Adlerian therapy was developed by Alfred Adler (1870–1937), Austrian psychologist and psychiatrist.
Adler disagreed with Freud's idea that mental illness was caused by sexual conflicts in infancy, arguing that society and culture were significant factors (117). He introduced the concept of the inferiority complex. Adler believed that each person strives to feel significant.
When a person is discouraged, he or she displays counter-productive behaviors that present competition and defeat. A person’s ability to feel inadequacy and inferiority relative to others is a result of the person’s experience of personal devaluation at an early age or due to the presence of a physical limitation or lack of social empathy.
Alfred Adler identified an inferiority complex as one of the contributing factors to problem child behaviors [Adler, A. The Education of Children. 1930]. Adler believed that “a misbehaving child is a discouraged child” and children’s behavior patterns will improve when they feel accepted. The early experiences are the precursors for later self-awareness and behaviours.
A person will be more responsive, cooperative and his or her feelings of fulfillment and optimism increase asa result of the positive influences of encouragement and respect.
Adlerian psychology focuses on creating a therapeutic relationship that is co-operative, encouraging and practical.
Adlerian Psychotherapy (Individual Therapy, Couples Therapy and Family Therapy) pays particular attention to behavior patterns and belief systems that were developed in childhood.
The goal of the therapy is to remove destructive self-directed beliefs and behaviors and to replace them with tools that will allow a client to become confident and socially empowered.
Therapists, practicing this form of therapy, examine these early habitual patterns and help clients look at their lifestyle and personal values, gain better insight into their own responses to circumstances that occur in their lives, understand and question their usual patterns of behavior and goals.
Adlerian counsellors guide clients to release their unproductive feelings and to refocus their attention toward forming corrections in perceived values, feelings, and behaviors that prohibit further positive growth and integration in society.
Clients develop the tools needed to create their sense of self-worth and meaning and ultimately create change that results in healing.
The therapeutic technique uses Socratic dialogue to inspire the development of productive and beneficial attitudes in the areas of confidence, self-worth, and significance that result in a client’s increased ability to naturally cooperate and form relationships.
Adlerian values clarification
Adlerian values clarification allows a client to look at their beliefs in a new way that encourages positive change.
Adlerian psychotherapists use a process of Adlerian values clarification, through which clients are introduced to their own life organization, including birth order, social context, parental influences, and other external dynamics.
By understanding this organization, its influence on self-esteem and expectations, the clients can begin to accept their feelings to the events they experienced during childhood and to identify with their true inner value, knowing what matters to them personally and bringing positive changes in their own personal lives.
People, who experience hindsight bias effects, are fused with their thoughts and failure, trying to avoid painful emotions. They experience difficulties with the values-guided actions. Through mindful liberation from such struggle they find themselves acting congruently with their values and making natural choices.
Choice is at the centre of strategy formulation and the clients find the influence of genuine values on strategic choices quite fulfilling. Adlerian therapists help clients identify chosen values to direct intentional and effective behaviour.