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Henry Stein October 3rd, 2006 09:38 AM

Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 9: Case Histories
On October 2nd we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 9, Case Histories, Chapters I & II. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Vol. 9 of CCWAA, Case Histories, contains three independent, separate books: Problems of Neurosis, The Case of Mrs A, and The Case of Miss R. These three works demand different methods of summarizing.

Problems of Neurosis consists of eleven chapters containing case histories. Theoretical remarks are in the beginning of the chapters, or dispersed in the text. It is probably impossible to give any summary of the rich content of these chapters, so the text provided is more an outline than a summary. In addition, the case studies will not be summarized (it would not give a fair idea of the original). Instead, some theoretical concepts will be exemplified. One should remember that the original text is heavily case-oriented.

Chapter I, Goals of Superiority is a discussion on the leading line of the person. "The problem of neurosis is ... the difficult maintenance of a style of acting, thinking and perceiving which distorts and denies the demands of reality." The basis for the cooperation between the client and the therapist is to understand the mistakes of the client. Here, Adler already in the introductory paragraph the idea of "cooperation". It is very important to Adler, and one should remember that the text that Adler writes may sometimes deviate from his practice. The text is based on an "objective observer" - viewpoint, while the experiential perspective of the client is very important for Adlerian practice. Furthermore, one should not forget that IP is all about cooperation, about communication. This demands something more than an "objective observer" status - capacity for empathy and sympathy are needed from a therapist. - There is a case of a boy, 17. He had difficulties to make decisions. "He carefully collects and exhibits the most ordinary difficulties of life, common to everybody. He does this more to impress himself than others, but naturally other people take his burdens into account and do not expect much of him. So this young man uses his experienced difficulties as a method to achieve a privileged, judged by more lenient standards than others. The cost for this is payed with neurosis.

Ch. II, Not Meeting the Problems of Life, is entirely based on case studies. Problems of Neurosis appeared in 1929 in an English language version. It contains mainly case studies, with some theoretical comments. As Henry T. Sein, the editor of the CCWAA points out in his foreword to the Vol. 9, one should have some basic knowledge of IP before attempting to study this work. - Adler never made a strict difference between neurosis and psychosis. The same psychodynamic principles operate in both cases. The chapter begins with a case of a boy 18, schizophrenic. Adler points out that the boy was unprepared to the challenges of life. His social skills were poor, and he did not like to communicate with his comrades. Adler says that the therapist should approach his/her clients as a fellow-man, and to enable him to transfer thus awakened social feeling to others. It is important to win the client's good will; this function is not entirely different from what mothers are doing. - There is also a case of a woman 46. She suffered from depression; otherwise, she was a dominating person. In this case, a strong woman had married a weaker man in order to dominate him. Adler recommends an indirect approach, especially with depressive clients. The therapist should use sympathetic approach, and not hurt the client. The chapter contains a number of practical hints on the difficult art of conversing with the clients.

To order your copy of Volume 9, go to .

Henry Stein October 12th, 2006 07:57 PM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 9: Case Histories
On October 16th we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 9, Case Histories, Chapters III & IV. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. III, Deficient Social Feeling, Masculine Protest begins with some initial considerations of some basic ideas of IP. Adler says that "what we call social feeling in IP is the true and inevitable compensations for all our natural weaknesses. Even from the biological standpoint, the human being is clearly a social creature, needing a much longer period of dependence upon others before its maturity than other animals; the human mother is also more dependent before, during, and after giving birth." All actions on the useless side can be traced back to a feeble social feeling. Inferiority feeling is a basic concept in IP. The goal of superiority is often identified with the masculine role-taking. However, Adler presents a case of a 26-years old lady who wanted to be a boy. As a child, she had hated dolls, and preferred to play with toy railway-trains. Later on, she had many male friends, but was never in love. She was very sporty. She felt that she had been betrayed by her father who had married again after her mother died, and, later on, by her lover who had deserted and left her alone. In order to safeguard herself against new disappointments, she developed a fiction that it is impossible for a girl to keep a man's love. Her idea was based on cultural stereotype: that the female person is of second rate importance and therefore not really valuable. It is this illusion that, according to Adler, leads often to unhappiness in love and marriage, and is the basis of masculine protest.

Ch. IV, Problems in Love and Marriage is a study on some very widely-spread questions of human social life. Adler does not accept the idea that only sexual impulses and/or their sublimations important here, although they have a definite place in study of these difficulties. Love and marriage are normal responses to the sexual question. Well-prepared people do not find these responses difficult. Courage, optimism, common sense, and the feeling of being at home in the world will enable him/her to meet all problems successfully. If the social contact is poor, difficulties follow. Adler takes up again the notion of masculine protest and writes that a wrong kind of striving to superiority may produce great difficulties. - Adler presents a case of a man 23, who wanted to dominate his environment with his drinking. He was a spoiled child who had lost his father, and was pampered by his mother. When he married, his attitude was one of constant criticism, jealousy, and advice. The client behaved like he had earlied behaved to his mother and his elder sister when they had refused to fulfill his wishes. Now, after scenes with his wife, he drank heavily and came home intoxicated. Just as a child, he became a tyrant of the house, dominating and humiliating his wife.

To order your copy of Volume 9, go to .

Henry Stein October 22nd, 2006 11:03 AM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 9: Case Histories
On October 23rd we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 9, Case Histories, Chapters V & VI. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. V, Neurotic Style of Life and Psychotherapy is a chapter on some phenomena of neurotic compensation. Adler writes that "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." There is a very important paragraph on the principles of psychotherapy in this chapter. Adler describes his own approach very vividly, and how he communicates with the client. "A cure depends on their (the client's and the therapist's) unity in understanding the patient's goal which has been hitherto a heavily guarded goal." There are again some cases, e.g. the story of a boy who believed he was a prophet, a clairvoyant but speechless man, of man who escaped through drinking, and a suicidal medical student.

Ch. VI, Neurotic Use of Emotion, is a study of "tricks of emotions"- Adler used the concept of a "trick" in order to describe what the emotions are doing for a person. On the other hand, the emotions are tricks that the person is employing in order to safeguard his/her neurotic final fictions. There is e.g. a case of a man 53, with agoraphobia. This man wanted to avoid people. One day, he could not breathe properly. - The client was educated his grand-parents, and he had as a child constantly quarreled with his mother. Theclient been married, but the marriage had been a disappointment because of the wife's demands. After the divorce, he became misogynistic. Women had defeated him. He was a spoiled child who wanted everything for nothing. His agoraphobia was the result of his fear of meeting women. Because he was afraid going out, he developed stomach and respiratory troubles. "This fear results from the deeper motive of agoraphobia, which is to exclude all situations in which one is not the center of attention."

To order your copy of Volume 9, go to .

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