Paths to Becoming an Adlerian
James Wolf, Oakland, California
I was a history major as an undergraduate and initially as a graduate student. I made a career change as a result of my own personal psychotherapy therapy which was more psychoanalytically oriented and was very helpful. As a beginning graduate student in the Counseling Department at San Francisco State University, I was in a child development class with Laurie Stein, Dr. Henry Stein's wife. Laurie arranged with the professor to have Henry address the class. His talk on Adler and his view of child development, emphasizing the child's uniqueness and creative power, touched me deeply. My interest was sparked and I took his introductory seminar in late 1978. I've been associated with him, Sophia DeVries (until her death) and the Alfred Adler Institute of San Francisco since.
The early courses and ongoing case seminars with Henry and Sophia profoundly shaped my view of human nature and psychotherapy. Adler's concepts of Community Feeling-Social Interest as the measure of a person's psychological well-being and functioning, the emphasis on the creative power of the unique individual and the fictional final goal all struck me. Sophia's masterful, gentle, empathic Socratic questioning (which appeared most deceptively simple) has left it's imprint. Her repeated emphasis on studying the theory "until it's at your fingertips" and her quote from Adler to be "as gentle with the patient as a mother to her child" still ring in my ear. Henry's and Sophia's emphasis on striving to live the Adlerian philosophy and to overcome one's own difficulties, as best as one can, as integral to mastering the task of being a psychotherapist has been brought home to me time and again: Clients eventually sense the contradictions between the therapist's own style of life and how the therapist conducts the therapy as reflected in the therapist's own attitudes about life and living.
I have been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the Bay Area for
over 20 years.
Private Practice Office:
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