chapter  2
37 Pages

Classical Adlerian Psychology

Sigmund Freud’s idea of explaining present psychological phenomena by searching for objective causes in the individual’s past (childhood) was a revolutionary new vision of certain problems and illnesses that could not be understood in purely medical terms, but it also has its limitations. Though Adler does not deny the influence of childhood experiences, he refuses to accept an exclusively causal explanation for the person’s present problems. Instead of being a victim of past experiences, the human being is seen as having a free will and an innate creative force, and as guided by fictions and final goals. Thus Adler refuses to accept historical experiences as an exclusively causal explanation for the person’s present problems. Adler also assumes an innate disposition for social life and community. The child is born with the innate possibility of what Adler will later call ‘community feeling’ (Gemeinschaftsgefühl), usually translated as ‘Social Interest’. This feeling or interest in living in a community and in sharing experiences, emotions and ideas must be developed and defined by means of the child’s interaction with primary caregivers. An insufficient degree of Social Interest is expressed in a psychopathological striving for power.