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  #21  
Unread October 8th, 2004, 09:47 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Article, Volume 2, Chapter VI: "The Physician as Educator"

An interesting aspect of brain physiology is the coincidence of the development of the prefrontal lobes (that allow us to plan and rehearse future actions) at the same time that Adler claims the life style is initially formed in early childhood.
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  #22  
Unread October 8th, 2004, 02:48 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Article, Volume 2, Chapter VI: "The Physician as Educator"

Antonio R. Damasio presents a useful discussion on the frontal and prefrontal lobes and their psychological functions in his book "Descartes' Error". The frontal and prefrontal areas have seemingly an important function with the higher functions of the human personalitys. I mean especially social behavior and social feeling. A damage in these areas may result in reckless behavior and in various social disturbances. These areas have a role in higher-level emotions and in what Eino Kaila calls "articulation of behavior". Lack of these guiding functions may result in socially non-adaptive behavior. So one may really wonder whether these brain areas could play a role in the formation of the life-style? At least this sounds a plausible hypothesis.
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  #23  
Unread October 8th, 2004, 02:48 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters VII & VIII (Sexuality)

Our next discussion of Chapters VII & VIII, starts October 11th. To prepare, order your copy of Volume 2 of "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" at http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cw-v2.htm. The following chapter abstracts were created by James Wolf.

Chapter VII: "Hygiene and Sex" was written 1904 and reflects some of the common biases of the time. Part I of this article 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 as of importance to the physician. Adler 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," written in 1905, discusses childhood sexuality, the purpose of sexuality and sensuousness, and cautions regarding too much early sensual gratification and stimulation. Adler comments on pathological developments, sexual pre-maturity, 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 pedagogue.

A few of Adler's early comments about sexuality may strike some readers as "politically incorrect." The editor has chosen to retain all of the text intact, without eliminating or modifying controversial material. It is hoped that in the interest of scholarship and historical accuracy, the reader will understand that some of the early opinions that were typical in Adler's time and place are no longer consistent with the current assumptions of Classical Adlerian Psychology. Adler's respect and compassion for all people transcends his occasional blunt and penetrating comments about the social meaning and impact of diverse attitudes.

When posting your comments or questions, please identify the chapter number and/or title at the beginning of your message. On October 17th, this thread will be merged with the Volume 2 cumulative thread.
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  #24  
Unread October 10th, 2004, 05:35 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: Cumulative Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapters I-VI

Some comments on Volume 2, chapter VI


I think what renders Adler unique is his consistent and relentless teleological thinking. In this chapter, The physician as Educator, this thread starts to unfold. By para 2, he is thinking teleologically when he says, "everything that we can see in a human being, admire, or hate is nothing but the sum of his characteristics and THE MANNER IN WHICH HE MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD". (capitals mine). The person is shown to have a unifying principal by which he moves ... the way he wishes to be known, as distinct from the drive/instinctual psychology of Freud!

As a physician I wish that I and all my collegues would submit to a qualifying oath as physicians to "scrutinize (our) own qualities and development as well as those of others" as we "know the heights and depths of the human soul". The deep compassionate commitment he suggests would serve mankind so well if we "have the strength to overcome (our) own personal tendencies and to immerse himself into the personality of another and to scoop out of the shaft of anothers soul whatever is lacking for growth". Thus the physician (OK we're not a closed club, psychologists and educators need to do the same), needs a deep understanding OF HIS OWN LIFE STYLE before he can start this process of loving excavation. And yes, in this sort of relationship for healing, value judgements are essential. We must discern with caring eyes, what is lacking and as fellow men who love, we must then seek to fill it up with courage.

Adler's rejection of "the chasing of symptoms" is evident in para 4 when he says "avoid wasting his strength on superficial manifestations" No, No No, we do not engage ourselves with the "anxiety" or the "depression" or any other symptom in DSM in whatever the current catalogue is, we go straight to the soul and seek to discern what it is the patient seeks to move toward through the fiction of moving to a perceived position of personal superiority and away from the greater good of mankind. Adler has all this in germ form from his earliest writing. He sees the symptoms as creations of a troubled soul seeking refuge in the fortress of the fiction before he even has discovered the word "fiction". This fortress excludes all but those that are useful to it and it brings little benefit to humanity. What an insight this man has. I am so greatful that we have been gifted in our history by his careful thought. I believe he is to psychology what Einstein is to physics. Someone has said this and as usual, I can not reference it. If anyone can please let me know.

A burden is placed on the physician's shoulders on page 33 when he refers to the educational power of physicians. I must say that as a physician, my main task even with clinical disease was educational. In this mechanistic, post modern society, will the physician once more "take up this cross" or will we abdicate this duty and pursue a "business model". Want to see physician burn out ... go down the business model path and very soon the physician will have exhausted his good will and will become avaricious, egocentric and even may become abusive. We must in the healing professions, address the souls of mankind to bring the greatest blessing to the greatest number. This is a burden and this is our delight and joy.

Now over to page 35. "The most important aid in education is love." Now that should hit us right between the eyes. I know he is speaking of children but it sure sounds like a quote from Christian scripture when saint Paul a jewish legal scholar of 2000 years ago says "If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrifice my own body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever". (1 Cor 13:3 NLT) Are we then as therapists to love our patients? I believe the answer is yes! It is a professional love, but it is filled with gentle compassion and kindly wisdom. Only when we feel with these hurting folks and see gently through their eyes, then and only then, can we help them to find the courage that heals the self and thus the soul.

I like Adler's concepts regarding punishment. The punishment must fit the mistake and only be to teach and encourage. There is no place for egotistical harshness that will only discourage. The emphasis on "praise and reward" we carry into our work with these children as adults. How often when an insight we have been trying to achieve is arrived at, must we be delighted that they have just come to a realization that we have been trying to teach them. We must never take any credit for the growth. We do not need it. It is the patient's moment of joy and we rejoice with them.

His summation paragraph is wonderful. "THEREFORE, ONLY THOSE ARE SUITABLE AS TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS WHO THEMSELVES HAVE DEVELOPED A SOCIAL SENSE". Those who are obdurate, individualistic, egotistical, or fatalistic, especially if THEY BELIEVE IN INHERITED QUALITIES THAT CAN NOT BE CHANGED, ONLY CAUSE HARM". That is extremely strong language, but it is the language of hope and passion. May we as an Adlerian community never surrender this hope to the mechanistic, heridItary biologically deterministic models that permeate much of our university psychology services. It is an empty well with no hope or cure. We are surgeons of the soul. Our scapel is our "clear logic and intuition" that wakens "the healing forces in the patient". We pursue the "soul life" (seelenleben) of these people to "awaken and encourage them". Now there is a teaching job that will occupy all the remaining days we are granted and this we can do with enthusiasm and great joy.
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Last edited by George Neeson; October 10th, 2004 at 07:02 PM.
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  #25  
Unread October 11th, 2004, 09:19 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters VII & VIII (Sexuality)

Chapter 8
It is easy to see in this chapter that Sigmund Freud's influence is quite prevalent. Adler has not yet thought through the implications of a drive psychology. As an Adlerian, I find it a bit of a stretch to believe erotic feelings arise in little child as it experiences the warm love of the mother's breast. If we move on to page 45 of the text Adler's own thinking begins to appear. He realizes that a single cell lives in a community with social interactions. The cell itself is interdependent, not independent. Thus the very fabric of the child's organism prepares the child for life in community. A little further down the page Adler says " The cultivation of the child stands and falls with the successful transference of capabilities driven by sensory impulses to those driven by the demands of his culture". Still further down this page his teleological thinking once more appears when he speaks about " a satisfactory goal ". I appreciate very much that he says " The surest sign of the capacity to manage the challenges of our culture is not to be deterred by the trials and tribulations entailed in a goal oriented venture ". He goes on to point out that such an attitude must be established in earliest childhood. So although sexuality has a primary function of maintaining the species, it is primarily a social activity with a goal.
Going to page 46, Sigmund Freud's influence is perhaps a little too evident. However, Adler argues that the sexual influence diminishes greatly by age two or three to be replaced by the love of mother and father as a guide to embracing the prevailing culture. By the middle of the page he is clearly at odds with Freud when he sees "sexuality submerge (emphasis mine) to make room for a growing cultural adjustment".
On page 48, I suspect a mature Adler would retract or modify one statement. He says "the blame never rests with the child but always lies in the upbringing". I would not deny that a faulty upbringing creates problems, but Adler will go on to hold us accountable for our choices as he escapes those less useful aspects of Freud's early thinking. Eventually he will tell us that the circumstances alone do not excuse our behaviours, but they are based rather on conclusions that are lacking in care for the community of mankind when they move in a wrong direction. Of course an encouraging upbringing will have a very different potential outcome, than one that is discouraging.
It is quite interesting how soon Adler diverges from Freud an the libidinal construct moving very fluidly to the "man in community" concept even in the sexual arena.
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  #26  
Unread October 11th, 2004, 04:46 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters VII & VIII (Sexuality)

Chapters VII and VIII are not most important papers in Adler's production. However, these papers are historically interesting and they contain some valuable insights. Some of the latter have been pointed by George Neeson above. We are all children of our times, and so was Alfred Adler. These contributions are somewhat biased if one takes the perspective of the modern times. However, if one looks at these two papers from a contemporary perspective (fin de si├Ęcle), it becomes evident that the arguments presented are, after all, quite progressive and humane. In "Hygiene and Sex", Adler discusses masturbation, homosexuality, and other manifestations of sexuality on the basis of a book by professor Max Gruber, "Hygiene of Sex". Adler is strongly influenced by Freud, as George Neeson says. So it is evident that Adler takes a neutral, medical viewpoint here, not primarily a moralistic one - already that is significant. August Strindberg (1849-1912), the great Swedish writer, tells in his autographic trilogy how he was scared as a teenager because of the horror-stories told to him by teachers and priests. He found, finally, an understanding physician who was able to calm him down simply by telling that young August would not become mentally subnormal, his brain would not soften, and his spine would remain intact in spite of his "sins". As an old man telling this story, August Strindberg still had a feeling of great gratitude because the medical doctor had helped him so remarkably. I think that in the harsh Victorian moral climate Adler's ideas were, in spite some biases, a real advancement. Take e.g. Adler's discussion of immoderation in chapter VII (Part 2). Gruber discusses "immoderation" and defines a set of symptoms that occur in this context. It is very easy thing for Adler to demonstrate that the symptoms mentioned by Gruber are simply general neurotic symptoms that are hardly connected in any way with any kind of "immoderation". Adler critisizes also justly, I think, that the concept of sexual gratification does not play any role in Gruber's text. Today, hardly anyone would understand that human sexuality could be discussed meaningfully without any concept of sexual gratification. In addition, Adler says that autoeroticism between the ages 14 and 18 years is almost normal and quite harmless. Adler and Gruber both agree that the method of creating fear for allaying masturbation is destructive and reprehensible. Today, we can hardly understand how important and how revolutionary these insights were still a century ago. - Similarly, "The Problem of Sex in Upbringing" , is strongly influenced by Freud. At the same time, Adler has some moralistic, almost puritan prejudices that are lurking behind. He seems to think that "sensuousness " is some kind of problem. There are some statements that are from our point of view are simply not true, e.g. that bed-wetting is caused by early sexual development. However, even in this paper that seems to be addressed to educators, there are some notable good points. Adler says that "sexuality submerges to make room for growing cultural adjustment". Here he argues from developmental-psychological perspective. This adjustment takes place, according to Adler, after the infant phase, before college. After this period, sexuality returns with a great dynamism. What Adler has here to say about sexual problems of teenagers, is not totally imaginary moralism. Remember the age. Read, if possible, the novel written by the Austrian writer Robert Musil (1880-1942), "The Adventures of the Student Toerless". Here Robert Musil writes about life in a boarding school in Habsburg-empire. It is psychologically very interesting story, and reading it convinces you easily that there is some truth in Adler's warnings in the context of his times. Adler's humanism can be clearly seen in his words: "I find it most deplorable to counter sexual bewilderment with beatings, threats of eternal punishment, or of an impending sickness." Finally, Adler refers to adverse social conditions that result in erronoeus upbringing of the child. Adler stresses very much that threats and punishments are improper ways of handling educational problems. I think that Adler's ideas were really progressive in his times. Today, we should understand that some of his expressions may cause some irritation, but as I said in the beginning of this commentary, even Adler was a child of his times - as we are ours'.
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  #27  
Unread October 14th, 2004, 04:47 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters IX & X (Child Development)

Our next discussion of Chapters IX & X, starts October 18th. To prepare, order your copy of Volume 2 of "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" at http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cw-v2.htm. The following chapter abstracts were created by James Wolf.

Chapter IX: In "Three Psycho-Analyses Concerning Inspired Numbers," written in 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-analysis' of two people, the third case is Adler's own analysis.

Chapter X: In "Developmental Defects in Children," written in 1907, Adler begins this article 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 develop (thumb sucking, etc.). He expresses optimism that with modern science, early recognition and intervention, attitudes of prejudice and hopelessness will be overcome.

When posting your comments or questions, please identify the chapter number and/or title at the beginning of your message. On October 24th, this thread will be merged with the Volume 2 cumulative thread.
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  #28  
Unread October 19th, 2004, 04:23 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters IX & X (Child Development)

These two papers - Chapter IX and Chapter X in Vol. 2 of CCWAA, the first on numbers, the second on developmental defect in children, stem from a time when Adler still identified himself as psycho-analyst. Chapter IX discusses "inspired numbers". This is a theme that was characteristic for early writings in psychoanalysis. The numbers were generally interesting, and it was generally known that many people connected special properties with certain numbers. These beliefs were, of course, merely superstitions but they posed psychologically intriguing problems. Why was it that these special properties were associated with certain numbers? Freud studied these questions with the help of free associations. Adler seems to think that "what is revealed about a person' psyche is considerable by itself". Adler then tells the story of three analyses, based on the method of free association. The third was carried out by Adler himself, the other two are based on the stories told by the concerning persons themselves. Adler seems to have been succesful in soothing the third client's anxiety explaining to him the meaning of a number that was of special significance to him. The paper is rather heavy with psychoanalytic jargon, but Adler's final interpretation of the client's problems is, after all, a social-psychological one: the number 39 had some special meaning to the client. He was 39 years old and expected some misfortune. On the other hand, the number 39 divides into 3 x 13 (a bad luck number). Even if Adler is discussing biological and sexual background, and uses concepts like "unconscious" and "resistance", he finally seems to think that the most important factors are final fictions - explaining the number 39 as a final fiction that provoked the client's anxiety and fear.
Chapter X on the developmental problems is rather different. It begins with a kind of manifesto that carries a deep humane and political content: "In our children lies the future of our people! ... Our sweat, that is their peace;their health, that is our struggle." And so on. Adler emphasizes two aspects: Adverse social conditions and a lack of understanding for the physical and mental health of the children. Adler discusses the physical development of the child. Many of his observation are valuable today, some ar outdated as e.g. the discussion on disfigured ears, or that physical abnormality is a sign of degeneration. The concept of degeneration is today no more used. In its time it played a significant role that is of some sociological interest today. Some of Adler's observations clearly follow from a bad nourishment-situation especially among the lower classes, but also among the middle-class population. Adler himself had rickets in his boyhood. - When discussing behavioral problem, Adler mentions some "bad habits", but his attitude here is humane. He says that these problems should not be met with strictness. In the end of his paper, Adler points to an early idea of organ inferiority discussing the psychological problems that may result from physical defects. He refers to Shakespeare's Richard III, and cites the place where the Duke of Gloucester says: ... I am determined to to prove a villain." I hope to be able to return to this incredibly well chosen illustration of a psychological problem, as introduced by Adler, later on in more detail. In the end of this paper Adler makes a very fine observation: prejudice which exacerbates defects finally should vanish as should such hurtful expressions as "Beware the marked person". Adler speaks for optimism and encouraging. He refers to Helen Keller - what an impressive ending for a paper that discusses physical and psychological problems. Here, Adler seems to think that there are always some ways to overcome our difficulties and to prepare a better future for our children.
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  #29  
Unread October 19th, 2004, 09:16 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters IX & X (Child Development)

I'd be most interested in reading your further comments about Richard III, or any other Shakespearean characters. Adler also makes reference to Shakespeare's Macbeth and Julius Caesar (pages 66 & 380 in "The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler"); Romeo and Juliet in his 1936 article "Love is a Recent Invention" (Volume 7 of "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler," to be published early 2005); and Hamlet in "Repression and the Masculine Protest," 1911 (Volume 3 of CCWAA).
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Unread October 20th, 2004, 09:06 AM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of Adler's Journal Articles, Vol. 2, Chapters IX & X (Child Development)

I was intrigued to read Adler's account of his psycho-analysis concerning numbers (chapter IX). It seems to represent an early example of Adler's belief that we know more than we understand, and illustrates the astonishing breadth of unconscious thought (a concept which I perceive as being important to Adler throughout his career, only comprehended in a different manner - holistically, as an aspect (or capability) of the person (rather than a distinct entity which is "not me" but is somehow within), and which is more readily accessible than Freud believed was the case). I agree with Manu that Adler is able to make strong interpretations of the material which make use of the person's context.

In regards to the second article (chapter X), one cannot but be impressed with Adler's obvious concern for the health of children and his efforts to make improvements in their condition.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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