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Social Sci LibreTexts

4.S: Chapter Summary

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  • Review of Key Points

    • Adler faced death numerous times as a child, including his brother’s actual death. These events had a profound impact on the nature of his theories.
    • Adler helped Freud gain recognition for Freud’s personality theory. This lends credence to Adler’s claim that he was never a student or follower of Freud, but rather a colleague interested in similar psychiatric/psychological questions.
    • The fundamental aspect of Individual Psychology is that we are born inferior and spend our lives striving for superiority.
    • Striving for superiority takes the form of compensating for our weaknesses, which, unfortunately, can sometimes lead to overcompensation.
    • When individuals can not compensate, they may develop an inferiority complex. Extreme feelings of inferiority can lead to the paradoxical superiority complex.
    • Adler believed that all thought and behavior was tied to some goal. Our overriding goal is the life plan, and we pursue it by living a characteristic style of life.
    • Dysfunctional styles of life can result from pampering and neglect, both of which reduce our social interest.
    • According to Adler, social interest is the best way to achieve superiority, and it can most easily be seen in cooperation.
    • Formal examples of cooperation include teamwork, which can lead to either positive or negative outcomes, depending on the circumstances.
    • Adler described three life tasks: work, communal life, and love.
    • Important aspects of our ability to strive for superiority are the creative power of the individual and the goal we set as the fictional finalism.
    • Each person exists within their own perception of the world, known as the scheme of apperception. This scheme guides all experience to fit into our style of life and our goals.
    • Since child development is so important, Adler created child guidance centers to train both parents and schoolteachers in the principles of Individual Psychology.
    • Adler was very interested in the effects of birth order and the family constellation. Being an only child is likely to result in pampering, whereas an oldest child must deal with being dethroned.
    • In an attempt to understand the psychological motivation of women, and some men as well, Adler proposed the theory of masculine protest.
    • The key to Adlerian psychotherapy is understanding the patient’s style of life.
    • An important technique for revealing the style of life is the early memories test.
    • Once the style of life is understood, Adlerian psychotherapists work to strengthen social interest and reorient the style of life.
    • Adler was an early innovator in terms of both family therapy and group psychotherapy.
    • Sullivan began his formal psychiatric career at two prestigious hospitals: St. Elizabeth’s and Sheppard Pratt.
    • According to Sullivan, we are a constant state of tension, due to our needs and anxieties. We seek security, and we employ security operations to reduce our anxiety and tension.
    • Sullivan referred to the energy transformation that underlies our personal interactions as dynamisms. Perhaps the most important dynamism is the self-system.
    • When an individual develops dysfunctional security operations, Sullivan referred to them as dynamisms of difficulty.
    • Before we can truly understand relationships, we develop images in our mind known as personifications. The personified self includes everything we can consciously describe about ourselves.
    • Sullivan described seven developmental epochs, which provide a framework for our unfolding abilities to engage in healthy interpersonal relationships.