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George Neeson October 11th, 2004 04:22 PM

From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
When I did ground school many years ago, my flight instruction manual was titled "From the Ground Up", a neat title for an instruction manual about how to safely get an aircraft off the ground and equally safely back to the ground! I am considering starting a thread to discuss on the forum, the very basics of Adler's psychology. It would be aimed at the person who really does not know this psychology. I would start with the philosophic under pinnings as I understand them and try to build a beginners on line text of basic Adlerian psychology.
I am interested to see what interest there is for such an undertaking. Any comments either from forum members or from folks viewing the forums would be appreciated. Should I attempt to undertake this task? Is there an interest in doing this? I know it is a big undertaking, but if we can interest some people not familiar with the psychology in engaging in a dialogue with us, I hope it would be helpful. Your thoughtful comments please. And yes you can tell me it is a bad idea if you feel it is. I am open for any comments. Thanks for reading this.

Henry Stein October 12th, 2004 03:17 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
Your offer to start a thread devoted to an introduction to Adler's ideas is generous and timely. Although we currently enjoy a vigorous exchange of commentary about Adler's earliest writing, and a number of guests have visited the forum to read these messages, few have posted questions or comments. It may be that many visitors have an interest in learning about Individual Psychology, but do not yet have a sufficient grounding in the principles to engage in a discussion. Hopefully, by starting at the beginning, we may make it more comfortable for anyone to participate. Most universities mention Adler in their Psychology 101 courses, but usually offer simplistic or misleading information about his contributions to personality theory and his technique of psychotherapy. If one reads Adler's popular books, it is easy to gain an easy, but limited overview of his philosophy and theory; reading his clinical works is a tougher task--the articles are rich, but complex and abundantly nuanced. This thread could provide a convenient bridge to learning more and more about Adler's remarkable legacy and its continuing relevance in psychology today. Go for it!

George Neeson October 16th, 2004 08:25 AM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
The response is "underwhelming". If there is not more indication that this would be of use, I will not undertake a lot more work that I don't need.

Henry Stein October 16th, 2004 10:48 AM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
Let's wait at least until Monday. I've checked the statistics on my web site search engine, and usage generally increases dramatically on Sundays. However, I too am puzzled by the hesitancy of visitors to post messages. Many people, who have potentially valuable comments and questions, may never have posted on a discussion forum. Does this forum's interface create some performance anxiety about "doing it right the first time?" As a moderator, I can always delete messages that are not ready for prime time--it is quite safe to experiment.

Let's consider some options: 1) drop the "ground up" thread if there are no responses by October 24th (in my experience, going back to the beginning of the old forum in 1996, it usually takes site visitors up to a month to get warmed up to participating in a forum thread; 2) start the series even without initial responses, and give it a trial period of a couple of months; 3) send me your series of "ground up" articles and I will post them on the Classical Adlerian Psychology home page at as a featured, ongoing series. Since the traffic at that site is much heavier than this forum, it will provide better exposure. Visitors can always be directed to this forum to leave questions.

We can also discuss any other options that get suggested.

James Wolf October 16th, 2004 02:27 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
George, I think a discussion of Adler "from the ground up" is a good idea. Where to begin? If I were a beginner, I think I'd like to hear not only about personality theory but how that is applied in therapy - to begin to get a sense of it all. That is a tall order, however.

When I find myself discussing Adler with others, therapists or others, I find myself spending intial time discussing 1. the Striving from a Minus to Plus: completion, power, significance, overcoming, mastery - however one chooses to describe motivation and movement, 2. Overburdening childhood situations, discouragement and sidelines to compulsive behavior and thinking (including common sense vs. private logic), 3. The fictional final Goal, and of course 4. Social Interest and Community Feeling.

George Neeson October 16th, 2004 02:50 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
Thanks for your comments James. yes explaining Adler to one unfamiliar is rather like trying to explain a microcosmic view of the "Meaning of Life and Everything" ... (Hoffsteader). I was thinking of starting by contrasting Adler with Freud in that Freud views the emotional suffering as occurring within a single isolated being, whereas Adler views it as occurring at the "person community Interface" level. Adler sees man in community ONLY, Freud in isolation. I believe that seeing us "In the stream of human evolution" as either adding to or drawing down, is where I should like to commence. From there we can flesh out how the "Minderwerdikeit" (I/F) becomes the modus vivendi rather than the feeling of fellowmanness that we must achieve. OK, I like making up my own words, but unless we see the psychology as a symphony played out in the community of fellow humans, we sound like a wierd psychology that is a bit obtuse. At least that is the common accusation I hear hurled against us when I think other psychologies are totally off the wall when they do not start with the "human to human" fact of social living. The Inferiority feeling is the excuse and con job to avoid that which one must do.

Well I would try to express these ideas with a little more finess and less abrasiveness.;)

sslavik October 16th, 2004 04:21 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
George, I'd be interested in working from the ground up. I would probably want to take the position of a devil's advocate, however, and ask questions that might be useful to address.... Steve

Manu Jaaskelainen October 16th, 2004 04:22 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
Yes, George, go for it! I am myself a lonely wolf in a country heavily dominated by other traditions than by individual psychology. I have studied the old college-level psychology textbooks used in this country from 1940'ies to 1960'ies, and there one finds Adler explained, in a strongly simplified fashion, yes, but you can still find the basic concepts there. Today, the situation has changed, and there is not much to be found about the different psychological traditions. Consequently, Adler is largely unknown in this country. If I start to speak about Adler here, I must first explain what it is all about. No translations are available. To start with, already the concept "individual psychology" produces difficulties. People think that it means that only the individual matters. They are very surprised when I tell them that, as a matter of fact, the social context prevails. If a good, solid english-language text with clear definitions and some figures and formulas would be available, it would be of great help. So, please, let's start it. I think that my situation here cannot be very different from what people are experiencing in a number of other countries today. Your iniative is superb. Few, if any, good ideas in history ever started as mass-actions. In most cases, the innovators were almost always a handful of inspired people with a good idea, with energy, with guts, and with a honest intention to be useful to their fellow-people.

George Neeson October 16th, 2004 06:36 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
Your comments are most encouraging. I hope this will unfold as a "team effort". I do not have the depth of understanding to do this. Under Henry's watchful eye and through the manifold ways we together comprehend this psychology, I am hopefull that we can develop a readable, comprehensive and inclusive introduction to this wonderful psychology. If we succeed in assisting a few people to see this as the depth psychology that it is, rather than a little known variant psychology, we will have brought a blessing to the otherwise dreary world of DSM diagnoses that subvert the cure of the soul.

George Neeson October 16th, 2004 06:50 PM

Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??
Steve that would be a most desirable response. The only way we can make this clear and comprehensible, is to check and test each step in the spirit of Adlerian cooperation. Perhaps when we are done we can collate the germ of it all and as Henry sees appropriate, make that available without searching all the threads. Your searching question would help me so much. One of the most dreaded questions for me is "George, can you tell me about Adler?" I respond best by far when I am questioned and that also helps me find that greater part of Adler's wisdom that I do not yet know. I shall look forward to your questions and the questions of anyone else.

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