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  #21  
Unread December 29th, 2005, 09:48 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XIV & XV (Activity, Psychosomatic Disturbances)

On January 2nd, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XIV & XV. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XIV The Structures of Psychic Activity (1934) is a paper that bears the sub-title: A Contribution to Individual Psychological Understanding of Character. It examines some basic ideas in IP. Adler begins presenting some examples of human activity, e.g. hesitant attitude, closing from the outer world, avoidance, etc. Activity is not equivalent to courage, but courage without activity does not exist. Individual life style may be incompatible with the individual goal of perfection. In real, cooperative human beings cooperation becomes the basic guiding principle of life. Human activity may be characteristic of cooperative as well as non-cooperative individuals. Activity level is hardly inherited (here is a small inconsistency as Adler seems to think that social interest is not inherited, while he said in Ch. XII that it is inborn - one could well speculate on the origin of this inconsistency - inborn and inherited are not synonymous, but there can be some real inconsistency here, although Adler says in Ch. XII that social interest cannot develop under adverse environmental conditions even if it would be inborn). The chapter has an interestin ending: "The psychologist must also clarify poorly understood nationalism that hurts all human society, and leads to wars of conquest, revenge, or prestige."

Ch. XV Psychosomatic Disturbances (1934) is a paper on the mind-body relationships (cf. Ch. XIII). Adler starts with a short discussion of organ inferiority. There is again the homeostasis-phenomenon. He discussses the thyroid gland and other endocrinic manifestations of psychological tension. Adler also points out a number of times that the empirical knowledge of the mind-body relationships was in 1934 very scanty; he does not claim to have found some "final explanation" of these extremely complicated interactions. However, Adler presents some very bold hypotheses but is never dogmatic about them. He writes that it is important to understand what is embedded in the evolution of mankind and what is not. What is embedded in the evolutionary process, is from Adler's point of view, the "real direction" of the mankind. What is in discord with this direction, is non-cooperative, neurotic, and faulty. Adler only tells us to think about the direction of the evolution; he himself does not present any dogmatic theses about this. However, he thinks that cooperation, social interest, empathy and sympathy are some of the signs.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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Last edited by Henry Stein; January 6th, 2006 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Corrected date.
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  #22  
Unread January 6th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XVI & XVII (Mass Psychology, Basic Ideas of IP)

On January 9th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XVI & XVII. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XVI Mass Psychology (1934) is a study on social psychology. The title of the paper is based on a book by the French philosopher-psychologist Gustave Le Bon. Le Bon argued that the mass has no responsibility, while the individual has a strong feeling responsibility. Adler is still using the concept mass psychology, but he is very critical of Le Bon's ideas. A more appropriate term would be today social psychology instead of mass psychology. Le Bon is discussing and analyzing mainly the problems caused by masses; Adler emphasizes the constructive significance of the social phenomena. He refers to the phenomenon of language and says that without social context the language would be unthinkable. "The feelings of compassion and altruistic pleasure, the respect and recognition granted the successful efforts to produce beauty in art and life all show that the human masses, though their accord is by no means perfect, are guided by a common urge to value the welfare and future of humanity as a whole." Adler writes that mass-psychology (= social psychology) must be considered from the same point of view as the psychology of the individual. So human social groups are striving to overcome a minus-situation. There is a strong tendency toward social equality. "We see that mass-movements achieve permanent success only when they flow in the channel of evolution."

Ch. XVII The Fundamental Views of Individual Psychology (1935) is a short, concise statement of the basic ideas underlying much of IP. Adler concludes this paper saying that "a great improvement in the next generation can be assured by preventive work; while the treatment and cure of the numerous failures and maladjustments of our time depend upon increasing the degree of social feeling and cooperation. For difficult times like ours, the inherited potentiality for human cooperation does not suffice. It must be further developed. The necessity and importance of this development are inherent in the discoveries of IP ..." Adler writes also that neither heredity nor environment determine the relationships of the individual with his/her outside world. The decisive element is the attitude of the individual toward life; the individual himself should decide how he or she relates to the world.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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  #23  
Unread January 6th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XVI & XVII (Mass Psychology, Basic Ideas of IP)

Another perspective on the psychology of groups is offered by Oliver Brachfeld in his book Inferiority Feelings in the Individual and the Group. Brachfeld traces the history of "the feeling of inferiority" through Janet, Ganz, Kunkel and Adler, then attempts to draw conclusions about progressively larger arenas--the individual, family, economic groups, racial groups, and national groups. Although he frequently refers to Adler, Brachfeld's ideas sometimes stretch way beyond Adler's assumptions into areas of questionable validity. An unfortunate deterrent to accessing this book is the price of the reprint ($169.00). The hefty prices by Routledge for mere reprints, make the newly translated volumes of The Collected Clinical Works of Works of Alfred Adler look like a bargain.
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  #24  
Unread January 13th, 2006, 09:26 PM
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XVIII & XIX (Neurosis, Delinquency)

On January 16th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XVIII & XIX. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XVIII What is Neurosis? (1935) is a paper on some basic traits of neurotic syndromes. Adler emphasizes in this paper two aspects: first, the need for professional knowledge (that he calls "medical knowledge", but we may safely assume "professional knowledge" is today a more accurate concept, and secondly, the need for preventive measures. "Although prevention of neurosis is both possible and necessary, it can be achieved only through a clearer recognition of the root of the trouble." In order to start, professional knowledge is needed. However, this knowledge should not only remain in the circle of professionals; family-members, teachers, and other persons participating in the social life of children and youngsters should have this knowledge as well. The paper continues with a case study, and returns again to theoretical reflection. In this paper, Adler is using some new concepts like creativity, law of movement, ideal society, attitude, and Gestalt (or Form, Configuration). Of course, Adler was using these concepts earlier as well, but one cannot avoid the impression that there is a new turn in Adler's thought. Adler proceeds to a new kind of psychology that sees human personality as a self-realizing, integrated and creative whole. The cure of neurotic misery can come about only through the understanding, the increased insight of the client, and the development of his/her social feeling.

Ch. XIX The Structure and Prevention of Delinquency (1935) returns to a theme that was important to Adler (cf. eg. Vol. 5 of CCWAA, Chs. I, XIII, and Vol. 6, Chs. XIX and XXIII). Adler points out that crime occurs where social interest is insufficiently developed. Many criminals regard other people as objects; their empathy and sympathy are undeveloped. "A criminal believes that he will triumph by his crime, and not be caught." So crime is another method to compensate for the inferiority feeling. "We can see the criminal's mistaken picture of the world, his pampered life style, in the very fact that he considers others so little that he regards them merely as victims." Prevention is again the key-word of this paper: Adler presents various ideas that should be considered in a society that is willing to fight crime. One of his ideas is that no children should be allowed to leave the school until they have learned something useful that can be employed in guaranteeing for the youngsters a place in society, eg. some skill in trades and crafts.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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  #25  
Unread January 28th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XX & XXI (Prevention, Dreams)

On January 30th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XX & XXI. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XX Prevention of Neurosis (1935) is a paper on neuroses and their prevention. Before discussing neurotic phenomena, Adler presents a short, critical review of the history of psychology from his point of view. This part of the paper is highly interesting, because Adler himself was a person who contributed to the development of psychology. On the one hand, Adler is very critical toward the contemporary "polemics" between the different schools of psychology (he feels that this polemics is often nothing but an expression of human vanity, an attempt of the representatives of the various schools to make themselves important). On the other hand, he does not accept an uncritical eclecticism. Adler rejects the hereditarian theories of human nature as well as environmental conceptions. Adler writes that there are two contradictory powers in human personality: striving for power, and social feeling. "In neurosis ... we always face a highly placed goal of individual superiority. ... For therapeutic purposes, this information has to be shared with the individual carefully and kindly. ... such a higly placed goal of personal superiority reflects a lack of the proper measure of social feeling and precludes the development of healthy interest in others." The prevention of neurosis means the strenghtening of social interest.

Ch. XXI On the Interpretation of Dreams (1936) is a study on dreams and dreaming. Dreams are from Adler's point of view no wish-fulfillment functions, neither do they possess any inherent prophetic properties. However, Adler refers to Freud and presents a short summary of Freud's valid contributions (from Adlerian point of view). The first point in this list is that the affective or emotional attitudes in a dream indicate its real meaning better than the purely picturesque or verbal elements. According to Adler, Freud's theories represented a distinct advance in the interpretation of dreams. Dreams are an attempt to solve the problems of life. Because there is no real contrast between conscious and unconscious, dreams reflect the totality of the individual personality, just as any other verbal or nonverbal expressions do. Dreaming is in a way a continuation of the thinking process. It is a kind of "simulation" (to use a modern expression) of the life-problems of the individual, in order to find some viable solution to these challenges. However, the interpretation may be very complicated, and professional advice is needed in many cases.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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  #26  
Unread February 4th, 2006, 09:03 PM
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XXII & XXIII (Neurosis, Symptoms)

On February 4th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XXII & XXIII. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XXII The Neurotic's Picture of the World (1936) is a paper on the world as experienced by a neurotic person. Adler's idea in this paper is that neurosis is a problem-complex that occurs because the person has a wrong philosophy of life: he/she is insufficiently able to cooperate because his/her social feeling is distorted or diminished. The paper contains some case studies that illustrate the argument. "The individual develops his life-style as his unique manner of coping with life's problems, according to how he feels and sees them in his particular picture of the world. Those who grasp this point understand the full heights and depths in the science of psychology."

Ch. XXIII How the Child Selects His Symptoms (1936) is another paper on the problem of symptom-selection. Adler says that this is the most difficult subject in neurosis-psychology and psychology in general. "Understanding symptom-selection requires looking at symptoms as creations, as works of art. We must ... accept with admiration that every individual is an artist in his mode of life, even in his errors. Behind his mistakes lie influences that could not have been good ones and to which he reacted with an erroneous response." The paper contains again a critique of the hereditary theory; Adler emphasizes that the children actually do decide how they react in different life-situations. Everything depends upon the individual and his/her attitude to life. The individual is a unique and creative person; thus, there are limits for any general methods to define any "laws" or "formulae" of behavior. In order to understand, one must study the individual, his habitual ways of acting and characteristic ways of thinking and feeling.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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  #27  
Unread February 11th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XXIV & XXV (Love, Birth Order)

On February 11th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XXIV & XXV. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XXIV Love is a Recent Invention (1936) is a paper on the concept of love, as Adler understands this very word. Adler says that love is a comparatively recent discovery, and it is an incvention, or a result of evolution. Poets and philosophers have written much about love, but it is for the most part "nonsense," according to Adler. But the percentage of people capable of (perfect) love was always insignificant. Adler writes that hardly anyone is capable to tell what love is; but, at least, he (Adler) can tell what it is not. Love is not physical fascination; it is not lust for conquest; it is not one-sided adoration. The ideal of modern love did not exist until women were emancipated from their social and economic shackles. It is a dyad of equal partners. Adler gives some advice how to achieve this dyad; this advice contains eight main points with many common-sense observations. Finally, Adler says that "in our century, love has emerged from its Dark Ages." However, there are still many factors that inspire the masculine protest in women and the inordinate fear of women in men.

Ch. XXV How Position in the Family Constellation Influences Life-Style (1937) is a paper on birth-order. Adler is famous for his theory of birth-order, so a paper devoted for this theme has an interest of its own. This paper should not be briefly summarized, because the classification of children in first-born, second-born, and so on, is very schematic as such, and a brief summary might confuse more than clarify. Some short comments should be enough: The first-born is person with natural authority, and many of them keep their position even after the second child. The second child is a challenger and faces a competitive situation. Position of the youngest child is very complicated, and depends on the path taken by the older children. The child tend to a situation of the over-protected person, or he will be a challenger, with competitive orientation. In literature, one may find many examples of the situations discussed by Adler. Study the Bible, e.g. the story of Joseph and his brothers, or other literature, e.g. the book Seven Brothers, written by the Finnish classical writer Aleksis Kivi.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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  #28  
Unread February 18th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chap. XXVI-XXVIII (Recollections, Progress)

On February 20th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XXVI, XXVII, & XXVIII. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XXVI Significance of Early Recollections (1937) is Adler's contribution to the theory of the early memories. Adler does not take these early recollections at the face-value: "Of course, we do not believe that all early recollections are accurate records of actual facts, many are even imagined; perhaps most are changed to a time later than that in which the events are supposed to have occurred; but this does not diminish their significance." What is altered, is an expression of the client's ideas and goals; it is possible to infer the life-style of the client on the basis of these changed memories. By presenting them, the person gives expression what he/she considers important in his/her life. "When correctly understood in relation to the rest of an individual's life, early recollections contain the central interests of that person. They give us valuable hints and clues in finding the direction of a person's striving." (You can order a copy of this article by going to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/theme.htm .)

Ch. XXVII The Progress of Mankind (1937) is paper on the philosophy of IP. Adler starts discussing some difficulties in reaching consensus about the idea of progress. Next, Adler reviews some central tenets of IP. Then Adler provides himself his own answer: " Human progress reflects the greater development of social interest; therefore, human progress will be inevitable as long as mankind exists." This is a grand view: Progress is the growth of social interest, and there are hardly any limits for this growth because the recent level of social interest is very low, according to Adler. "In the holistic relationship between man and cosmos progress will continue until the decline of the human family. The environment molds man, but man molds the environment (Pestalozzi)." Human understanding is limited; the rational science speaks here the last word. Adler ends his paper with an allusion from Winston Churchill: "Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is one's courage that counts."

Ch. XXVIII How I Chose My Career (1947) is a very personal paper. Adler describes some of the early memories of his own, and concludes: "To this I must add what the friendly reader has perhaps already guessed from my account: That I decided at an early age to face and struggle with all of my difficult problems, so that I might be in a better position to solve them." See Edward Hoffman's book on Adler The Drive for Self, Ch. 1.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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