this positive foundation, children are likely to grow up to handle what Adler called the three tasks of life, work, community, and love, in a satisfactory way (Adler 1992a, 16-18). As a result, they are likely to develop the courage and ability to continue their growth and make a contribution to life. If, however, children do not receive the proper encouragement and support and, as a result, their feelings of inferiority become exaggerated, they are likely to be discouraged. They may adopt a final goal that is equally exaggerated to compensate for their deeply felt inferiority. Instead of developing themselves and overcoming difficulties, they pursue a goal of imagined superiority and consequently must avoid real tests of themselves. Their final goal would then be an egocentric one, on the useless side of life, rather than a goal of cooperation with others and a feeling of community. The final goal is the result of a process that is unique to each individual. Two persons with similar feelings of inferiority -- e.g., a deeply felt lack of intelligence -may develop very different goals. One person's goal might be to enlist others in his or service, thus avoiding any tests of intelligence that might be failed. The other's goal might be to outdo all others thereby demonstrating her superior intelligence in all situations.

Adler called an individual's characteristic approach to life the style of life. In various writings throughout Adler's career, he expressed this concept as self or ego, personality, individuality, the unity of the personality, an individual form of creative activity, the method of facing problems, one's opinion about oneself and the problems of life, or the whole attitude toward life (Ansbacher and Ansbacher 1956, 174).

The style of life, then, becomes the way in which individuals approach or avoid the three main tasks of life and try to realize their fictional final goal. In healthy persons, this dealing with the tasks of life is relatively flexible. They can find many ways of solving problems and, when one way is blocked, they can choose another. This is not so for the disturbed individuals who usually insist on one way or no way.

Like others, Adler viewed the first five years of life as central in the development of personality. By that time, children have experienced enough to have adopted a prototype of their goal and style of life, although there can be some modification throughout the rest of childhood and adolescence. After that, these ways of conceiving of both self and the world seem to fashion for us a set of lenses through which we see the world. Adler called this the scheme of apperception. Individual perception, then, is limited, and there will always be a discrepancy between reality and the perception of it. For normal people, this discrepancy is relatively small; for psychologically disturbed people, the discrepancy is much greater.

In an optimal situation of development, adults will win children's cooperation, helping them to develop a sense of significance through contributing to others, minimizing their inferiority feelings, stimulating their courage, guiding them to be active, and helping them feel a part of the whole. These experiences will help children identify and develop their capacities and become cooperative, productive, and satisfied adults. They will be able to see and feel their interdependence with others and be challenged to develop sufficient courage to deal with difficulties, to connect intimately with others, and to improve themselves for the benefit of all. They may eventually be guided by universal values or principles
-- perhaps of justice, beauty, truth, etc. They will be able to use their inferiority feelings as spurs for continued development. They will strive for superiority over difficulties rather than superiority over others. They will have solved the problems posed by the tasks of life in a mutually beneficial way.

This optimal development is different from what is commonly referred to as "normal" or "average." Although many people are reasonably cooperative, they may do just enough in relationships and in work to get by, living without deep commitment and passion and not functioning at their maximum potential. They may be somewhat bored and may endure chronic tension or "stress" without significant emotional or physical symptoms. When they face particularly difficult challenges, they may not have developed their courage and cooperation to the extent that they are able to cope adequately. At that point, they may experience a shock that might trigger psychological symptoms. Examples of challenges that might trigger such symptoms include layoffs, illnesses, marriage, having children, divorce, middle-age, children leaving home, or retirement.

One potential challenge for mental health professionals is to help these "normal" individuals develop themselves to the maximum -- to set an ideal of mental health that is seen as possible and inspiring, and to identify the steps needed to get there. This is described later in this chapter.

Adler's View of Psychopathology

Adler's view of psychopathology is deceptively simple. He conceived of psychological disturbances generally occurring in the presence of two conditions: an exaggerated inferiority feeling and an insufficiently developed feeling of community. Under these conditions, a person may experience or anticipate failure before a task that appears impossible and may become "discouraged." Adler tended to use this term as opposed to terms such as "pathological" or "sick." When individuals are discouraged, they often resort to fictional means to relieve or mask-rather than overcome--their inferiority feelings. What they are attempting to do is bolster their feelings of self by "tricks," while they avoid actually confronting their seemingly impossible difficulties. These tricks may give them a comforting but fragile feeling of superiority.

A man who was pampered a child may give up looking for work, become depressed, and then depend on parents or public assistance for support. Forcing others to provide for him may yield a secret feeling of power and superiority that compensates for his feelings of inferiority. Unprepared for the normal challenges that might lead to failure, he pays the price for his painful depression, but uses it to maintain his passive self-indulgence and protect himself from a real test of his capacities.

A woman who was abused by her father as a child may choose to reject and depreciate all men as vile creatures and never engage in a satisfactory love relationship. She may feel lonely, but she can always feel morally superior to all abusive males who are punished by her rejection. She would rather punish all men for the sins of her father, than conquer her fears and develop the ability to love one man.

At a more extreme level, a profound and devastating feeling of inferiority might lead to a grandiose psychotic delusion of being God.

What all of these situations have in common are adults whose inferiority feelings seem so overwhelming and in whom the feeling of community is so underdeveloped that they retreat to protect their fragile yet inflated sense of self. They employ what Adler called safeguarding devices to do this (Ansbacher and Ansbacher 1956, 263-280).

Individuals can use safeguarding devices in attempts both to excuse themselves from failure and depreciate others. Safeguarding devices include symptoms, depreciation, accusations, self-accusations, guilt, and various forms of distancing. Symptoms such as anxiety, phobias, and depression, can all be used as excuses for avoiding the tasks of life and transferring responsibility to others. In this way, individuals can use their symptoms to shield themselves from potential or actual failure in these tasks. Of course, individuals may be able to do well in one or two of the tasks of life and have difficulties in only one, e.g., in work, community, or love.

Depreciation can be used to deflate the value of others, thereby achieving a sense of relative superiority through aggressive criticism or subtle solicitude. Accusations attribute the responsibility for a difficulty or failure to others in an attempt to relieve an individual of the responsibility and to blame others for the failure. Self-accusations can stave off criticisms from others or even elicit comforting protestations of value from them. Guilt may create a feeling of pious superiority over others and clear the way for continuing harmful actions rather than correcting them. Distancing from tasks and people can be done in many ways including procrastination, avoiding commitments, abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, or suicide.

These safeguarding devices are largely unconscious and entail very real suffering on the part of individuals who employ them. For them, however, the protection and elevation of the sense of self is paramount, and they prefer to distress themselves or others rather than reveal their hidden exaggerated feeling of inferiority.

There are three categories of influences that might stimulate the development of these exaggerated inferiority feelings in children: (1) physical handicaps, (2) family dynamics, and (3) societal influences (Adler 1992a).

Children can either be born with or develop physical handicaps (e.g., deformity, illness) with which they may feel overburdened. The care and attention given to them because of their difficulties may result in their expectation that others should always make their lives easy and keep them the center of care and attention. They may never test their own strengths. The pity or scorn they might also receive may negatively influence their self-evaluations. In any case, their inferiority feelings are likely to become exaggerated.

Family dynamics, including parenting styles and position in the family constellation, is the second category of influences on the development of the inferiority complex. Parenting styles that cause trouble for children are divided into two main categories: pampering, and neglect and abuse. Children who have been pampered have come to expect being the focus of attention and having others serve their whims. They have been trained to take rather than to give and have not learned how to face and overcome problems by themselves. As a result, they have become very dependent on others and feel unsure of themselves or unable to face the tasks of life. Thus, they demand undue help and attention from others. These demands may be expressed through aggression (e.g., commands) or through weakness (e.g., shyness), by positive (e.g., charm) or negative (e.g., anger) means. Furthermore, when pampered children grow up and others no longer do their bidding, they may interpret this refusal as aggression against them, which may lead to their taking revenge on these others.

Children who have been neglected, rejected, or abused have not experienced love and cooperation. They do not know what it means to feel a positive connection to others and, as a result, often feel isolated and suspicious. When faced with difficulties, they tend to overrate these difficulties and to underrate their own abilities. To make up for what they did not receive as children, they may feel entitled to special consideration or compensation. They may want others to treat them well but do not feel an obligation to respond in turn. Remarkably, both pampered and neglected or abused children may have similar expectations as adults. The first group expects the familiar pampering to continue; the other demands pampering as compensation. Both may feel entitled to everything and obligated to nothing.

In addition to the influences of the parents, Adler was one of the first to recognize that children's positions in the family constellation of siblings could affect their development in critical ways (Adler 1992b, 126-132). Being a significant member of the family is important and children may become discouraged if they think they have a disadvantageous position.

For example, oldest children's experience of being "dethroned" by their younger siblings may stimulate them to decide that regaining their power is the most important thing they could do. Later in life, the pattern of striving for pre-eminence may continue at work, where they control subordinates excessively, and at home where they may become domestic tyrants.

Second children, experiencing their older siblings as pacemakers, may respond by continually striving to surpass and conquer them. If this appears to be too difficult, these children may give up and withdraw from the competition. Youngest children have many pacemakers and can become quite ambitious and accomplished, or they may not develop the courage necessary to realize his or her ambitions and remains helpless babies. Only children tend to spend their lives in the company of adults, frequently as the center of attention. As a result, these children may fail to learn how to cooperate with peers.

Of course, Adler realized that the examples listed above are only a few of many possible outcomes. The objective position of the child is not the influencing factor; instead, it is the psychological position and the meaning that the child gives to that position. Thus, two children born several years apart may grow up in ways that are quite similar to those of only children. On the other hand, if parents help their children cope with the unique demands of their positions in the family constellation, and if there is a cooperative rather than a competitive home atmosphere, the children are likely not to develop the characteristics associated with each of the positions.

The third category of influence is the societal factors outside the family that also shape how individuals develop their views of themselves and the world. Adler recognized the school as a dominant influence and spent much of his time training teachers and establishing child guidance clinics attached to the schools throughout Vienna.

Social discrimination on the basis of poverty, ethnicity, gender, religion, or educational level can also exacerbate inferiority feelings. Adler emphasized that it was not just the objective facts or influences that had an impact on the child, but the interpretation the child gives to them. Children who are discriminated against because of physical deformities or socio-economic status, for example, may find maintaining a positive sense of self difficult. But doing so is possible if someone provides sufficient contact, understanding, and encouragement.

Finally, in a way that was far ahead of many others of his day, Adler recognized the destructive influence of our culture's archaic view of men and women. He observed that women were typically devalued and this was a major influence in their exaggerated feelings of inferiority. But he also realized that men, too, were adversely affected. The over-valuing of men often leads to extremely high expectations, and when men begin to see that they cannot meet these expectations, their inferiority feelings also increase. Adler felt that the healthiest arrangement is a recognized equality of value between men and women, which would then result in a higher level of cooperation between them (Adler 1980).

Early experiences, both inside and outside the family, in combination with hereditary attributes and physiological processes, are used creatively by children to form an impression of themselves and life. A final goal of success, significance, and security is imagined and a style of life is adopted to prepare for that goal. Individuals who are not selfpampering or discouraged hold opinions of themselves and the tasks of life that are reasonably close to what Adler called "common sense." These individuals feel connected to one another and have developed their ability to cooperate.

People who do not feel connected to others and have not developed the ability to cooperate will develop a private logic that becomes increasingly more skewed from common sense. This private logic involves an antithetical scheme of apperception that the person uses rigidly to classify self, others, and experience. In child development, an antithetical scheme is related to children's need for security. They quickly slot their perceptions into very simple categories, often based on whether the stimulus is considered "good" or "bad." Under normal conditions of development, however, children gradually develop the ability to perceive the subtle gradations of qualities in themselves and others. Disturbed individuals, however, because of their heightened feelings of insecurity, remain at the more primitive level of an antithetical scheme of apperception. They may, for example, see only the antithetical extremes of absolute stupidity or total brilliance. Thus, if others do not recognize their brilliance, they assume that others think they are stupid. If they are not adored by all, they may feel neglected or humiliated. If they are not totally powerful, then they must be totally powerless.
While the scheme limits the person's ability to make realistic judgments, it does serve the purpose of protecting the person's choice of a final goal and life style. If an individual feels totally powerless, then it is perfectly logical (from the point of view of his private logic) and is seemingly in his best interests to compensate by grabbing all the power he can, even if this harms others. The person ignores or justifies this harm because of his feeling of being totally powerless. In reality, however, he is not totally powerless. But if he recognized this, he would lose the justification or motivation to strive in the direction of the final goal.

Discouraged individuals may function relatively well for some time. Their functioning, however, is based on a pretense of value or significance that emerges from their private ideas which do not hold up in reality. Eventually, their private views clash with reality and lead to a shock--e.g., difficulties in work, friendships, love relationships, or family--which may lead to the development of symptoms.

These symptoms, however, are not the main focus of an Adlerian understanding of psychological difficulties. What is important is how individuals use their symptoms. Symptoms are actually the smoke covering the fire of inferiority feelings. The symptoms create a detour around and distance from the threatening tasks of life, protecting the pretense. Three factors distinguish mild psychological disorders from severe disorders: the depth of the inferiority feelings, the lack of the feeling of community, and the height of the final goal.

In focusing too much on the symptoms, per se, we run the risk of neglecting what underlies the symptoms -- the inferiority feelings. Unless the severity of these inferiority feelings is diminished, the client will continue to use the symptoms like a crutch for an injured, unhealed limb. And until this process is uncovered and resolved, the person may just substitute one symptom for another.

Adlerian Interventions

Adler's contributions to mental health included several levels of intervention. While the art of psychotherapy was his primary work, he also had a major impact on the field of education in efforts to prevent psychological disorders (Adler 1957). Adler started by training parents, but realized that in order to reach the majority of children he needed to switch his focus to teachers. In Vienna he spent a great deal of time lecturing to teachers and demonstrating how to understand and influence children. In addition, he was asked to establish child guidance clinics attached to the schools throughout Vienna. He saw prevention through education as the first level of intervention and as a great investment in the future. Continuing in these efforts, many of Adler's followers simplified some of the ideas for use by teachers and parents (Dreikurs and Soltz 1964; Dreikurs and Grey 1968), thus furthering Adler's influence.

The next level of intervention is counseling. Adlerian counseling is generally time-limited, supportive therapy that is usually focused on specific problems. It leads to moderate insight, attitude change, and behavioral change. Anthony Bruck, an associate of Adler, developed brief counseling to a fine art, including the use of explanatory graphics and charts (Bruck, 1978). Examples of the focus of counseling include parenting, marital relationships, and career choice and development. These interventions can help individuals cope with developmental milestones, life crises, and change points in their lives. The potential for personality change at a deep level, however, lies in psychotherapy.

The overall goal of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy is helping an individual develop from a partially functioning person into a more fully functioning one. Fully functioning means solving each of the areas of life more cooperatively, more courageously, with a greater sense of contribution and a greater sense of satisfaction. To do this, an individual must identify and work toward becoming her best self. In other words, the overall goal of therapy is to increase the individual's feeling of community. This is very practical. It is not merely a matter of gaining insight, but of using that insight to take concrete steps to improve relationships with family, friends, community, and work. In its largest sense, the goal of therapy is not to improve just the client's life; the therapist is working to improve the quality of life for everyone in the client's circle of contact, as well as improving society through the client.

Thus, the first specific goal of therapy is not necessarily fulfilling the client's expectation. The client may want instant, and somewhat magical, relief of symptoms or to continue what he is doing without feeling so uncomfortable. The therapist has to be sympathetic to this desire, but must clarify and establish, as quickly as possible, the cooperative working relationship that is required for genuine improvement of a difficult situation.

Adler suggested that we must provide a belated parental influence of caring, support, encouragement and stimulation to cooperate. By reawakening courage and creativity in the client, a new, unfamiliar feeling of community may develop as he discovers that he has something valuable to offer. Some people have been cared for in a mistakenly indulgent way and have absorbed it, but they have not learned to feel or express a genuine caring for others. These people, although they need to be cared for in a new encouraging way, also need to be challenged to start caring for others in this new way.

Stages of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy

For teaching purposes, Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy can be divided into twelve stages, and within each stage, cognitive, affective, and behavioral changes are gradually promoted (Stein, 1990). At the last three stages, the spiritual domain can also be addressed. The stages reflect progressive strategies for awakening a client's underdeveloped feeling of community. What we must remember, however, is that the actual therapy is very spontaneous and creative and cannot be systematized into steps to which we rigidly adhere. Empathy and encouragement, although emphasized at certain points, are present in every stage of effective psychotherapy. A highly abbreviated overview of the twelve stages follows. (The stages were suggested by Sophia deVries who studied with Adler. They were then developed by Henry Stein)

Stage One: Empathy-Relationship Stage

The initial therapeutic goal is to help the client become a more cooperative person, and this starts with learning to cooperate in therapy. When the client's cooperation is lacking, the therapist can diplomatically point to this. If the client attempts to endorse full responsibility for change to the therapist, the therapist can suggest that the rate of progress will depend on the degree of cooperation between them. Therapists may help in the discovery of some new helpful ideas, but the ideas must be applied to improve a situation. Initially, the client may need to express a great deal of distress with little interruption. In response, the therapist offers genuine warmth, empathy, acceptance, and understanding. To understand the uniqueness of each client, the therapist must be able to "stand in the shoes" of the client and "see and feel" what the client is experiencing. If the client is feeling hopeless, the therapist must be able to feel the client's hopelessness without feeling sorry for her, but then step back and provide hope for change. Thus, the therapist must be able to come close enough psychologically to the client in order to empathize, but withdraw neutrally at some point in order to generate hope and discuss possible improvements. An atmosphere of hope, reassurance, and encouragement enables the client to develop feeling that things can be different.

Stage Two: Information Stage

The therapist gathers relevant information: the presenting problem and its history, the client's level of functioning in the three life tasks, information about the family of origin, early memories, and dreams. Religious and cultural influences may also have significance. When appropriate, intelligence, interest, and psychological testing are included.

The information given always contains a degree of distortion, as well as significant omissions. After studying the parallel patterns of childhood and the present and analyzing the rich projective material in early recollections and dreams, the therapist develops preliminary hypotheses about the inferiority feelings, goal, life style, private logic, and antithetical scheme of apperception.

Stage Three: Clarification Stage

Socratic questioning clarifies the client's core beliefs about self, others, and life. Then the consequences of these beliefs are evaluated and compared with new possibilities. Mistaken ideas and private logic are corrected to align with common sense. The client's ideas must be unraveled to trace how she first adopted them in childhood. A client may have the idea that if his wife doesn't give him what he wants, then she doesn't love him. The therapist might ask a series of questions to illuminate the private logic behind this statement: "Is it your idea that love is only giving you what you want? What if what you want is no good for you? Should your wife give you what is unhealthy for you? Is that really being loving?" These questions will help the client explore the meaning he gives to love and marriage and may come to change his private views of these matters.

Symptoms may serve as excuses for avoiding something that the client is not doing. One way that the therapist can ferret this out is to ask the question: "If you did not have these symptoms, what would you do?" The client's answer is often quite revealing about what she is avoiding.

Stage Four: Encouragement Stage

The therapist cannot give clients courage; they must find it within themselves. The therapist can begin this process by acknowledging the courage in what the client has already done: e.g., coming to therapy. Then therapist and client together can explore small steps that, with a little more courage, the client might take. It is through actually trying new behaviors and realizing that disaster is not an inevitable consequence that the client's courage grows.

Clients may have exaggerated inferiority feelings that they want to eliminate totally, believing that if they realize their goal these painful feelings will disappear. The therapist must first reduce these feelings to a manageable level and then convince the clients that normal inferiority feelings are a blessing that they may "use" as a spur for improvement.

Genuine self-esteem does not come from the approval or praise of others. It comes from the person's own experience of conquering difficulties. Therefore, small progressive action steps, aimed at overcoming previously avoided difficulties, must be taken, one at a time. For many clients, this is equivalent to doing the "felt impossible." During and after these steps, new feelings about efforts and results are acknowledged and discussed.

In attempting to avoid failure, discouraged people often decrease their level and radius of activity. They can become quite passive, wait for others to act, and limit their radius of activity to what is safe or emotionally profitable. Gradually, the level, radius, and quality of a client's activity must increase. A move in the wrong direction is often a necessary first step which can then be corrected after commending the attempt. Without new activity and experimentation there will be little real progress. Some new success must be achieved to prepare for the next stage.

Stage Five: Interpretation and Recognition Stage

Psychological movements are the thinking, feeling, and behavioral motions that clients make in response to the external tasks facing them. Thus, in addition to listening to what the client says, the therapist must be attuned to what the client actually has done and currently does in relation to life tasks. Movements in therapy are the most visible. Does the client come on time or late; get off the track; talk all the time and leave little opportunity for the therapist to say anything; agree with everything but "forget" to put it into practice between sessions? The therapist's job is to describe these movements precisely and help the client identify the immediate goals or final goal to which they lead.

Depreciation and aggression are tactics clients use to elevate artificially their self esteem and punish others for not living up to their mistaken expectations. Clients are often quite clever in adopting the weapon that will hurt others the most. The therapist must show the client how ineffective or childish the weapons are or that they eventually hurt the client more than they hurt the intended victim.

To dissolve the client's antithetical scheme of apperception, the therapist must dialectically question it. However, the client will probably resist this dialogue because the scheme provides certainty and supports the pursuit of the childlike, egocentric, final goal. Clients' final goals represent visions of what they imagine will help them feel absolutely superior, safe, significant, and secure. When faced with changing these final goals, the alternative often looks like being nobody, worthless, and vulnerable. The client's scheme uses cognitive rigidity to generate very strong feelings. It locks the client into a dichotomized, superior/inferior way of seeing the world, evaluating experiences, and relating to others. Thus, to dissolve the antithetical scheme of apperception, the therapist must help the client see the real and subtly distinguishing qualities of people and experiences rather than dividing impressions into "either-or," rigidly absolute categories.

All behavior is purposive and is aimed at moving toward the final goal. If clients have goals that are on the useless side of life, then their emotions will also serve these goals. Frequently, emotion is used to avoid responsibility for actions. This is reflected in the often-heard claims of the client: "He made me angry; I couldn't help it." Each individual's use of emotions is unique, and the therapist must be sensitive and precise in identifying the underlying purposes of these emotions.

The final goal includes expectations of the roles that others should play. If the final goal is to be adored, then others must play the role of adorers; if the final goal is to dominate, then others must be submissive. The therapist must help the client identify these expectations and their actual impact on relationships. Rather than having such demands of others, clients need to learn how to generate self-demand, determining what they will do to contribute to their own development and to other people and situations.

After unfolding the meaning of the client's movements and their immediate goals, the therapist eventually leads to interpreting the core dynamics of the client's inferiority feeling, final goal, and style of life. Family constellation and experiences, current behavioral patterns, early recollections, and dreams are integrated into a unique, vivid, and consistent portrait.

In revealing the client's goal, diplomacy, good timing, and sensitivity are essential. The client must feel the encouragement of new successes before she will feel open and ready to face a clear picture of the mistaken direction she had previously followed. The therapist helps the client evaluate the goal and discover what is really gained or lost in this pursuit--using logic, humor, metaphors, reduction to absurdity, and what Adler called "spitting in the soup." In this last strategy, the therapist makes the final goal -- e.g., being powerful, intimidating, and demanding respect -- "taste bad," perhaps by comparing it to being a Mafia don. The discussion around the client's final goal reflects a very vigorous form of thinking about the meaning of life and what the client is doing with it and what else he could or should be doing.

Stage Six: Knowing Stage

Previously, the client relied on the therapist to interpret her movements and their connection to the life style and goal. Now the client interprets situations, sharing his or her insights with the therapist. Many clients are tempted to terminate at this point, feeling that they know enough, even though they have not actually applied their insight and changed their main direction in life.

Stage Seven: Missing Experience Stage

Some clients cling to strong negative feelings through powerful images and memories from childhood. These feelings may inhibit or poison their contact with people. Others may lack a depth of positive feeling in their work and relationships. They try to do "the right thing" but do not have a feeling of enjoyment or affection in the process. They may have sufficient insight but not have enough positive emotional anticipation to take new action. While it is possible with some clients to promote change through cognitive interpretation, with others an emotional breakthrough is more effective. The therapist can use roleplay, guided imagery, or eidetic imagery exercises to dissolve negative imprints from parents and siblings and replace them with new nurturing, encouraging experiences and images. Ongoing groups, or one-day group marathons are preferable for role-playing techniques, utilizing group members for the parental or sibling figures. Longer individual sessions can also be effective.

Stage Eight: Doing Differently Stage

Insight and newly found courage are mobilized to approach old difficulties and neglected responsibilities. Small, experimental steps are ventured in the main arenas of life. Initially, this is going to be hard for clients because they will not expect a positive feeling as a result of taking steps in a new direction. However, it is possible to start with what the person is willing to attempt and gradually make it more socially useful. A very aggressive person who verbally attacks others might be encouraged to attack his problems vigorously and productively instead.

Generally, all of the behavioral steps that clients are encouraged to take in therapy are directed toward increasing their level of confidence and changing their life style. However, profound change occurs after the client and therapist have together identified and discussed the client's fictional final goal and life style. On the basis of this insight, then, the client can work to change the main direction of movement and approach to the three main tasks of life (community, work, and love).

Stage Nine: Reinforcement Stage

Most of the client's actions have been egocentric, providing imagined protection or self-enhancement, and neglecting the needs of others. The therapist helps clients learn to let go of themselves and focus on others, on tasks, and the needs of situations.

All of these new positive actions are encouraged and supported. As the client begins overcoming major difficulties that had been previously avoided, courageous efforts, good results, and feelings of pride and satisfaction are affirmed. As a result, the egocentricity gradually dissolves. Emotional coaching may be needed to experience and express the new positive feelings.

Stage Ten: Community Feeling Stage

The therapist's feeling of community has been demonstrated to the client continuously, since the very first meeting, by accepting him unconditionally as a fellow human being, expressing a deep interest through listening and concern for his distress, and indicating a willingness to help. Perhaps skeptical of the therapist's good will at first, the client has felt and appreciated the genuine caring and encouragement.

The conquering of obstacles has generated courage, pride and a better feeling of self, which now leads to a greater cooperation and feeling of community with the therapist. This feeling should now be extended to connect more with other people, cooperate with them, and contribute significantly to their welfare. As the client's new feeling of community develops, she will become motivated to give her very best to her relationships and her work.

Stage Eleven: Goal-Redirection Stage

When the client begins to let go of an old goal and life style of self-protection, self-enhancement, and personal superiority over other people, he experiences a temporary feeling of disorientation as a new horizon opens up. Now, after exploring and experimenting, he may adopt a new, conscious life goal that is inspiring and socially useful. He abandons his former direction and pursues the new one because it yields a more positive feeling of self and greater appreciation from others.

Clients constantly observe their therapists and may use them as positive or negative models. How therapists behave is critical, as it may interfere with the therapy process if clients see that their therapists do not embody what they are trying to teach the clients.

Maslow explored the characteristics of many fully functioning people and concluded that what we usually refer to as "normal" or "average" functioning is actually a commonly accepted form of very limited psychological development. He set the standard of psychological health many notches higher than the benchmarks of most of his contemporaries. Adler and Maslow were in agreement on this issue, which was not to set our therapeutic sights merely on the "normal" or "average," but to aspire to the ideal of what people could become. Not many clients may be willing to reach this far -- but some will be interested, and the therapist should be prepared to facilitate this journey.

As clients improve, the therapist can help them see that they can use new, more liberating and inspiring guides for their lives. These alternative guides are what Maslow called meta-motivation or higher values -- e.g., truth, beauty, justice (Maslow 1971). The values that individual clients choose will depend on their unique sensitivities and interests.

Stage Twelve: Support and Launching Stage

The client has learned to love the struggle of overcoming difficulties, now prefers the unfamiliar, and looks forward to the unexpected in life. Feeling equal to others, and eager to develop fully, she expresses a spirit of generosity and wants to share what she has accomplished. Now the client can become a generator of encouragement to other people.

Feeling stronger and functioning better, the client may need a self-selected challenge to stimulate the development of his best self. The very best in a person does not simply flow out, but is a response to a healthy self-demand. It may be stimulated by an unexpected situation or a chosen challenge. The therapist may prompt the search for such a challenge and can help the client evaluate what would be a worthy, meaningful, stimulating, and socially useful challenge -- one that is neither too big nor too small for the client's capabilities. For some clients, it may be the recognition of a "mission" or "calling" in their lives.

Therapeutic Techniques

The creative freedom inherent in Adlerian practice demands a variety of strategies that suit the uniqueness of each client and capture the spontaneous therapeutic opportunities the client hands to us in each session. Although the twelve stages represent a conceptual center line of treatment, essentially, a unique therapy is created for each client. The specific techniques used at any one time depend on the direction that seems currently accessible. Four main strategies characterize current Classical Adlerian therapeutic technique: assessment, Socratic questioning, guided and eidetic imagery, and role-playing. (These strategies are rooted in the original Adlerian treatment style and are enriched by the contributions of Sophia deVries, Alexander Mueller, and Henry Stein.)

Assessment . A thorough life style analysis serves as the guide to the therapeutic process; generally this occurs during the first three stages of treatment. A central technique that Adler pioneered to assess life style is the projective use of early memories (Adler 1933). These memories, whether they are "true" or fictional, embody a person's core beliefs and feelings about self and the world. They contain reflections of the person's inferiority feelings, goal, scheme of apperception, level and radius of activity, courage, feeling of community, and style of life.

In addition to these early memories, the therapist uses the following to do the assessment: (1) description of symptoms, the circumstances under which they began, and the client's description of what he would do if not plagued with these symptoms; (2) current and past functioning in the domains of love relationships, family, friendships, and school and work; (3) family of origin constellation and dynamics, and extended family patterns, (4) health problems, medication, alcohol, and drug use, and (5) previous therapy and attitude toward the therapist. While much of this information can be collected in the early therapy sessions, it can also be obtained by asking the client to fill out an Adlerian Client Questionnaire (Stein 1993). This permits the client to answer in detail many important questions and increases the client's level of activity in the therapy process. In addition, it saves some therapeutic time and enables the therapist to obtain a binocular view from both the client's written and verbal descriptions.

Socratic Questioning . The Socratic method of leading an individual to insight through a series of questions lies at the heart of Adlerian practice (Stein 1990; Stein 1991). It embodies the relationship of equals searching for knowledge and insight in a gentle, diplomatic, and respectful style, consistent with Adler's philosophy. In the early stages of psychotherapy, the therapist uses questions to gather relevant information, clarify meaning, and verify feelings. Then, in the middle stages of therapy, more penetrating, leading questions uncover the deeper structures of private logic, hidden feelings, and unconscious goals. The therapist also explores the personal and social implications of the client's thinking, feeling, and acting, in both their short and long term consequences. Throughout, new options are generated dialectically, examined, and evaluated to help the client take steps in a different direction of her own choosing. The results of these new steps are constantly reviewed. In the latter stages of therapy, the Socratic method is used to evaluate the impact of the client's new direction and to contemplate a new philosophy of life. The Socratic style places the responsibility for conclusions and decisions in the lap of the client. The role of the therapist is that of a "co-thinker," not the role of a superior expert. Just as Socrates was the "midwife" attending the birth of new ideas, the Adlerian therapist can serve as "midwife" to the birth of a new way of living for a client.

Guided and Eidetic Imagery . For many clients, cognitive insight and new behavior lead to different feelings. Some clients need additional specific interventions to access, stimulate, or change feelings. Guided and eidetic imagery, used in an Adlerian way, can lead to emotional breakthroughs especially when the client reaches an impasse. Eidetic imagery can be used diagnostically to access vivid symbolic mental pictures of significant people and situations that are often charged with emotion. Guided imagery can be used therapeutically to change the negative imprints of childhood family members that weigh heavily on a client and often ignite chronic feelings of guilt, fear, and resentment. These techniques are typically used in the middle stages of therapy. Alexander Mueller recommended the use of imagery when a client knew that a change in behavior was sensible, but still didn't take action (Mueller 1937). Some clients need a vivid image of themselves as happier in the future than they presently are, before they journey in a new direction that they know is healthier.

Role-Playing . In the middle stages of therapy, role-playing offers clients opportunities to add missing experiences to their repertoire, and to explore and practice new behavior in the safety of the therapist's office. To provide missing experiences--e.g., support and encouragement of a parent--a group setting is recommended. Group members, rather than the therapist, can play the roles of substitute parents or siblings. In this way, a client can engage in healing experiences and those who participate with him can increase their own feeling of community by contributing to the growth of their peers. When learning and practicing new behaviors, the therapist can offer coaching, encouragement, and realistic feedback about probable social consequences. This is somewhat equivalent to the function of children's play as they experiment with roles and situations in preparation for growing up. Clients need to be treated with gentleness and diplomacy, yet offered challenges that strengthen their confidence and courage.

Creativity in Psychotherapy

Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy is an art, not a science, and must be practiced with the same integrity of any artistic endeavor. Though it is based on theory, philosophy, and principles, its practice must come honestly from the heart. It is not a mere technology that can be practiced "by the numbers," nor is it a bag of tricks that can be added successfully to an eclectic pile of value-free tools.

The uniqueness of each client requires constant invention. Similarly, the personality of each therapist makes his or her approach inimitable. However, as Adler himself (Hoffman 1994) and his followers demonstrated, the personality of the therapist must be congruent with the philosophy of the therapy. (his comes both from personal knowledge of Sophia DeVries, Anthony Bruck, Alexander Mueller, and Kurt Adler and the description of Lydia Sicher's work (Davidson 1991).) Through a vigorous study analysis, an Adlerian therapist assesses and reduces to a manageable level his own inferiority feelings, identifies and redirects the final goal and style of life, and develops on all levels a strong feeling of community. In addition, the person struggles with the philosophical issues of life and engages with the study analyst in a search for higher values that would be most uniquely suited to that individual.


Maslow labeled this latter aspect of therapy "meta-therapy" (Maslow 1971). He suggested that the fullest development of human potential might require a more philosophical process, one that went beyond the relief of suffering and the correction of mistaken ideas and ways of living. Mueller described the last phase of therapy as a "philosophical discourse" (Mueller 1968). For those clients who need and desire this experience, Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy offers the psychological tools and philosophical depth to realize their quest.

We summarize Adler's psychology in six central principles.(1) Unity of the Individual: The individual is not internally divided or a battleground of conflicting forces. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are consistent with the person's style of life. (2) Goal Orientation: A central personality dynamic originates from the growth and forward movement of life itself. It is a future-oriented striving toward a goal of significance, superiority, or success, which is frequently out of a person's awareness. In mental health, it is a goal of superiority over general difficulties; in mental disorder, it is one of superiority over others. The early childhood feelings of inferiority, for which an individual aims to compensate, lead to the creation of a fictional goal. The depth of inferiority feeling determines the height of the goal which then becomes the "final cause" for the person's behavior. (3) Self-determination and Uniqueness: The goal may be influenced by hereditary and cultural factors, but it ultimately springs from the creative power and opinion of the individual. (4) Social Context: As an indivisible whole, a system, the human being is also part of larger wholes or systems -- family, community, culture, nation, humanity, the planet, the cosmos. In these contexts, we meet the three important tasks of life: community, work, and love. All are social problems. The way that individuals respond to the first social system, the family, may become the prototype of their world view. (5) Feeling of Community: Each human being has the capacity for developing the feeling of interconnectedness with other living beings and learning to live in harmony with society. The personal feeling of security is rooted in a sense of belonging and embeddedness in the stream of social evolution. (6) Mental Health: Social usefulness and contribution are the criteria of mental health. Maladjustment is characterized by an underdeveloped feeling of community, a deeply felt inferiority feeling, and an exaggerated, uncooperative goal of personal superiority. The goal of therapy is to increase the feeling of community, promote a feeling of equality, and replace egocentric self-protection, self-enhancement, and self-indulgence with self-transcending, courageous, social contribution.

Does psychotherapy directly benefit a society or only the individual? Adler believed that the ultimate purpose of psychotherapy was to help people contribute to the social evolution of mankind. Mueller added a spiritual element to this idea. He suggested that a human being's mission in life was to work in partnership with God to complete an unfinished world (Mueller 1992). However Adler's philosophy is expressed, in essence, it offers a socially responsible answer to the question of what it means to be a human being.


1. Adler, Alfred. Cooperation Between the Sexes: Writings on Women, Love and Marriage, Sexuality and its Disorders. Edited and translated by Heinz L. Ansbacher and Rowena R. Ansbacher. New York: Jason Aronson, 1980.
2. Adler, Alfred. First Childhood Recollection. International Journal of Individual Psychology, 1933, 11, 81-90.
3. Adler, Alfred. The Education of Children. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1957.
4. Adler, Alfred. Understanding Human Nature. Trans. from the 1927 edition by Colin Brett. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1992b. 5. Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. Trans. from the 1931 edition by Colin Brett. London: Oneworld Publications, 1992a. 6. Ansbacher, Heinz L. and Ansbacher, Rowena, eds. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. New York: Basic Books, 1956. 7. Augros, Robert and Stancui, George. The New Biology. Boston: New Science Library, 1988
8. Briggs, John and Peat, David. The Turbulent Mirror. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
9. Bruck, Anthony. Personal communication, April, 1978. 10. Bruck, Anthony. Twenty Lives. Unpublished manuscript, 1978. 11. Davidson, Adele K., ed. The Collected Works of Lydia Sicher: An Adlerian Perspective. Fort Bragg, California: QED Press, 1991. 12, Dreikurs, Rudolf and Soltz, Vicki. New York: Hawthorne/Dutton, 1964. 13. Dreikurs, Rudolf and Grey, Loren. Discipline: Logical Consequences. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1968.
14. Ellenberger, Henri. The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. New York: Basic Books, 1970.
15. Guisinger, Shan and Blatt, Sidney J. "Individuality and Relatedness: Evolution of a Fundamental Dialectic," American Psychologist, 1994, 49, 104-111.
16. Hamilton, W. D. "The Genetic Evolution of Social Behavior," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1964, 7, 1-52.
17. Ho, D. F. "Relational Orientation in Asian Social Psychology." In U. Kim & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Indigenous Psychologies: Research and Experience in Cultural Context. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993. 18. Hoffman, Edward. The Drive for Self. New York: Addison

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19. Kim, U., & Berry, J. W. Indigenous Psychologies: Research and Experience in Cultural Context. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993. 20. Maslow, Abraham. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Penguin Books, 1971.
21. Maslow, Abraham H. Motivation and Personality. Third edition. Revised by Robert Frager, James Fadiman, Cynthia McReynolds, and Ruth Cox. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.
22. Maybury-Lewis, D. Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World. New York: Viking Press, 1992.
23. Mueller, Alexander. You Shall be a Blessing. San Francisco: The Alfred Adler Institute of San Francisco, 1992.
24. Mueller, Alexander. Alfred Adler's Individual Psychology. Unpublished tranlation of Die Individualpsychologie Alfred Adler's, 1968.
25. Mueller, Alexander. "The Positive Emotional Attitude." International Journal of Individual Psychology, 1937, 3, 30-37. 26. Nelson, Andrea. The Application of Chaos Theory to the Understanding of Psychological Transformation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University, 1991.
27. Simon, H. A. "A Mechanism for Social Selection and Successful Altruism." Science, 1990, 250, 1665-1668.
28. Trivers, R. "The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism." Quarterly Review of Biology, 1971, 46, 35-57.
29. Stein, Henry. "Adler and Socrates: Similarities and Differences," Individual Psychology, 1991, 47, 241-246.
30. Stein, Henry. Adlerian Client Questionnaire, San Francisco: Alfred Adler Institute of San Francisco, 1993.
31. Stein, Henry. "Twelve Stages of Creative Adlerian Psychotherapy," Individual Psychology, 1988, 44, 138-143. 32. Stein, Henry. Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy: A Socratic Approach, Audiotape study program. San Francisco: Alfred Adler Institute of San Francisco, 1990.
33. Vaihinger, Hans. The Philosophy of "As If": A System of the Theoretical, Practical and Religious Fictions of Mankind. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1925.
34. Wilson, E. O. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1975.

Appendix C: Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy
Distance Training & Certification

Description of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy

Our approach is based on Adler's original clinical writings, as well as the work of Sophia de Vries, Alexander Mueller, Lydia Sicher, and other Classical Adlerians. We train students in Adler's style of treatment: a warm, gentle approach that respectfully encourages clients to change. In order to promote optimal functioning, we integrate Adler's vigorous optimism with the inspiring ideas of Abraham Maslow. Using Adler's solid psychological foundation, we adapt therapeutic strategies like the Socratic method for reducing client resistance to insight, and eidetic imagery to compensate for missing developmental experiences.


Our team of Classical Adlerian training analysts provides distance training in Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy (CADP) to mental health professionals and students anywhere in the world, via telephone, Skype, and e-mail. With their individual mentors, our students engage in home study of audio-recorded seminars and video-recorded therapy demonstrations; supplementary reading of rare, unpublished materials; weekly discussions, personal study-analysis, and case consultations; selfpaced progress; and an annual experiential workshop.

Adler's Uniquely Effective Approach

Only Adler's personality model illuminates the client's deepest unconscious intentions, which explain all of his thinking, feeling, and action. Adler's concept of the fictional final goal provides a diagnostic focal point; explains a client's past, present, and imagined future; and gives us a precise direction for treatment planning. Only Adler offers a fully integrated psychology, pedagogy, and philosophy of life, that helps us guide clients into socially responsible, democratic living.

Additional Information About Distance Training in Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy

Links to Order Volumes of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler:

Volume 1 - "The Neurotic Character"
Volume 2 - "Journal Articles: 1898-1909"
Volume 3 - "Journal Articles: 1910-1913"
Volume 4 - "Journal Articles: 1914-1920"
Volume 5 - "Journal Articles: 1921-1926"
Volume 6 - "Journal Articles: 1927-1931"
Volume 7 - "Journal Articles: 1931-1937"
Volume 8 - "Lectures to Physicians and Medical Students"
Volume 9 - "Case Histories"
Volume 10 - "Case Readings and Demonstrations"
Volume 11 - "Education for Prevention"
Volume 12 - "The General System of Individual Psychology"
Volumes 1-12 - Complete Twelve-Volume Set

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