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  #71  
Unread November 3rd, 2004, 02:02 AM
sslavik sslavik 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."

I don't know how you have understood what I said, George. I didn't make any claim at all about anything, let alone "how the goal got formed and who formed it." My so-called "Proposition 1" was just a possible example of something to begin with so we could get our teeth into it and try to figgure out what it means. We could start anywhere with anything. Even the Ansbachers have 12 propositions at the beginning of The Individual Psychology....
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  #72  
Unread November 3rd, 2004, 12:53 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Steve, I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but there is a list of "The Basic Principles of Classical Adlerian Psychology" (somewhat parallel to Ansbacher's list) at http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/principl.htm. They are reproduced below for the reader's convenience.

--------------------

"Basic Principles of Classical Adlerian Psychology"
by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) developed the first holistic theory of personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy that was intimately connected to humanistic philosophy of living. His lectures and books for the general public are characterized by a crystal clear common sense. His clinical books and journal articles reveal an uncommon understanding of mental disorder, a deep insight into the art of healing, and a great inspiration for encouraging optimal human development. Adler's essential principles are as follows.

1. Unity of the Individual
Thinking, feeling, emotion, and behavior can only be understood as subordinated to the individual's style of life, or consistent pattern of dealing with life. The individual is not internally divided or the battleground of conflicting forces. Each aspect of the personality points in the same direction.

2. Goal Orientation
There is one central personality dynamic derived from the growth and forward movement of life itself. It is a future-oriented striving toward a goal of significance, superiority, or success. In mental health, it is a realistic goal of socially useful significance or superiority over general difficulties; in mental disorder, it is an unrealistic goal of exaggerated significance or superiority over others. The early childhood feeling of inferiority, for which one aims to compensate, leads to the creation of a fictional final goal which subjectively seems to promise future security and success. The depth of the inferiority feeling usually determines the height of the goal which then becomes the "final cause" of behavior patterns.

3. Self-Determination and Uniqueness
The goal may be influenced by hereditary and cultural factors, but it ultimately springs from the creative power of the individual, and is consequently unique. Usually, individuals are not fully aware of their goal. Through the analysis of birth order, repeated coping patterns, and earliest memories, the psychotherapist infers the goal as a working hypothesis.

4. Social Context
As an indivisible whole, a system, the human being is also a part of larger wholes or systems--the family, the community, all of humanity, our planet, the cosmos. In these contexts, we meet the three important life tasks: occupation, love and sex, and our relationship with other people--all social challenges. Our way of responding to our first social system, the family constellation, may become the prototype of our world view and attitude toward life.

5. The Feeling of Community
Each human being has the capacity for learning to live in harmony with society. This is an innate potential for social connectedness which has to be consciously developed. Social interest and feeling imply "social improvement," quite different from conformity, leaving room for social innovation even through cultural resistance or rebellion. The feeling of genuine security is rooted in a deep sense of belonging and embeddedness within the stream of social evolution.

6. Mental Health
A feeling of human connectedness, and a willingness to develop oneself fully and contribute to the welfare of others, are the main criteria of mental health. When these qualities are underdeveloped, feelings of inferiority may haunt an individual, or an attitude of superiority may antagonize others. Consequently, the unconscious fictional goal will be self-centered and emotionally or materially exploitive of other people. When the feeling of connectedness and the willingness to contribute are stronger, a feeling of equality emerges, and the individual's goal will be self-transcending and beneficial to others.

7. Treatment
Adlerian individual psychotherapy, brief therapy, couple therapy, and family therapy follow parallel paths. Clients are encouraged to overcome their feelings of insecurity, develop deeper feelings of connectedness, and to redirect their striving for significance into more socially beneficial directions. Through a respectful Socratic dialogue, they are challenged to correct mistaken assumptions, attitudes, behaviors and feelings about themselves and the world. Constant encouragement stimulates clients to attempt what was previously felt as impossible. The growth of confidence, pride, and gratification leads to a greater desire and ability to cooperate. The objective of therapy is to replace exaggerated self-protection, self-enhancement, and self-indulgence with courageous social contribution.
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  #73  
Unread November 3rd, 2004, 06:50 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Smile Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Henry thanks for "popping up on this thread. I really appreciate your wonderfully organized manner of thinking. This posting will assist so much in keeping this post tracking.
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  #74  
Unread November 3rd, 2004, 11:44 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Thumbs up Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

It is a real pleasure to respond to your questions Rita. You are helping ensure that the postings a understandable and that is a really important service you provide. Keep asking your good questions. I am no expert for sure, but the theory is so comprehensive that it is all too easy to jump ahead of what people unfamiliar might be reasonably expected to understand. Au contraire, my thanks to you!
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 4th, 2004 at 07:23 AM. Reason: Wrong word
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  #75  
Unread November 4th, 2004, 11:55 AM
Paul Miedema Paul Miedema is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Hello George,
I am thrilled by all the ideas that are shared here. Apparently you must have touched a vital nerve that stimulated so many brains to speak out.
At least you touched that nerve in me too. And I am thinking about this feeling of Minderwertigkeit. I too believe in its existence, and I think in the same time that "feeling less" only can occur after some kind of comparison. The question is now who initiated this comparison. A baby has no cosmic feelings yet. Sure, adults can feel humble, looking at the sky, imagining its vastness, realising that our earth, and we as humans, or I as a human, is only a negligible piece of dust in the entire cosmos. But I guess that the feeling of inferiority is meant to be a feeling of being less than a person I compare myself with. So it is, as far as I understand, a social feeling, or rather, a feeling initiated in society.
I like to take one step at a time, so I'd like to hear your comment on this.
Paul
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  #76  
Unread November 4th, 2004, 08:57 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Paul it looks like a scaled up thing that starts in the child. The first, if you will, "god" that the child experiences is the mother. She (usually) is the main source of survival, comfort and nuturance (including food) of course. As the mind develops with the maturation of the cerebral cortex, the child looks farther and farther afield. Finally at some point the whole issue of the meaning of life will arise in thoughtful people (almost all people). So the initial experience of incompletude or "inability" has to do with the very desparate matter (to the child) of food and comfort. Only as abstract reasoning develops does "self awareness" arise. (It is very hard to define what 'self awareness means so any help would be appreciated!) Along with self awareness comes the double edged sword of self comparison. That starts very young. The first born may be most at risk because he has no other "little ones" with whom he can compare his inabilities. The second born also looks ahead to the first born and may seek a conquest by "running harder" to overtake this "superior other" and the first born has this huge head start. So now we start to enter the arena of birth order influences.

So what I suggest is that is not so much a particular life situation that creates accentuated inferiority feelings, but rather how the child views the struggle. Some engage in the struggle with joyful delight. Some see it as an impossible obstacle, like a mountain towering over their tiny frame. The height of the mountain is in direct relationship to the depths of the "dark valley of despair".
Now as for the cosmic aspects we do gaze at the "splender of the Pliades" and the flame arc of the solar chariot of fire. Many of us feel small ... very very small in the scale of the cosmos. Many find comfort in the notion that the cosmos has resident within it a mind kindly disposed toward us in our frailness. This type of spirituality is in keeping with Adler's psychology, but not a necessary part save when Adler uses the term "Sub Specie aeternitatis" where it seems to be inferred. He makes no further comment about the "eternal" but at least he does not oppose such a notion like as does the American Psychiatric Association (or at least some of its members infer this is the position. I have not seen this in writing by them in fairness)
So yes, the initial inferiority feeling is a social one, but in very thoughtful people or in people like Jim Lovell who stood on the lunar surface at Tranquillity Base, it may extend into what has been called "cosmic loneliness". From this experience Jim became very interested in human spirituality at one time. I have no current information about his development and perhaps that is good because such a journey is a very personal thing.
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  #77  
Unread November 4th, 2004, 10:10 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Just as a further note in this regard, many many years ago when I was studying undergraduate social anthropology under Edmond Carpenter at University of Toronto before going to medical school, we had a guest lecture by Margaret Mead the noted American anthropologist and self proclaimed athiest (not anti-theist), she made a remark that really angered me at a time when I have to acknowledge I was an anti-theist and belligerent at that. She said our species is wrongly named "homo sapiens" and should rather be called "homo religioso" I think she said. My Latin is even further back, so I may not have it spelled correctly. She argued that as a social anthropologist, the most universal characteristic she saw that differentiated us from all other primates, was that across the earth, our species is "religious". I was "not amused" (sounds like the queen ... "We are not amused!"), because I had a really nasty attitude toward religious folks and the notion of a higher power. That view in me, I must say, has changed very radically with age and experience, but again this is rather personal and this is not the time or place to discuss it please.
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 4th, 2004 at 10:17 PM. Reason: spelling again and again and again!!!
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  #78  
Unread November 5th, 2004, 07:39 AM
Rita Schaad Rita Schaad is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

jupee , I found it
thanks George (and Thanks to Henry Stein)

I'm a bit squeezed with time, but will 'talk' to you again.
Rita
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  #79  
Unread November 5th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Rita Schaad Rita Schaad is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Paul
I enjoyed your comment/reply.
There must be a reason to this Inferiority feeling. A psychiatrist, I guess, deals/assists people already laden with all the impressions and experiences, more or less in a jumble, of their lives. And I agree, there must be structure to sort these things out and find an orderly path to wholeness and 'eternal progression'. I am in awe of all such work implies.

But I am wondering, if, in theory, a life -affirming and encouraging environment would lessen or even eliminate that notion - starting in childhood, of course!

greetings Rita
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  #80  
Unread November 5th, 2004, 08:13 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Thumbs up Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Well yes an affirming environment can encourage the child, BUT you can get too much of a good thing. If affirmation becomes pampering, the child may feel, for example that others should do things for him, or that he may view himself as incapable etc and then it becomes a discouragement! Remember, it is not what is happening/happens, but rather the conclusions being drawn coupled with the quantity of courage that is innate in this child that creates the life style.
My oldest son has an E/R of a board blocking his crib. He was under one year old. He was very angry when he saw that board. I put that board there because this guy is now a physicist and he learned his Newtonian mechanics very early. Almost as soon as he learned to crawl he also discovered that if he got on all fours and rocked vigorously with an attendent motor sound ... Arrrr... arrrrr..., he could move the crib across the room. He remembers being very angry when he saw that two by four which I had put in place because the walls were getting rather the worse for wear as the crib rather vigorously impacted them. It would be easy to conclude that this discouraged him but no it did not. In his work in physics he loves negative results and sees them as a great challange to be overcome. Not being able to do something greatly stimulates him. This attitude is a great asset to a physicist to the point that he has played a major role in the development of Canada's Quad Pole Synyhthetic Aperture Airborn RADAR Imagaging program, which at one time was world leading because it was supposed to be "an almost intractable problem". He now has a level of persistence that I envy. The conclussion that he seems to have drawn is similar to Archimedes ... "Give me a single fixed point and I can move the earth". Just a little example of how the conclusion creates the Life Style from the unique creativity of the individual.
So you can see Rita that this is a "delicious psychology and although I do get tired as does anyone, my appetite for this joyous work, "grows apace".
Thanks again for another scrumptious posting.
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