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  #51  
Unread November 4th, 2004, 10:00 AM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

These statements refer to Chapter XIII, "The Child's Need for Affection."

It was interesting to read Manu's comments on this paper, and I appreciated having it placed in the context of Adler's relationship to Freud at the time.

For me, it was wonderful to read further examples of Adler's astonishing clinical acumen. When he writes of parents "whose tendency is to find pleasure in being surrounded by fondling, caressing children" and then describes the results of this, it sounds like the interaction which the psychoanalysts later described as symbiosis. Adler then briefly mentions the opposite of this, an emotional neglect which leads to a narcissistic compensation, akin to the dynamic which Heinz Kohut and the Self Psychology school would later describe ("Cut-off from all objects for affection, the child is left with only his own person as a goal for his yearning"). Adler then makes some observations on emotional neglect in those who typically utilize aggression in their interpersonal relations, which is relevant for the discussion on psychopathy which is taking place on the "From the Ground Up" thread.

I found it fascinating to again see how Adler's insights - often encapsulated in a mere sentence - anticipated so much subsequent thought.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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  #52  
Unread November 4th, 2004, 07:28 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

Trevor, I agree with your observation about Adler encapsulating an abundance of insight into "a mere sentence." Extending this idea a little further, Karl Witte, who edited the new German critical edition of "The Neurotic Character," once stated that he often felt that Adler frequently expressed nuances of his constructs, within the frame of his full theory, in one paragraph. In this respect, Adler's writing style is like a hologram--each fragment is a miniature reflection of the whole. Using another metaphor, it is almost like a symphonic composition, wherein a major theme gets repeated with fascinating, subtle variations. The density and structure of Adler's clinical writing became more visible to me when I started to draw concept maps of the first few pages of "The Neurotic Character." Seeing all of his ideas and their inter-relationships laid out graphically provided an impressive image of his network of constructs. If one studies "The Neurotic Character" carefully, what may superficially appear to be unstructured writing, is actually a beautifully integrated conceptual design. Indeed, the "music" of Adler's ideas and writing, although difficult to translate and edit, is a joy to study, again and again (like listening to Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven). Most attempts to simplify or popularize his theory and philosophy, usually miss the beautiful complexity, depth, and feeling of his creative, original writings.
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  #53  
Unread November 5th, 2004, 02:33 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

I found Trevor's reference to Heinz Kohut very interesting. As Henry says in his reply, it is by no means easy task to study Adler. Because Adler's style is dense and compact, and he gives expression in one single sentence to a number of different ideas, it is useful to try to find references in later writings. I feel myself that this kind of methodical reading makes it easier to grasp Adler's intentions. Speaking about narcisims: Henry pointed out in the discussion "From the Ground Up" that there are people who lack any inferiority feelings. Could it be that there are persons whose emotions are so much "frozen" that they even lack this basic feeling, not to speak of any social feelings? Growing up in an environment that is hostile and cold could possibly be the basic reason for this?
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  #54  
Unread November 5th, 2004, 03:36 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol.2, Chapters XV-XVII (Prostitution and Neurosis)

Our next discussion of Chapters XV, XVI, & XVII starts November 8th. To prepare, order your copy of Volume 2 of "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" at http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cw-v2.htm. The following chapter abstracts were created by James Wolf.

Chapter XV: In "A Prostitute's Two Dreams," published in 1908, Adler interprets two dreams of a prostitute using Freud's principles of dream interpretation-wish fulfillment and repression. He also discusses some impressions of the psychology of prostitutes.

Chapter XVI: "On the Neurotic Disposition," written in 1909, elaborates on what Adler sees as the roots of the neurotic disposition: among which are hypersensitivity, organ inferiority, the aggression drive, influences of gender roles or uncertainty about gender role He mentions various personality characteristics resulting from these influences. Adler moves on to discuss hypersensitivity, the aggression drive and inferiority feelings in more depth as well as the impairment of self confidence and independence, the inner world (thinking and feeling) of the child, the expectations and fears of the child. He discusses the beginning of "protective measures" the child develops around his hypersensitivity, and to achieve the "fixed final goal", and the child's philosophy of life. The child develops suspicion and mistrust--"unreconcilability with people" which collides with the social feeling. Birth order and sexual influences are discussed. Adler then discusses the case of a seven year old girl. He concludes with a description of "a pattern of neurosis," its' symptoms and related comments.

Chapter XVII: in "Myeldysplasia" (Organ Inferiority), written in 1909, Adler concludes that all neurosis can be traced to some degree of organ inferiority and psychological compensation. This chapter paves the way for examining "A Study of Organ Inferiority" next week.

When posting your comments or questions, please identify the chapter number and/or title at the beginning of your message. On November 15th, this thread will be merged with the Volume 2 cumulative thread.
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  #55  
Unread November 6th, 2004, 10:22 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

Manu your observation about Adler's style of writing and indeed of speaking in "extremely condensed", is even an understatement. His thinking is extremely expansive. He starts with a single seed thought and his divergent field thinking kicks into high gear with the result that a whole picture is build in the holographic image of a single sentence. I am amazed continuously as his thought progresses that he can be so consistent as his theory unfolds. As a photograher reading his writing I feel like I am looking through a very very wide angle lens. A problem I have created using a very wide lens is finding my own feet in the picture space when I had not intended that result!! Adler's writing often presents similar surprising results. When reading Adler you must chew on virtually every bite but the flavour may not appear for days, but it sure is good. These comprehensive field theorists are the most difficult to comprehend because they deal with the cosmos that is, not the neat little one we would like.
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  #56  
Unread November 6th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

Manu, it appears that there may be critical, early psychological windows for the development of feelings--certainly influenced primarily by social interaction. (Maria Montessori claimed that there were critical "windows of opportunity" for developing the senses. I'm not sure if she included the child's sensitivity to feelings.) The practical, therapeutic implication of this is the use of role-playing, guided imagery, and narration with a client who is acting "as if" he is at a younger age. I have found that the level of emotional accessibility can shift, and a therapist may be able to provide a "missing developmental experience" if the right age, person, circumstance, and actions are imagined. This has the potential of by-passing the rigid defensiveness of an adult.

The absence of early social feelings can be easily understood as a reaction to an overtly hostile environment. However, even indifference can yield the same result. According to Adler, it only takes a near absence of social feeling (plus high activity) to produce a delinquent or criminal. In the movie "Nuremburg," a psychiatrist defined evil as the "absence of empathy."

However, at a physiological level, each of us has a somewhat different central nervous system and will no doubt respond emotionally with our unique level of sensitivity. There are, without a doubt, the powerful variables of training and psychological purpose. However, it is fascinating to see the range of emotional sensitivity in different people. There are some who are like a hunk of stone--nothing subtle seems to move them much--they need an intense stimulus before they seem to feel anything. There are others who appear to be ultra-sensitive--even the slightest stimulus can evoke feelings and emotions (many take up the profession of acting, where this easy availability of affect is a distinct advantage).
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  #57  
Unread November 6th, 2004, 12:37 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

As a "free association"-reaction George's observations on the holistic nature of Adler's succinct statements: Adler himself said that he really valued only two contemporary schools of psychology (that was a time of important schools in psychology): Gestalt psychology (Köhler, Koffka, Wertheimer) and William Stern's personalistic psychology. It was typical for those times that all these people (and many other gifted persons, in addition) had to flee Germany.These people understood the holistic nature of human personality, and the individual essence of every single human being. - Concerning Henry's statements on the role of the therapist as a supportive person who acts as a kind "step communicator" (or as a supportive, wiser big brother, as Maslow once defined Adler's role). Providing clients with some personal experience of warmth seems to be important. One Finnish psychiatrist, Ben Furman, has written a book on creating for oneself a happy childhood. His idea is that personal final fictions can be a compensation for the experience of a cold world and personal unhappiness. In this process, a therapist may have a role as a facilitator, or am I right?
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  #58  
Unread November 6th, 2004, 03:49 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Post Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

Chapter XIII The Child's need for affection: CCWAA Volume II, page 69 ff

In 1908 Adler is still in close association with Freud et al, but the rift between them as evidenced in some of the postings above is growing. This article although still speaking about "drive theory" is clearly starting to move from drives to personal creativity and thus accountability. This is clearly evident in the very first paragraph, the final sentence in this English translation where Adler says "Above all, However, it will expose social feeling and the striving for power as the factors that will determine the fate of the individual." Here he clearly and strongly denies an organic deterministic causality and puts responsibility for the child's cultural commitment right back in the child's lap!
The need for affection is innate but he also in para two, that it is also coupled to "a strong social feeling". Unlike Freud as I understand him (not very well), he sees mankind as part of a social structure and not as an intra psychic struggle. Adler also starts to point out the use of the various drives by the child and notes the modifying affect of "social influences" on the top of page 76. This is getting much closer to the use of symptoms than Freud would ever countenance and I suspect this article added insult to injury with Freud.
Also in this article he begins to forshadow a later appearing notion of the devastation caused by "pampering and neglect", pampering on page 76 and neglect on page 77. This is obliquely mentioned in the statement, "More significant is the degree to which a child's expectations are satisfied or denied." he is getting very close to stating that it is not what has happened to the child that is causal, but rather the child's unique creative interpretation of the events.
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  #59  
Unread November 6th, 2004, 04:51 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

The Theory of Organ Inferiority etc. CCWAA Volume II, Pages 78-85

Adler now enters the arena of what we might now call genetic accidents and deficiencies. He seems to be ahead of his time in seeing the many possible psychological implications of these accidents of nature as well as their trans generational nature. I recall working one very late night on the newly acquired "electron microscope" in the bowels of the Banting Institute at University of Toronto (a actually Dr Fred Best of Banting and Best was one of my clinical instructors in physiology), with DR. J. W. Steiner a most respected pathologist just out of the Hungarian revolution and here-to-for a Communist. We were reviewing at high magnification, the renal and liver "brush borders" of a man with multiple system diseases any one of of which should have killed him. The multiple system organ compensations that adapted and allowed this man to live long after reason would have predicted his death caused Dr Steiner to exclaim in a very heavy Hungarian accent, "Jees, when you see adaptations like this, it is enough to make a communist religious". The organ adaptations are amazing. The psychological adaptations of humans are even more astounding. As a physician I have seen many people with devastating disabling illnesses. The most usual response is one of astounding courage with occasional people who use disability for what Adler later calls "primary gain". On the bottom of page 79, Adler points this out as he says, " the tendency toward overcoming is infused within the genes". Now for his later thought, this is a bit mechanistic, but it probably has more truth than we would wish to acknowledge!
On page 80 he makes another leap when he mentions that the organ inferiorities are "overcome with increased mental activity". As a physician I have quite commonly seen this happen. One this same page he goes on to say, "Adapting to life burdened by an inferior organ brings with it corresponding psychological problems." Now I would have expected him to say that they would be adverse, but that is not what he notices, because on the top of page 81 he says about these inferior organs and their life expression, that they "could be either advantageous or disadvantageous". He goes on to develop the difference between the physiological and psychological manifestations. On page 81 he correctly guesses that the brain is not hard wired with copper and solder but is constantly growing and changing itself when he says "If brain compensation correlates with organ inferiority" .... to
"This would mean that originally inferior eyes would psychologically provide greater insight" Now this is a quantuum leap if ever I saw one. Indeed we now know that the brain is constantly recreating itself under the influence of "Nerve Growth Factor" such that the use of cognitive and affective strategies actually opens and closes neuronal pathways and facilitates or defacilitates the function of those areas of the brain that do or enable a task. NGF is a recent discovery and. no surprise to those of us who try to follow Adler's thinking, he "presages" that idea at a time when brain was thought to be fully and immutably structured be the late teen years! On page 81 he makes an utterly key statement when in speaking of an inferior digestive system he says, "its superstructure governs and pulls into its domain the other psychological system". What an interest compensation by the mind. He further developes this notion in relationship to averice. I have pasted a clip in here as follows fro page 83:

"A wealthy man who makes expensive gifts, who eats in a fancy restaurant, is
very hungry and takes a long walk, therein lies a considerable discomfort which can
be rationalized when we presume the patient is just as avaricious as his father;
however, being highly refined does not permit him to be avaricious. It is possible for
him to act this way only if it would not be a violatation of his culture, i.e. the saving of a
few pennies which, if necessary, he could justify on health grounds. Otherwise he is
very magnanimous, albeit not without paying for his magnanimity with a nervous attack."

Here he has, for the first time as far as I can recall, mentioned the huge cost of the "fictional goal of superiority". He even suggests "organ inferiority of brain" in delusional patients on page 84. He suggests that the hallucinations and delusions are a manifestation of over-compensation and that would seem to fit with some of the clinical experience of Adlerians who have had success in working with "psychotic disorders" without medication, because they remove the goal to which the overcompensation is directed ... away from the community of mankind.

Finally Adler notes that organ inferiorities can be greatly beneficial as in the quote that follows here from this same chapter:

"Research conducted in art institutes showed that approximately 70% of the students suffered from eye anomalies.I have frequently found that speakers, actors, and singers have organ inferiorities.
The Bible relates that Moses suffered from a heavy tongue and his brother had the gift of speech. Demosthenes, who stuttered, became Greece's most renowned speaker, and the speech given by Camille Demoulin, who normally stuttered, was reported by his contemporaries to have flowed like liquid gold. The same applies to musicians who quite often suffer from ear illnesses. Beethoven, Robert Franz, Smetana, all of whom lost their hearing, are offered as well known examples. Klara Schumann, speaking about her life, reported having had lapses in being able to hear and speak during childhood.Far from trying to present these details as evidence, their purpose is merely to draw the reader's attention to the theory of organ inferiority's broad spectrum and its
relationship to philosophy, psychology, and aesthetics."


Dr. Adler was a skillfull and most observant physician. There are some small advantages to being trained to observe the human organism and its various adaptations to disease states as a physician (OK let me believe that please! ).
Finally, look at Adler's picture on Henry's web page and what do you see? He wears glasses. They seem to be quite heavy negative lenses. He has an organ inferiority of his own eyes but how well he sees.
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  #60  
Unread November 6th, 2004, 07:38 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 2, Chapters XIII & XIV (Child's Need for Affection)

Yes Manu, a therapist can adopt a warm, empathic, somewhat Socratic role and become the "mid-wife" to a new view of life for a client. It is possible to co-invent fictional images and scenes that provide the parental nurturing, encouragement, and affection that was missing (or believed to be missing). If the client can imagine being happier and more secure as a child, we may then create a gradual conceptual/emotional bridge to their adult life. It is possible to create potent scenarios that counter-act the toxic effects of corrosive memories--real or imagined. Adler was quite surprised to discover that one of his earliest memories could not have possibly happened.

At a "do-it-yourself" level, I believe that Eleanor Roosevelt, as a child, compensated for her rather self-indulgent, remote, abusive father by imagining an ideal father who was kind, available, and encouraging. As an adult, she possessed a great compassion for those in need.

George, I appreciate your eagerness to contribute your superb comments to the "Study of Organ Inferiority" discussion, which is scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks. (Eventually this thread will be merged with the cumulative thread, then the sequence won't make much of a difference.)
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