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Jack_Miller February 26th, 2005 08:52 PM

Adler and Jung
The development of the Adlerian system has obvious and well-known implications for the subsequent development of Freudian concepts from 1912 onwards which have been discussed many times. I would be interested in the influence Adler had on Jungian psychology, since at the time of the break with Freud, Jung recognises the difference between the Adlerian system and Psychoanalysis and warned Freud. The development of the Adlerian system seems to a large degree to follow the scheme for individuation at a personal level. Firstly the shadow "the thing a person has no wish to be” to quote Jung, can be seen as the compensation process. Following this stage the acknowlgement of the anima and animus are roughly analogous to the masculine protest. When the individuation process reaches the stage of the "hero" which is according to Jung "a quasi-human being who symbolises the ideas, forms and forces that mould or grip the soul" it could be seen that this corresponds with the final fiction.

Since all these concepts existed in Adlers published theories prior to Jung’s break with Freud, how far can we consider Jung to be influenced by Adler in setting up his analytical psychology?

Henry Stein February 27th, 2005 12:07 PM

Re: Adler and Jung
Joseph Wilder wrote in 1959 (Introduction to Essays in Individual Psychology, edited by Kurt Adler and Danica Deutsch): "I realize that most observations and ideas of Alfred Adler have subtly and quietly permeated modern psychological thinking to such a degree that the proper question is not whether one is Adlerian, but how much of an Adlerian one is." Henri Ellenberger in The Discovery of the Unconscious, and Heinz Ansbacher in The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, agree that most of the Neo-Freudian directions could be called Neo-Adlerian. Ellenberger goes on to state that Adler inaugurated modern psychosomatic medicine, was the forerunner of social psychology, and the father of ego-psychology. (I think it may have been Murray Bowen or Nathan Ackerman who declared Adler to be the grandfather of family therapy.) Ellenberger concludes a segment on page 645 with: "However, there is the puzzling phenomenon of a collective denial of Adler's work and the systematic attribution of anything coined by him to other authors." The London Time obituary of Freud, mistakenly attributes the term "inferiority complex" to Freud; ironically, twenty-two-years later, The New York Times' obituary of Carl Jung mistakenly attributes the inferiority complex to Jung.

On pages 698 and 718 of The Discovery of the Unconscious, Ellenberger states that Jung's view of neurosis ("a sick system of social relationships")is similar to Adler's. On page 709, he connects Adler's masculine protest with manifestations of the animus in Jung. On page 715, he claims that Jung offered his more educated patients Adler's writings to read, and that, like Adler, Jung chose to face the patient rather than have the patient lie on a couch. Finally, on page 728, Ellenberger concludes: "Jung repeatedly acknowledged the importance of Adler; he admitted that the drive for superiority can be found at the root of certain neurosis, and that Adler's theory of dreams could give clues to the interpretation of certain dreams, and that neurotics tend to manipulate their environment, and like Adler, Jung seated the patient on a chair facing his own. What Jung taught about the individual's 'social age' and his 'social duties' has much in common with Adler's concept of the 'three great life-tasks'; and Jung made 'therapeutic reeducation' a part of his own psychotherapy." One of Jung's disciples, Gehrard Adler, in sketching the history of modern psychotherapy, presented Adler and Freud as the precursors of Jung. By contrast, Ansbacher (IPAA, page 3) states: "Adler gives no indication of having been stimulated by Jung."

It is fascinating that many fragments of Adler's theory are echoed throughout contemporary psychology, with one exception--no one has borrowed his construct of "the feeling of community." The widespread omission of this construct in other systems of psychology has significant philosophical implications.

Jack_Miller March 1st, 2005 10:52 PM

Re: Adler and Jung
Just to add to the previous examples you have quoted of the influence of individual psychology on Jung’s system. Richard Noll wrote the following in his endnotes to chapter 8 of The Aryan Christ The Secret Life of Carl Jung,"Jung used the term "guiding fictions" in his 1913 essay on psychological types. It echoes very similar concepts by Alfred Adler".
In the 1921 book Psychological Types,chapter XI, Jung also acknowledges the following "compensation ... was introduced into the psychology of the neuroses by Adler...the significant thing about this conception is the undeniable and empirically demonstrable existence of a compensating function in the sphere of psychological process”. Also in the essay The Aims Of Psychotherapy Jung writes "I recognize how much my work has been furthered first by Freud then by Adler: and whenever possible I apply their standpoints to my practical treatment of patients"

I agree, it is unfortunate, considering the extent to which Adler’s ideas have been appropriated, that Adler’s particular insights into the idea of community feeling, solidly based in Kant’s interpretation of commonsense, have not being incorporated into more psychological systems.

Henry Stein March 2nd, 2005 04:22 PM

Re: Adler and Jung
Thank you for the additional, interesting references. While editing one of Adler's unpublished manuscripts, "Differences in Forms of Psychic Compensation," (a lecture given at a physician's conference on April 7, 1931), I came across a rare reference to Jung. Adler mentions Jung's attempt at classifying people into types and then claims a larger view by explain how children will train themselves in any direction that seems promising as a compensation: thinking, emotion, sleeping, sexuality, etc. He states that any "overemphasis" of one function may lead to potential problems or failures. However, according to Adler, these can be prevented if the individual has enough social interest.

PaulGardiner April 5th, 2005 02:06 PM

Re: Adler and Jung
one side item - In E. A. Bennet's "what Jung really said", Bennet writes that Jung was very upset by his falling out with Freud, and became aware that Adler also had a split. It was in analyzing these conflicts that Jung developed the Introverted type and Extroverted type to describe Adler and Freud respectively.

Henry Stein April 5th, 2005 02:30 PM

Re: Adler and Jung
Paul, thank you for that fascinating side item. On the lighter side, if you'd like to see Adler, Freud, & Jung briefly reunited, check out "The Viennese Sextet" at

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