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  #11  
Unread October 17th, 2004, 10:19 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Exclamation Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

The responses have been very helpful. I will try to get this project started in the next two weeks. I may just start a new thread called "Adler from the Ground Up, an Introduction".
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Last edited by George Neeson; October 17th, 2004 at 10:21 AM. Reason: visibilty
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  #12  
Unread October 17th, 2004, 02:23 PM
Jeanie Cotton Jeanie Cotton is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I would hope that there would be interest in this. What a gift you would be giving. I would be interested myself although I have been studying for awhile. I can always use "regrounding". And I like the idea of connecting with others on the subject. In addition I could refer those who state some interest in Adlerian psychology but don't know where to start to see if they are interested in going further.
Jeanie Cotton, LMFT
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  #13  
Unread October 17th, 2004, 03:06 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Jeanie, thank you for your kind encouragement.I hope to start the project in the next two weeks. The next weekend will be taken up with a nepew's wedding. I am very fond of this young man and he has asked if I will bring along my digital camera to take some "back up pictures" since his wedding photographer is an amateur. I will look forward to hearing from all of you kind folks as this unfolds.
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  #14  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 01:36 AM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Dear New Friends,

As Henry predicts will happen, I am joining at last, on this Sunday night, in the discussion George Neeson has started "from the ground up." I am one of those whose competence in computer-assisted conversation is largely untested. I am not aware of any "hesitancy ... to post messages," and I am not (yet) aware of any performance anxiety, but I can say that I did not find it easy to get this far, technically, and I am not yet confident that I am on the right track, except in my understanding of Adler!

That said, and to the point of the discussion, it may be valuable to note that it was Adler who worked from the ground up in his way of pointing to the truth of human life and to the corrections open to assuage the pain of human error. His ground was a particular historical-social situation that did not readily respond to his way of doing this for a number of reasons, including a 19th century scientific bias having to do with the reduction (analysis) of living things to their elements and to the supposed (efficient) causes of their occurence. As its name implies, psychoanalysis set out to identify the elements of the soul by an analysis of its components and a description of their causal interactions.

Neeson is correct in distinguishing Adler's method of examining the "person community interface" (a new phrase for me) of human experience from Freud's postulation of "a single isolated [human] being," a notion of self-boundedness (G: Ichgebundenheit), that Adler rightly called an "artifact" of theoretical imagination.

I cannot see that Neeson is following Adler in his attempt to assign a proper place to the Minderwertigkeitsgefuehl. As I read Adler, this feeling, together with the Gemeinschaftsgefuehl, represents a grounding in reality that keeps the subjectivity of Seneca's "Omnia ex opinione suspensa sunt" from solipsism. In fact, an absence of the inferiority feeling is one of the striking characteristics of sociopathic personality disorder.

It may be that I have misunderstood him, but Neeson's worry that he must strive to express his ideas with more finesse and less abrasiveness, however well advised that aspiration may be for any of us, is not enough if what he is expressing is a misrepresentation. Adler did say that the inferiority feeling is a blessing, a spur toward achievement, and a feeling that moves toward its own conquest. That is a rather poetic effusion, but a stimulating one. It is quite different from an "excuse and con job" however much those who seek excuses and who construct con jobs may appeal to its presence in their lives as if it were a personal trait or a unique form of suffering.

I hope that my remarks can be taken as a contribution to this important discussion, even when, as here, they are also of a critical character. In reading Adler one is so often caught up in a sense of fresh awareness that it is easy to lapse into a notion that one is reading a revelation, and in a way, with a careful understanding of what that would mean, it is an accurate response to the clear sense and the courage of the author. We do well to think of what Adler has done for us in those moments by regarding his theory as a way of discovering what is in fact the case in what he calls "a modest scientific" way of describing things. If we were to find that things are not always and everywhere as he has described them (and I think there are some instances where that is possible) we would still be left with a great treasure of understanding, and a system for charting a way toward a better human experience.

Therefore, the Neeson project of following Adler's thought as Adler worked it out "from the ground up" is a good and worthy enterprise, and I am happy to be invited to have a share in it.

Bob Powers

(Robert L. Powers is Distinguished Service Professor of Adlerian Studies in Culture and Personality at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago.)
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  #15  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 03:42 AM
Paul Miedema Paul Miedema is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I think this project is very much in the spirit of Alfred Adler who must have loved this kind of "Vienna Circle". We assume that he loved to discuss the basic ideas of his theory and the philosophy that supported him. I am often participating in ICASSI, a summerschool long ago started by Rudolf Dreikurs. This year, for the first time, they organised the "Adler Café" where we were invited to discuss the concepts of Adlerian theory. This was most revealing in that many concepts had gradually different interpretations among the participants. Adler would have nodded.
All we have are his books, his words, that we can interprete to the best of our individual possibilities. I am sure this is going to be a valuable and necessary project.

Paul Miedema
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  #16  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 05:15 AM
lida izadi lida izadi is offline
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Thumbs up Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

George, working from the ground up is a wonderful idea. The number of visits to this thread since Oct. 11 indicates there is interest in the subject; 144 visits sounds like a good start.
For me, language is a barrier and performance anxiety, as Henry mentioned, gets in the way!!! I have visited this thread daily and find it an invaluable initiative and yet, it took me this long to show up [the warning that you might stop took care of my hesitation!]. I am a beginner and still examining the basics and often find myself confused about fundamentals of Adlerian psychology. Therefore I truly appreciate your project and think that it can go a long way once it becomes a context for some masters in the field to discuss Adler’s ideas and help people like me who have limited understanding or clarity about the ‘basics’.
Looking at previous posts I am intrigued to see that “inferiority feeling” has already been brought up. I tend to agree with both George and Bob. I guess inferiority feeling can be both a blessing and an excuse depending on how one uses it.
Also, regarding Bob’s comment, “In fact, an absence of the inferiority feeling is one of the striking characteristics of sociopathic personality disorder,” some questions popped up for me:
How do we know this? Is this conclusion based on our interpretations of observable behaviors of sociopathic PD or it is based on their self-report? If it is, how do we know that our interpretations or their report are reliable?

These questions came up since I was just reading in superiority and social interest (1979, p. 54 - footnote):
“elsewhere Adler expressed himself as follows on this point: “To be human being means to have inferiority feelings. One recognizes one’s own powerlessness in the face of nature. One sees death as the irrefutable consequence of existence. But in mentally healthy person this inferiority feeling acts as a motive for productivity, as a motive for attempting to overcome obstacles, to maintain oneself in life. Only the oversized inferiority feeling, which is to be regarded as the outcome of a failure in upbringing, burdens the character with over sensitivity, leads to egotistical self-consideration…”

Now... I may have misinterpreted Bob’s comment since I didn’t understand the meaning of “Seneca's "Omnia ex opinione suspensa sunt" from solipsism” or I may have misinterpreted Adler. A third alternative may be that recent Adlerian thinking and research do not agree with what Adler said back then and it may even be a case of inaccurate translation of what Adler said in German. Comments would be greatly appreciated.

George, thanks again for creating this thread.
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  #17  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 08:14 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Smile Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Thank you for your kind encouragement. I envy your trip to ICASSI.
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  #18  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 08:23 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

"To feel inferior in the face of ... " what a wonderful quote you have drawn to our attention. This is going to a wonderful exercise in Adlerian community as together we try to create a document to introduce Adler once more to the mental health community that is enamoured with classification systems rather than seeing the wonder and uniquness of each person in the "stream of human evolution" "sub speciia aeternitatis".
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  #19  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 09:13 AM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Greetings George, I would also greatly enjoy participating in such a discussion and look forward to it. I am sure the result will be quite valuable.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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  #20  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 09:37 AM
Martha Edwards Martha Edwards is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I very much like the idea of this primer for newcomers to the study of Adlerian psychology. I especially like your proposal to start with the philosophy of Adlerian theory, which is one of the many unique contributions that Adler made to psychology. All theory has an underlying philosophy, but it is rarely explicitly stated and perhaps not particularly in the awareness of the theory's proponents.

Your primer would also provide a useful bridge to reading the classic Adlerian books (e.g., the Ansbachers edited volumes) which, while essential reading, are difficult to understand at first without some orientation. I would very much appreciate having this primer so that my students benefit from both the content of what you offer and the sense of an Adlerian community they are joining in reading it. Thanks!
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