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EDUC 323
Alex Abdel- Malek

Educ 323- Ch4 Individual Psychology • Background: o Adler (founder of indiv psychology IP) from Bienna  Became a physician, progressive ideas about need for equality of men and women (influenced by his wife)  Special interest in bettering social conditions (best characteristic was interest and sympathy with the “common man”)  Member of social democratic movement (social reformist movement)  Became Freud’s student (?) tho others (maslow) said Adler denied being follower of Freud • Tho evidence shows that he was indeed an active member of Freud’s group for some time (over this time period difs in opinions cropped up to move them apart) o Central issue of debate was primary motivation for human motivation: Freud saw it as pleasure/sex and Adler wanted to make it interpersonal/social • After WWI Adler’s commitment to furthering social change led him to help establish child guidance clinics in which he taught teachers and other layppl how to use his ideas to understand the behavior of children they worked with o Eventually moved to USA and G Stanley Hall took an interest in him (began teaching at Columbia university) o Much of material not actually written by Adler himself, mostly gathered from public lectures and edited/presented by others o Currently Adlerians small but active group o Excerpt from Adler’s “The science of living”:  Psychological practice developed out of medicine (which provides purposeful viewpoint which is necessary to understand psychological facts) • In medicine we see all organs striving to develop toward finite goals • Movement of psyche analogous to movement of organic life (each w/conception of goal to get beyond present state, to overcome present deficiencies) o w/goal indiv can think/feel superior to difficulties of present b/c see poss success in future o must fix goal early in life (childhood), unsure how goal fixed but it is o to have a goal is to aspire to be like God (ultimate goal?)  kids look for strongest person in environment and make them their model or goal  when first conceive goal take on all characteristics consistent w/it • Basic Philosophy: Adler growth theorist w/optimistic view of human condition o Believed humans had innate tendency to strive for perfection and that this striving was more important motivator for behavior  interest in society important psychological function as w/o support form others we wouldn’t survive • so “social interest” inherent in humans, but so is the tendency to feel inferior o the ways these 2 influences balance determine psychological world of indiv  “holistic”= term used in IP theory  Thinking, feeling, behaving and perhaps even physiological functioning are integrated system directed toward pursuit of indiv’s goals o Adler a soft determinist= also tho he did think that human behavior can be understook given general principles and laws, these understandings are only probabilistic  Indiv creates life path but that vreativity enables him to change path (and ultimate goal) at any point  Not important what you’re born with, but rather how you use it  Believed that indiv’s perceptions (not some objective external criterion) determine views of reality  Nature and nurture interaction  A social activist who said change needed to improve health of humankind • Human motivation: o Humans motivated to strive for superiority (power, striving for significance, wish to overcome)  Ppl “pulled” by their goals rather than driven by their instincts  Ppl also feel inferiority. All born defenseless, undeveloped and are smaller/less powerful and depend on others for help (so feel weak and want to over come this) • Also have innate need to belong (thought this would ensure survival b/c keeps us around caregivers)  Ultimately motivation for human behavior is how indiv reconciles the search for significance and feelings for others (adler says this an indiv, creative process) • Central constructs: o Lifestyle: everyone (according to Adler) develops life plan by age 5/6 (lifestyle- guides entire lives, perceptions, actions)  Way to adapt to circumstances around oneself  Every lifestyle has a goal and goals have 2 important qualities (indiv is largely unaware of it and it is a fiction- not based in reality but created by the indiv) • Goal sometimes referred to as fictional goal • Goal arises out of interaction of 2 influences (need for significance and feelings of community or social interest) • Only true way to understand another person is to understand the goal of lifestyle • Says all behavior is purposeful, oriented toward achieving lifestyle goal  Creative power of indiv explains how indiv interprets and combines environment, genetic inheritance and experiences into lifestyle and associated goal • Ppl unique in how they strive for goal tho  Parental and family influences important in dev of lifestyle (family is indiv’s first society) • Parents model beliefs and values, tho Adler says to not automatically assume parental influences are the single cause of lifestyle (b/c it’s an individual unique process) o Social interest:  Ip emphasizes social embeddedness of human condition • Measure of indiv is degree to which they care about their society • So says true social interest seen in contribution indiv makes to community  Only ptl for social interest is innate, but these feelings must be nurtured and supported in young kids • Problems encountered usually result in diminished levels of social interest • 2 general classes of problems: those that arise from physical disability and those stemming from environmental influences (ie faulty parenting or social factors like sexism) o Healthy kids encourage to empathize w/others and contribute to society as a whole o Inferiority feelings:
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