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  #11  
Unread September 3rd, 2005, 02:17 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XII & XIII (Reason, Neurosis)

On September 5th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 6, Chapters XII & XIIII. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XII Reason, Intelligence, and Feeble-Mindedness (1928) is one of the most important by Adler (this conjecture can, of course, be debated). Adler defines himself the main message of his paper that the article is about the fundamental difference between reason and mere intelligence. The first part of the paper is a discussion on social interest, identification, and empathy. Reason is for Adler a valid category which is related to social interest. The second part is about reason and common sense. Here Adler defines reason as that intelligence which contains social interest and concentrates on that which is socially useful. Reasonable is what one understand by common sense. Third part of the paper contains a discussion on "private intelligence" which is the use of intelligence for neurotic goals. Fourth part contains a discussion about feeble-mindedness which is defined by Adler as incapacity to arrive at the formation of a life-plan. This way of defining feeble-mindedness is rather different from the usual clinical methods, and provides a thought-provoking and unorthodox perspective.

Ch. XIII Neurotic Role Play (1928) is a case study on the problems experienced by a neurotic client. The paper contains a number of quotations from two letters written by a neurotic person, and Adler's interpretative comments. In his first letter, the man describes his neurotic problems, and tells that he wants to be Adler's client, but Adler rejected treatment (at this time, Adler spent long periods of time abroad). In his second letter, the "client" describes how he had started to think about his life-situation in the light of a lecture held by Adler (this lecture was the original impulse to contact Adler in a letter). In this long letter, the "client" has himself made a self-diagnosis, and he says that now he understand his problems better than earlier. He makes some confessions concerning his "neurotic sins" (this term is by the reviewer, not by Adler), and he feels that his burden is now lighter than it was. He says: "I now believe that I could have led my life more courageously, and I shall try to do so." One year later, the man visited Adler. He had lost all his neurotic symptoms without assuming new ones.

To order your copy of Volume 6, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v6.htm .
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  #12  
Unread September 5th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. X & XI (Sexuality, Widows)

The idea mentioned by Trevor sounds very familiar to me. I have tried to trace this kind of text in some volumes of CCWAA, but have so far not succeeded. However, I feel that the idea inherent in the concept of "security" implies that it is a fiction, and that there is no "final security". Adler uses the concept of "security" very ofetn. Not quite so much as the concept of "perfection". Adler seems to think that there is some kind of communality between the concepts of security, perfection, completeness, and power. They all involve striving. One may add that absolute power, security, perfection, never exists. Only the striving exists. See Ansbacher & Ansbacher, p. 104. Stefan Zweig owes a whole chapter in his Vienna-memoirs for this idea of safety or security.
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  #13  
Unread September 8th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. X & XI (Sexuality, Widows)

Trevor,

Like Manu, I too seem to recall this idea, but cannot find it when searching Adler's writings. However, Alexander Mueller comes reasonably close to the concept. The followings excerpts are from his unpublished manuscript The Principles of Individual Psychology.
"When sustaining his life become's man's primary goal, then he can satisfy himself by meeting his needs. However, if he seeks 'absolute' security for his subsistence, or even if he seeks only a relative security when compared to that of others, then he thinks that his means are never sufficient.

We never know whether we shall be here tomorrow, but the probability for that is good. The courageous person lives with that probability; the discouraged person wants security - security with regard to life, and security with regard to success in every one of his possible undertakings. The reinforced striving for security can result in a striving for power.

When the tendencies for security and anxiety are reinforced and exaggerated, they can obstruct life itself. Since life exists amid risks and dangers, living in security cannot be realized. If man strives for absolute instead of relative security, then his life will be accompanied by anxiety, tension, and fear. The avoidance of danger will become the Leitmotif of his existence. It leads to a constricting of the radius of his life, to a distancing from various areas and tasks, and in the end to a retreat from life. Life is exchanged for an unreal feeling of security, which, however, is constantly being bruised and must repeatedly be secured anew, or recaptured by devious means."
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  #14  
Unread September 8th, 2005, 09:42 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XIV & XV (Psychology, Medicine, Power)

On September 12th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 6, Chapters XIV & XV. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XIV Psychology and Medicine (1928) is a paper on the foundations of medical psychology and psychotherapy. Adler appeals strongly for a psychological education of physicians. "It would not be possible for a physician to receive recognition if training in psychology does not augment his professional education." Adler says also, that the education of physicians in psychology has so far been minimal. Adler is very critical toward any forms of pessimism in medical practice. One may wonder today what that exactly means. However, in Vienna at the turn of the century the prevailing attitude among some highly respected physicians was "therapeutic nihilism": of course, we can diagnose; of course, we are not able to cure. It was this kind pessimism that Adler attacked. Although the possibilities of medical care are today definitely on a much higher level than in the beginning of the 20th century, the pessimistic attitude may still prevail among the professionals. Adler says also that the physicians cannot appear as magicians, sorcerers or such but only as fellow human beings. So it is important to find the proper balance between the almighty role of a "wonder-man" and the therapeutic pessimism ("nothing can be done"). At least, a professional can act like a compassionate fellow human. A number of other important questions are discussed in the paper, e.g. mind-body relationships and the problems of neurotic personality.

Ch. XV The Psychology of Power (1928) was originally published in a book on pacifism. Adler takes a critical position concerning the use of power in all spheres of life. "The result of individual and social psychological inquiry is therefore: The striving for personal power is a disastrous delusion and poisons man's living together. Whoever desires the human community must renounce the striving for power over others." As an antidote to power striving, Adler presents the idea of social interest. Adler argues that in the end social feeling always prevails. It is impossible to smother it. Adler refers to Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment: Raskolnikov must, before committing a murder, first lie in bed a month and meditate whether he is a louse or Napoleon. "We need the conscious preparation and advancement of a mighty social interest and the complete demolition of greed and power in the individual and in people."

To order your copy of Volume 6, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v6.htm .
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  #15  
Unread September 9th, 2005, 09:18 AM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. X & XI (Sexuality, Widows)

Thank you both. That is very helpful.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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  #16  
Unread September 16th, 2005, 12:03 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XVI & XVII (Social Feeling, Two Brothers)

On September 19th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 6, Chapters XVI & XVII. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XVI Individual Psychology and the Theory of Neurosis (1929) is paper on a recurrent theme in Adler's writings. In this version, a particular emphasis is given to social feeling. "The physical weakness of the individual in the face of nature, the limitations of life on this earth, actually require a sense of community to maintain life, and to force the development of a civilization and an organized division of labor. ... It probably is the weakness and inferiority of mankind in general, man's knowledge of death and threatening dangers, which produce social interest as an unavoidable complement and to provide relief." Psychological failures, like neurosis, are results of the inability to cooperate. Adler does not accept the trauma-theory. "All personal experiences have been assimilated early on by the fixed style of life." This life style is a unified whole, always characteristic to the individual. Neither does Adler accept the contrast of conscious and unconscious. The unconscious that Freud found, is a misguided striving for power.

Ch. XVII A Consultation (1929) is a case study. The paper itself is a real consultation between Adler and one Dr. L, and the report, the remarks, and the explanations are presented as recorded by a stenographer. About half of the chapter consists of a discussion with the mother. The paper provides a unique look at Adler's office; the report is presented, sentence by sentence, and Adler interprets it, sentence by sentence. Just a short example:
"The older brother is very handsome. He once had to repeat first grade in school, but now learns very well, is serious and mature."

When we hear of two brothers where the older has developed well and cannot be overtaken, the younger brother most of the time is a problem. If the younger advances well and comes close to the older and threatens the older's status, the older brother becomes a problem. That experience has been confirmed in this case. The older brother probably does not fail to point out to the younger brother that he is in remedial school."
To order your copy of Volume 6, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v6.htm .
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  #17  
Unread September 23rd, 2005, 04:26 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XVIII & XIX (Sleeplessness, Criminality)

On September 26th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 6, Chapters XVIII & XIX. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XVIII Sleeplessness (1929) begins with an important statement: before concluding that the client may have some psychological problems, one should first carefully exclude all possible physical illnesses. However, if the conclusion is that the client has some psychological problems, one should study how the insomnia fits in with the whole personality. Emotions and tensions may be especially disturbing to sleep. Some unaccomplished tasks may be the reason why the sleep is disturbed. On the other hand, insomnia may be a method to impress other people: "I have not slept since my childhood." "I sleep only three or four hours." Adler devotes some space for the tricks people use in trying to get sleep; however, these tricks do, in actual fact, disturb their sleep (e.g. counting etc.). "Sleeplessness occurs only in a situation in which a person is confronted with a problem for which he is not prepared."

Ch. XIX The Individual Criminal and His Cure (1930g) begins with a statement on the relativity of the concept of normality: "The normal mind and normal individual do not exist. We all vary and only if we are fortunate and do not suffer from great mistakes, do we feel normal and behave rightly." All failures in life are really failures in building up a style of life. The most important task of psychology is to find out why so many people have peculiar attitudes which do not correspond with cooperation and social interest. The most important task of education is to train children in social interest. Neglected or pampered children are not able to cooperate. The paper is a study on private logic: on egoism, on greed, on the exclusion of other people. All people around the criminal are there only to satisfy the needs and cravings of this person. Many people find a feeling of superiority when they resist laws, police, and authorities in general. Adler proposes that special centers for crime prevention should be founded where "the methods of psychoanalysis, the gland specialists, the brain-pathologists, the behaviorists, and so forth should be tried and compared." Appended to this paper is summary of the ensuing discussion that is very interesting because several noted persons from the pre-WW II era in the National Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor took part in this debate. Adler's contribution was an address to this Committee.

To order your copy of Volume 6, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v6.htm .
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  #18  
Unread September 29th, 2005, 03:36 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XVIII & XIX (Sleeplessness, Criminality)

Because the use of sleep-inducing medicines is today very wide-spread, I would appreciate some Adlerian comments on the use of these medicines. In some cases, they may be helpful, but very often they seem to cause more problems than to solve them.
Crime is a problem that is today much debated, possibly even more than in Adler's time. Another problem is the cruelty of the crime. Are there crimes that cannot be explained, or can we explain them all, with the help of psychology and sociology? Adler defines the "exclusion of others" as an important factor leading to crime. I would like to give a thought to this idea. How would you define it? It probably is a trait with many different outward expressions. It also includes some kind of insufficient social feeling, I think.
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  #19  
Unread October 1st, 2005, 11:21 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XX & XXI (Aggression, Unity of the Neurosis)

On October 3rd, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 6, Chapters XX & XXI. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XX Individual Psychology (1930) was originally published in a volume [i]Psychologies of 1930[i], a collection of papers from the representatives of various schools of psychology. Adler's paper begins with a reference to a work entitled "Der Aggressionstrieb im Leben und in der Neurose". Adler gives as a date of publication 1906; however, the paper was published in 1908, and it is reprinted in CCWAA, Vol. 2 as "The Aggression Drive in Life and in the Neurosis." In the paper of 1908, Adler expands the meaning of aggression in a notable way: he says that aggression is, in general, a way of dealing with the problems and obstacles occurring in the life space. Adler transfers this same concept to his paper of 1930. Adler refers also to his concept of organ inferiority, but here he says that what is essential is the experience of the inferiority, not the inferiority as such. Adler recapitulates the historical landmarks in the development of individual psychology, including his ideas of goal-directed striving and human sociability. For Adler, the basic task is to find the guiding thread of the client's life. This he finds comparing all details in his/her life. "Only a perfect coincidence of the whole and all the parts gives us the right to say: I understand."

Ch. XXI Again - The Unity of the Neuroses (1930) is a paper on the holistic nature of personality. "Indeed, we can only uncover the style of life when by abstracting we exclude less suitable ways of expressing it. It is the same with recognizing a style in painting, architecture, and music." So the method to find the essence of the personality is to study and comprehend the person's usual, repeated ways of expressing himself. Adler comments on Gestalt psychology and says that this school of psychology understands the idea of the dominating wholeness. However, Adler is not satisfied with mere Gestalt; every note must be related to the melody. "We are satisfied only when we have recognized in it the original driving attitude, for example in Bach, his lifestyle." In addition, the paper contains much critical polemics against psychoanalysis; however, this part of the chapter is today mainly of historical interest. There are some interesting case studies that illustrate Adler's arguments.

To order your copy of Volume 6, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v6.htm .
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  #20  
Unread October 7th, 2005, 09:43 AM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 6, Chapt. XX & XXI (Aggression, Unity of the Neurosis)

I thought it was an interesting case presented in chapter XXI, which today would likely have been misdiagnosed as a psychotic depression and likely mishandled by a clinician who did not have an understanding of the lifestyle dynamics at work. You can vividly imagine the challenges which Adler must have had working with such a patient, and how very difficult the process must have been.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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