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  #61  
Unread October 30th, 2004, 02:35 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Ok Paul, now I understand what you are saying. Yes the influence of his clinical skills is written all over his works. He was an astute observer and astute observers who can integrate what the patient says with personal observation and professional knowledge make our best physicians. I feel that as a physician I do have a small advantage in observing the patient. It would be nice if all therapists had some exposure to the clinical diagnosis of organic disease. Thanks for straightening out my misunderstanding.
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  #62  
Unread October 30th, 2004, 08:57 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Exclamation Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Please take note:

As I have read back through the initial postings, particularly my own in the thread "From the Ground Up", I am concerned that some folks could feel that an adequate understanding of Adler's theory of personality and of Neurosis can be obtained by reading a series like this. Please be very aware that the theory is exceedingly deep and that I am also learning it. I doubt there are very many who have truly mastered this psychology. People like Henry Stein who have studied with a pair of Adler's colleagues and students, will surely have an in depth understanding. It takes many years of supervision and constant re-reading of Adler's writing to come close to being well informed. If "Adler is to psychology what Einstein is to physics", as far as I can ascertain, there are only 3 or 4 people alive right now who may understand General Relavity. It is unlikely there are a much greater number that truly understand Adler. You must get his writings and study and re-study them. You also need training on an on-going basis with a fully trained Adlerian master ... I am just an apprentice!

Having said all of this, I do not wish to intimidate anyone. What is the saying, "The longest journey begins with a single step". I do hope this simplified introduction will encourage all who read to undertake the wonderful journey of trying to learn as much as one can of Adler's insights for the benefit of the lives that you may touch.
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  #63  
Unread October 31st, 2004, 05:01 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

In my second last posting in this thread I mentioned that the movement has a "vector quality". A vector has a direction and a force. It moves from- to. From the feeling of minus, the Minderwerdikeit, to the above. So what is this direction that Adler talks about. It is a fictional goal of superiority above the perceived limitations! This goal although still vague in the child, moves from the "minus to the plus" and it will persist in almost all of the rest of life. Here is a quote from the Collected Classical Works of Alfred Adler Part I-III page 41 Volume I, The Neurotic Character. (Please be advised that this material and any other quotes from it I use, are copyright.)



"The most important task of thinking is, in the first place, to anticipate actions or events, to understand the means and the goal, and to influence them as much as possible. This thinking in advance assures us, to a certain extent, of our influence over space and time. Accordingly, our psyche is, in the first place, an organ of defense and attack, born out of distress with limitations that are too narrow and obstruct the gratification of our impulses from the very beginning. However, this purely physiological form of impulse-gratification can last only until suitable means have been found to stabilize and secure oneself against even the greatest challenge. By the end of the suckling stage, when the child performs independent, self-assured actions that are not directed solely towards the gratification of his impulses, when he takes his place within the family and begins to adapt himself to his surroundings, the child already possesses abilities, psychic gestures, and will. In addition, his actions have become coherent, and one can see that the child is on the way to achieve a place in the world. Coherent conduct of that kind can only be understood if one presupposes that the child has found a specific, fixed point outside his own person that he is striving after with the energy of his psychic development. The child, therefore, must have created a guiding line, a guiding image, in the expectation that this is the best way to find his orientation and achieve the gratification of his needs, the avoidance of discomfort and the realization of pleasure. ………..



Soon, this attitude will be accompanied by a striving to obtain the favor, the help and the love of the parents, and by impulses towards independence, of defiance and resistance. The child has found a "meaning of life' which he strives after, the outlines of which he is forming, and from which rises the conduct that guides and evaluates his actions and his emotional impulses. The helplessness of a child, his awkwardness and insecurity, force him to try out different possibilities, to collect experiences, and to create a memory so that the bridge into the future may be constructed, where greatness, power, and many different gratifications dwell. The construction of this bridge is the most significant achievement of the child, because otherwise he would be facing the entire gamut of impressions that come rushing on without any sense of order, without counsel, without guidance and without reassurance. It is hardly possible to define the limits of this first stage of the wakening subjective world, the development of the *I* properly, or indeed even to put it into words."

This is the first of many steps toward the goal of superiority. Another example that Adler uses in the same volume is with reference to Goethe on page 33 of the same reference given above but in chapter I-II. This one is quite jarring!

"Among others, Goethe points out that, on the one hand, perception may be linked to a practical gratification of certain needs, but that on the other hand, beyond this, man leads a life of emotion and imagination. These words aptly express the compulsion to elevate the feeling of self-worth, which also appears in one of his letters to Lavater, when Goethe remarks': This desire to make the pyramid of my existence, the basis of which is fixed and prepared for me, reach upward into the sky as high as possible, outweighs everything else and it will never be out of one's thought for even little more than a moment."

In contrast to his seeming lowly state, as the brain matures, a conquest starts which will move inexorably away from the benefit of mankind to the world of egocenticity. There is, according to Adler, in each of us, a compensating tyrant that would wish to rise, but the plan is vaguely or competely hidden from us and certainly not shown easily to mankind around. It is a secret compensation for the feeling of being nothing.
The task then of the therapist is to discern this "goal", interpolate it back to its origin in the feeling of inferiority, and then encourage it away by demonstrating that to be a fellow man is all we need. That is no small art in itself, but before this can be undertaken the "Life Style", the plan from below to above must be uniquely comprehended and that is the highly tuned skill of the expert Adlerian therapist!

This section has made a huge jump from the cute little, loveable child, to the child who feeling as nothing seeks his own mechanism for compensation and now will start to seek to "rule his little world" with every tool he can find. He will look over his parents, his siblings and all the manifold influences in his world, to see by what means he can attain the centre stage.
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Last edited by George Neeson; October 31st, 2004 at 05:18 PM. Reason: clarification and correct reference
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  #64  
Unread October 31st, 2004, 11:48 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Having my own stage:

The house lights dim. The centre floods come on and behold there stands another! I can not have the centre. I will not play a supporting character for I must have the lead. What shall I do? Oh yes, I know. I shall not storm the beach at Normandy. I shall have it to myself in Greenland where there is no competition. I shall play in "a nearby theater" where I can be the king. There is only room for one king in my domain and I shall be it. In German, the battle may be moved to a "Gegenschauplatz" ... a nearby theater. There the very discouraged person may rather play to an audience of one than support the role of others. Depression makes a useful theatric device to such a persons perception. What can the world expect from one so sad. They will all watch me and expect nothing of me. I can play my little charade and they will be none the wiser and I have their undivided rapt attention. Or perhaps I can be the audience in an imaginary attack as all the self created voices direct their malignant venom against my powerless frame. Then I can be a GREAT HERO in a battle they will not know that I created. (That is the world of psychosis.) This Adler calls the vanity of the neurotic and it is a trick. It excuses the neurotic or psychotic from bringing a benefit to this life. They are very busy after all, in their own private (or not so private) battle to overcome this secondary foe!
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  #65  
Unread November 1st, 2004, 08:38 AM
Rita Schaad Rita Schaad is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I have great difficulty to bring together some 'sensical' (is that a word??) sentences in order to say what comes to mind when I read all your posts. (That's part of the dreaded avalanche I warned you about, George)
Do I understand correctly, that in order to get started on this primer 'From the ground up’ you pretty much think that the Inferiority concept is ‘the Ground’ from which to build?

I love all the comments throughout from everyone and seem to be nodding along the way…..

Looking at why someone feels inferior (or inadequate) - isn’t the attitude of the society one lives in the thing that one deals with? Even when it is said, that this is part of the human condition – is it?
What of cultures that have a more integrated live philosophy – (gosh there must be some on this vast planet) and the passages and stages in a persons life are celebrated not dreaded and made problematic?

Adler’s world was a Western world. His concepts are sort of milestones for understanding human behavior.
His philosophy of the value and uniqueness of each person can become ‘a saving message’ when, I feel, the milestones are viewed as points of progression.
For both child and adult, progression becomes a thrilling life experience, when the fictitious goal is part and parcel in the daily striving.

I think what I want to say is, that maybe form ‘the ground up’ is actually from the ‘inside out’. Then we get a circle with a periphery. And the arrows that you suggested (north east and west…)are spreading out randomly in all directions from the centre point towards the periphery, which, of course expands the closer you seem to get to it.
Then the concepts of inferiority, compensation, community feeling, creative power, overcoming difficulties etc…. appearing in some orderly fashion, are truly regarded ‘as blessings’ and where the ‘art of encouragement’ is practiced throughout as ‘a style of life’.

Do you think Mr Adler would mind if we assume another more expanded universal viewpoint and put his “Meta Therapie” in the PRE - rather than the POST Therapeutic dialogue.

But maybe I’m dreaming, remember, I’m definitely coming from ‘the ground’ wanting to grow up.
Thanks for considering a mind that is ‘blowing in the wind’
Rita

ps; I came across a quote from Goethe today:

All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is now necessary is to think them again.
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  #66  
Unread November 1st, 2004, 07:36 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Smile Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Rita I really appreciate your comments and openness to the exploration of this deep and difficult theory. Let me respond to a few statements and questions if I am able.

1) Yes I do believe the inferiority feeling is the ground from which we build. It is the foundation stone on which the rest of the construction squarely rests.

2) You ask if the inferiority feeling "rests in the attitudes of society". Let me counter with a question rather than an answer because when you see this yourself, it opens up a whole new vista. Rita who creates this inferiority feeling? I don't think it to be infectious in the city square. It does not come in beef or sausage. Who then creates it and to what end? Remember we think teleogically or try to.

3) "The fictious goal is part and parcel of the daily striving" can not be thrilling! It is, after all a fictious goal ... a pursuit of that which never has nor ever will exist. It is a compensatory creation to cover up the horror of the feeling of being "less than nothing" (Minderwertigkeit") It is a response to a pervasive sense of worthlessness. It tastes terrible and the patient has no idea why it keeps on running because it is almost always hidden.

4) From the inside out is a valid optional metaphor. As if the person has internalized their own assessment of them selves based on a deep childhood discouragement. However on this "inside", there is this horrid inferior feeling unique to the creativity of each and every person with the attendant exhausting constant upward striving to the lofty impossible goal of perceived superiority which even while the person is doing it, they know it not to be true.

5) Meta therapy in my opinion, can only occur when the inferiority feeling and the fictional goal of superiority are completely dissolved away. Not that there is any hard rule about this, but boy I have gotten burned by introducing such a notion before the groundwork has been laid to have it come back to haunt me with esoteric discussions and no movement. That does not taste good as a therapist. I know. Perhaps most therapists have gone down that rabbit warren. Not that lofty ideals sould not be opened, but the person does not yet have the courage to pusue them and they may feel 'they have now arrived". Henry has said to me many times and I believe he is quoting Sophia, "Do not let them wear the crown ".

6) I am delighted you "want to grow up". The risk is the vector quality. There are several ways to grow up. We can seek to grow above our peers, or take the path I think you seek ... to achieve our own full measure that we may with Meuller "Bring a Blessing".

7) Rita please look at Henry's "Mind Map" of the Adlerian concepts. It is available to you above in a separate posting. It looks daunting and perhaps it is. It gives a visual picture of the breadth and depth and scope of this psychology. It will help you organize your thoghts. Don't be overwhelmed by it. Take it one branch at a time and read what Adler wrote. Believe me, eventually it "starts" to come together.

Thank you so much for your stimulating post and keep them coming. They are most helpful to me and all who take time to read this posting.
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 1st, 2004 at 08:24 PM. Reason: spelling again...
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  #67  
Unread November 2nd, 2004, 04:31 AM
Rita Schaad Rita Schaad is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Thanks so much for such a reply, for your understanding. I am so glad you took time to tackle this.
I'm not quite sure how to get this 'seperate posting' you refered to.
But once I do, it probably will keep me occupied for a while...
With much appreciation - Rita
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  #68  
Unread November 2nd, 2004, 08:00 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Rita the posting you seek is under Henry's posting ... a "sticky thread" called " Welcome to Classical Adlerian Discussion Forum-New Mind MAp for Navigation". It opens in Adobe as a PDF file. You may want to print it because the font is necessarily small to get in so much information.
Go down to the last current posting in this thread by Henry called "Mind Map for Classical Adlerian Psychology" and open it.
At the bottom of this posting just above Henry's signature you will find "Attached Files" a link. Click once on this link and the mind map will open in Adobe Acrobat. As I said you will want to print it. There is a wealth of information there in the most condensed possible form.
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 2nd, 2004 at 09:14 AM. Reason: Clarification
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  #69  
Unread November 2nd, 2004, 10:42 AM
sslavik sslavik is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

George, I'm wondering when we are going to start "from the ground up"..... Maybe it is happening already and I don't see it. But I was hoping/expecting that I might see you say something like:

"Proposition 1: we all have a goal" or

"Proposition 1: we all feel inferior and therefore we all have a goal"

or something simple and direct that we then might examine and define, bring back down to earth (rather than fly with) to see what it might mean, locate evidence once we know what it means, and make it intelligible to those who haven't read all of Adler. It hardly matters what idea we start with, since they will all have to be examined anyway.

Certainly this process would come closer to my idea of what we can do to create a statement of Adlerian ideas that everyone can approach.

steve

Last edited by sslavik; November 2nd, 2004 at 01:56 PM.
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  #70  
Unread November 2nd, 2004, 07:21 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Sounds good to say that Steve, but it begs the question of how the goal got formed and who formed it. I don't see how a set of logical propositions can show the genesis of this complex theory. I believe any attempt at straight line linear logic will miss the point of the unique creativity of each individual and how they use that to create a unique goal for themselves from a unique feeling of lessness that this person has created. If there is a better way to start unfolding this complex notion where the ground in fact is the creative endeavour of the child, I am open to any good suggestions. It seems extremely hard to try to distill the notions down without losing the depth and leading the reader to a possibly oversimplified and smug feeling that they get this. Any more leading suggestions would be appreciated.
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