Adlerian Theory -calmerry

Adlerian Theory: How to Understand the Individual

Do you know why you behave in a certain way? Would you want to understand yourself as an individual? Adler developed a theory to help in understanding individuals and their personalities. The Adlerian theory has helped many to boost their confidence and personalities.

It has also helped many therapists understand their patients. The Adlerian theory mainly states that everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging. People don’t want to feel like strangers all the time. Look at how you relate to your parents and friends. Don’t you like it when you feel that they appreciate you?

Adler’s theory can help you if you want to grow confidence and eliminate the fear that overcomes you when you want to make significant decisions. Keep reading to learn more about the Adlerian theory.

Key Ideas of the Adlerian Theory

The theory supports the argument that people are social beings. As such, the theory proposes that all human behavior has social meaning and is socially integrated. The theory argues that encouraging people and showing them respect can go a long way in making them collaborative and responsive. It highlights the need for people to feel confident and comfortable in the community in which they live.

Remember how babies are said to be innocent? One is born a pure being. However, according to Adler, babies as they grow, start experiencing the world, and the experiences they get may make them feel inferior. These experiences motivate the child to work towards compensating their weaknesses by developing new strengths. There are several ways this can go. The first is that the child can receive sufficient nurturing and encouragement that enables them to be confident with their imperfection.

However, when the child lacks relevant social empathy, they may grow up into adults with inferiority feelings. Therefore, the theory focuses on helping such individuals feel that they fit and belong in a given society. It encourages people to develop social interest, hence more compassionate and cooperative towards one another. 

Adlerian Theory Focus on Individual

Among the strengths of the theory is that it places much emphasis on an individual within the social context. It is based on a realistic approach that every human being is part of a given society or community. Therefore, Adler emphasizes that members of the community should help one another to develop a sense of belonging.

On an individual level, the theory proposes that with the right support, a person can grow their personal strengths. The theory highlights the need for every individual to work towards belonging in their respective society. In one of his research papers, Adler expands on the concept of individual psychology. It highlights the need for individual personalities to be viewed as a whole.

For therapists utilizing this approach, Adler encourages them to avoid the temptation of reductionism when dealing with patients. Instead, they should focus on understanding all features of an individual as portrayed by their full patterns and the social system. The argument is based on the idea that everyone has a unique way of seeing situations and the world in general. 

Gaining a Sense of Belonging 

One of the most highlighted concepts in the theory is that of social interest. Adler believes that people are psychologically at their best when they feel they are acting in the best interests of society. It brings them a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Moreover, it improves the individual’s sense of belonging to that society.

On the other hand, the theory proposes that your level of collaboration increases with your social interest. You are more motivated to help others when your social interest is high. However, when these levels decline, there is a tendency for an individual to behave antisocially. In some instances, these behaviors are associated with certain mental conditions. Therefore, seeing a mental healthcare specialist could prove vital to improving your sense of belonging. 

Application of Adlerian Theory in Therapy

Adlerian therapy is an approach used in treating several mental and psychological disorders. The treatment is mainly employed in a situation where the therapist aims to provide individually focused solutions. For this reason, it is suitable for persons of all ages.

The therapy utilizes the Adlerian values clarification technique. The objective of this technique is to help a person boost their awareness of all values that may have an impact on their overall lifestyle choices and actions. Values are core to every being as they influence their attitudes, beliefs, and their reaction to various situations.

Value clarification therapy adheres to the rules holism, as advocated by the Adlerian theory. A therapist employing this technique will present you with an organization of your personal life. They include aspects such as parental influences, external elements, child upbringing, and social contexts.

The aim of this presentation is for you is to understand how all these factors impacted your life expectations, self-worth, and sense of belonging. The idea is for you to relate your emotions to the events in your childhood.

Further, the process is meant to encourage you to appreciate your intrinsic value that does not depend on others or what the society thinks. The sense of freedom is supposed to trigger your efforts towards achieving positive change.

In hindsight, this therapy is meant to help you determine what matters to you as an individual and taking the relevant action as influenced by your inner values. The technique will also help you learn more about yourself and come up with realistic goals. The therapist is expected to help you create a safe environment through which you can comprehend and form your values. Moreover, the therapist should reinforce positive behaviors that boost your social interest.

The various forms of Adlerian therapy include:

The uniting factor in all forms of Adlerian therapies is their objective. They all aim at helping you get rid of unproductive feelings. Moreover, they should help you to refocus your energy towards taking corrective actions in your perceived values, behavior, and feelings. 

Adlerian Therapy is Effectiveness in Development of Self-Confidence

When you undergo this form of therapy, the therapist will motivate you to move past your insecurities. The counselor will also urge you to develop stronger feelings of connectedness and redirect your strength towards becoming an important member who adds value to society.

Moreover, as part of the self-confidence-building process, you are encouraged to correct wrongful assumptions, feeling, and behaviors about yourself and the world. Therefore, you are motivated to attempt things that you initially thought were impossible for you. The improved levels of self-confidence you gain will improve your social interest and desire to collaborate with the rest of society. 

Adlerian Therapy Promotes Self-Independence 

A major strength of the Adlerian theory is that it focuses on the individual. It aims at promoting the confidence required to face situations without the fear of failure. The therapy helps you appreciate the fact that failure is part of a person’s life.

Therefore, once you get rid of fear, you will be able to gain independence of mind. Your primary focus will shift to creating positive change in your life and society in general. 

Creation of a Sense of Empowerment

An essential aspect of the therapy is that the therapist must keep encouraging the patient. The patient is motivated to be a better version of themselves. You will be challenged to develop a sense of belonging by positively contributing to your community.

By changing your attitude towards the community, you become integrated into that community. In this way, you will have the desire to satisfy a deep-rooted need for belonging. In the process, your confidence levels will increase, and so will your sense of self-worth. Such levels of personal growth make it possible for you to interact in society naturally. As a result, you will be able to develop cooperative relationships within the community. 

Adlerian Therapy Won’t Help You in the Following Cases

Yes, you may want to become more confident and feel like you belong in society, but if you want it to happen overnight, then this may not occur. Adlerian therapy takes time to work. So, if you are looking for quick results, it may not help you. You must be committed and dedicated if you want the therapy to work for you, as promised in the Adlerian theory.

Also, if you have buried your past and don’t wish to talk about it ever again, the therapy may not be effective for you. Remember, the theory advocates for opening up your childhood wounds so that you can heal them once and for all. You may feel uncomfortable unburying memories of your childhood, but it is for your good in the future. Therefore, if you want it to work, be ready to recall things you never wished to remember.

Finally, the therapy won’t work for you if you are not flexible. Adler states that one must be willing to change current beliefs. Therefore, if you hold on to what you believe and don’t want change, the Adlerian technique may not give you the results you desire.

Improve Your Self-Confidence Today!

Here’s a recap:

  • The Adlerian theory aims at improving one’s personality.
  • For the technique to work, your belief system must be flexible.
  • You should also be willing to talk about the past so you can heal completely.

Is your self-confidence too low, and you have childhood memories that haunt your present life? Don’t let these things continue happening in your future. It’s time to face the issues and deal with them face to face. Follow the Adlerian technique of being flexible and looking into your past to find out if it is affecting your present behavior.

If you don’t make it by yourself, it’s always advisable to seek help from a therapist. A professional who has mastered how the theory works may help you get better effortlessly. Contact us to learn more about our online counseling services!

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more