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Henry Stein November 5th, 2005 05:49 PM

Cumulative Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapters I-VII
On November 7th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapter I. The following chapter summary was prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Chapter I in Volume 7 of the CCWAA The Neurotic Character, (1931) continues the same theme as Chapter XXVI in Volume 6. According to Adler's argument, a description of character does not mean a description of the total inner life - character is not immutable. Descriptions are needed because there is no single concept that would be able to express what we mean e.g. by "neurotic character". A character means "social attitude". Thus, it reflects the inner realities and the social realities of the environment. Adler proceeds to discuss the various manifestations of neurosis and concludes his paper referring to the need for more counseling centers in connection of schools. He believes that all education should aim at expanding and solidifying social feeling.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to .

Manu Jaaskelainen November 10th, 2005 04:45 PM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. I (The Neurotic Character)
Please note a small error that creeped in the summary: It should be "the same theme as Ch XXVI in Vol 6". Now we have the word "or" instead of "in"; this changes the whole meaning of the sentence!

Henry Stein November 12th, 2005 08:46 PM

Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. II & III (Symptom Selection & Psychoanalysis)
On November 14th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters II & III. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. II The Child's Symptom Selection (1931) is a contribution to a very difficult subject, neither is the paper easy to read. The original version was published in a German-language pediatric Journal. Adler rejects the idea that heredity alone would detemine the symptom selection: many symptoms appear without any specific organic cause. "Understanding the selection of symptoms is not a matter of mathematics that can be solved by formulas. ... We must apply the general diagnosis of Individual Psychology, but cannot allow ourselves to be satisfied with that. We must follow with the specific diagnosis until we uncover the totality of the personality, the individuality. Therefore, Individual Psychology."

Ch. III Individual Psychology and Psychoanalysis (1931) is an important paper on the differences between Freudian psychoanalysis and Adler's Individual Psychology. It is not possible to write a short summary of all arguments; only a sample must suffice. In the first place, Individual Psychology concentrates on the person's "I", a totality, a personality. There is no "it" nor any "drives" outside this basic unit. This "I" encounters barriers in the reality of the community, in the reality of the cosmos, and in the existence of two separate sexes. Individual Psychology uses a language that is goal-oriented; the psychological processes should be understood and not merely be explained causally. Social feeling and social interest are basic principles in IP, and are basic determinants of the life style of the person.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to .

Trevor Hjertaas November 14th, 2005 11:00 AM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. II & III (Symptom Selection & Psychoanalysis)
Reading the paper on IP and Psychoanalysis, I was struck by Adler's reference to the creative force of the individual.

This creative force fo the self is still largely overlooked in psychology and psychiatry today, especially with our focus on the brain and neurochemical factors. These seem to have become what the "drives" were in Adler's and Freud's time (and indeed, did Freud not long for a day when all psychological disturbance could be explained by biology?).

Were he alive today, Adler would undoubtedly take these biological factors into account as important, but he would surely not attribute everything to them, and if anything would view them as challenges to be faced by the individual, and would observe how the individual utilized his or her particular style-of-life to do so. He would also, surely, take a holistic view of neurochemistry, and note how not only can neurochemical imbalance lead to psychological disturbance, but that psychological disturbance (such as a less than useful style of life) can contribute to the development of an "imbalanced" neurochemical state in the brain (which just happens to support the individual's style of life). In this way, he would show us how the biopsychosocial model could be truly understood.

Does anyone else have any thought about the biopsychosocial model as it would be applied by the Adlerian?

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.

George Neeson November 14th, 2005 05:43 PM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. II & III (Symptom Selection & Psychoanalysis)
Trevor the whole notion of the "chemical imbalance" :mad: as causal in neurotic and even psychotic disorders has not ever been shown to be the "sufficient cause" of these problems. Surely the thoughts of the person, which are entrained and lock stepped to the life style, are the real cause of the thought and emotional symptoms the patient creates. Modern neural imaging techniques like functional MRI etc. have been argued to show the linkage to the chemical imbalance theory. In fact all they demonstrate is what areas of the cortex and what switching centres (ganglia) are at work. I even would go so far as to suggest that "the life style" should have characteristic image appearances on scans. I suspect it will not be easy to get this done, but I am sure we can provide a bona fide proof of the theory with before and after pictures when a master therapist like Henry "dissolves the life style" in cooperation with the client. Wouldn't that make a wonderful rsearch project?

For clarification let me add that Adler does allow for the genetic predisposition of people to move in various directions as they demonstrate their life style. He calls this "organ inferiority" and in this case it would be of brain function. It is understood that some may be more disposed to demonstrate this with sadness as in depression, with elation as in manic manifestations, or with bizzare thoughts as in the psychotic cluster. However, if they are encouraged to be fully part of the community of mankind, these symptoms need not present. To prove this one would need to have separated identical twins with one group being encouraged and taught social interest and the other group being taught perhaps that it is "every man for him self". I would have trouble finding anyone with a classical Adlerian background that would wish to undertake such a study, because in theory, the results of the latter egocentric group should be pretty disturbing!

Trevor Hjertaas November 18th, 2005 09:37 AM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. II & III (Symptom Selection & Psychoanalysis)
Thank you for your comments, George. I believe you and I are saying much the same thing.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.

Henry Stein November 18th, 2005 10:49 AM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. II & III (Symptom Selection & Psychoanalysis)
Trevor and George, another speculative perspective on the influence of the life style on brain chemistry would be to contemplate the fictional final goal as a hologram-like structure generated by laser light energy. This all-encompassing image would then influence every brain cell, providing an "explanation" for the unity of thinking, feeling, action, and somatic responses--each cell reflecting a tiny (fuzzy) but complete mirror of the whole. Granted, this is taking broad metaphoric liberty, but doesn't science rely on many fictional constructs and models? At the speed of light, it would be hard to determine whether chemistry, thought, or feeling came first, or whether they actually happened simultaneously. (Perhaps, this idea was triggered because I've had too much coffee this morning!)

George Neeson November 18th, 2005 04:44 PM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. II & III (Symptom Selection & Psychoanalysis)
Keep drinking the coffee. I like this construction very much. It speaks to the holism that Adler saw ... the unity of the person which, I as a physician feel psychiatry fails to do.

Henry Stein November 19th, 2005 09:42 AM

Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. IV & V (Compulsion Neurosis & Pampered Children)
On November 21st, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters IV & V. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. IV Compulsion Neurosis (1931) is one of the many contributions Adler wrote for medical journals. Initially Adler failed in his attempts to get a recognition from the medical profession, as his request for a position of a Dozentur in the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna was rejected, following a four-year close examination of the documents he had submitted to the faculty. Later on, this initial failure was richly compensated by the publication of several contributions in medical journals; Adler also held an academic chair in United States. The paper on Compulsion Neurosis is one of these contributions to medical journals. The chapter begins with the recapitulation of some historical landmarks in the development of IP, and the continues to examine some basic traits in compulsion neurosis. One prominent trait is the neurotic tendency to create safeguards. It is not a means to defend against suppressed sexual desires, but a method to gain superiority in order to attain the goals of the person. Numerous case studies illustrate the argument.

Ch. V Pampered Children (1931) was originally an opening address at the fifth International Congress for IP in Berlin, in September 1930. That year, it was possible to organize a conference on IP in Berlin; soon, such an attempt would be impossible. Adler comments on the parental love that in some cases the bonding with one the parents, mostly with the mother, can be excessive. The pampered child lacks the courage to enter or to seek new relationships, for fear of failure. Adler presents a number of case studies in order to illustrate his arguments. For many people, their lifestyle can be a hindrance in the way of adapting to the realities of the everyday life. The egoism of the pampered people may become a real obstacle in the way to normal life that demands social feeling.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to .

Henry Stein November 25th, 2005 11:20 AM

Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. IV & V (Compulsion Neurosis & Pampered Children)
Alice Miller, the author of For Your Own Good, summarizes her thesis about the effects of abusive parenting on an entire culture in "Adolf Hitler: How Could a Monster Succeed in Blinding a Nation?" online at She begins her article with:

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think" - Adolf Hitler, as quoted by Joachim Fest.

Is it still possible in today's Germany to escape the realization that without the mistreatment of children, without a form of child-rearing based on violence to inculcate blind obedience, there would not have been a Hitler and his followers? And thus not millions of murdered victims either? Probably every thinking person in the post-war period has wondered at some time or other how it could have happened that a human being devised a gigantic machinery of death and found millions of helpers to set it in motion.
It would be interesting to extend Miller's argument to the issues of parental pampering and neglect. The epidemics of greed, corruption, and indifference that have infected American corporations and politics might also be facilitated by several generations of parental indulgence and deprivation. Do we also have leaders that embody the unconscious ideals of the masses?

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