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Unread October 3rd, 2006, 09:38 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default 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 T. Stein, Ph.D,

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Last edited by Henry Stein; February 27th, 2010 at 11:18 AM.
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