Effort From Inferiority To Superiority

The fundamental motive of Adler’s theory is the endless effort to move to a better way of life. The fight takes a different form for different people and it seems impossible for some, those who resign themselves to defeat.

Adler’s evolutionary ideas is about the effort for the better

With development, each person’s sense of what is negative and what could be more positive emerges in a unique and personal way. Five stages of thinking are the terminologies used by Adler to describe personality development, culminating in his final prediction: effort to achieve perfection.

  • Organ inferiority: A person with weak limbs considers these extremities as inferior, although it is the subjective experience that is important in determining the sense of inferiority.
  • Aggressive impulse: The effort towards the highest feeling can take the form of fighting or cruelty or it can be expressed in a more socialized form as athletic competition and another effort to dominate, including politics.
  • Fight for superiority: Fight to achieve the best of one’s person, instead of fighting to be better than others.
  • The effort to achieve perfection: inherent growth process within the individual, refers to the effort to improve what is real.

Fictional Finalism

Adler saw individuals as causes rather than effects. He argued that personality is creative. People take chance and determine their own destiny in life. External factors present in the challenges, but do not completely determine the results. Using an Adler phrase that contains this approach, the person is a creative self who is trying to discover or create experiences that lead to realization. For Adler, each person is an artist of their own personality.

Personality Unit

We will explain this unit as the result of a confluence of impulses. He described personality as sustained by fictional finalism and the unique way of life.


The lifestyle begins as a compensatory process, trying to cover particular inferiority. It leads to the consistency of personality as the person compensates, even overcompensates, this inferiority.

Some people adopt antisocial lifestyles, cheating and aggressively seeking their own satisfaction; others are cooperative and work hard.

In the lifestyle according to Adler, it is established at the age of four or five years. On this, he agrees with Freud about the importance of early experience in determining personality.

Bad And Healthy Lifestyle

A person’s lifestyle is unique. Adler described four different types including three wrong lifestyles and one that was recommended.

Not all lifestyles are equally desirable, sometimes early in life, people develop a strategy to improve their situations that are, in the long term, adaptively bad. For example, a child can become dependent on their parents.

  • Ruler type: These seek to dominate others. They can confront life problems in a selfish way.
  • Dependent type: These rely on others are dependent. They adopt a passive rather than an active attitude towards life and can become depressive.
  • Evasive type: These do not try to handle the problems, therefore avoid the chances of defeat. Evasive types tend to be isolated and may seem to others as cold.

Personality Development

Personality Development

Adler recognized that circumstances could incline people towards desirable or undesirable lifestyles. Because the lifestyle develops early, the family is a particularly important influence.

Parent Conduct

Parents can help or hinder the development of a healthy lifestyle. It can help prevent neurosis by protecting the child from tasks that are difficult to accomplish successfully and by ensuring that appropriate tasks are available.

The mother usually influences the development of social feeling, the cooperative attitude that distinguishes healthy lifestyles from the sick.

  • Spoiled child: Children who are spoiled with too many things come to expect others to meet their needs.
  • Neglected child: Children who have been neglected will likely believe that others support them. The tasks of life seem overwhelmingly difficult.

Family Constellation

The interaction between sister and siblings in the family has been an important influence on the development of the personality and age. And, the sex of siblings was a distinctive contribution of Adler.

  • Firstborn: They begin the life with all the attention of parents which is often spoiled. Then when others arrive you must share the love with others.
  • Child born in the second term: Unlike the firstborn, the second child has to share the love of the parents and therefore it is unlikely that he will be spoiled.
  • Youngest son: It is more likely to grow in a warmer atmosphere than older children. This implies the risk of being spoiled.
  • Only child: They never compete for attention. It is likely to be spoiled and bound to the mother.

Psychological Health

This is expressed in more social, less individual terms than Freud’s intrapsychic model. He emphasized having healthy relationships with other people, not simply with one’s libido.

Social Interest

A sense of community is essential for human survival, the more social interest the person has, the more their efforts will be channeled to shared social tasks.

The Three Tasks Of Life

  • Work: Having an occupation, earning a living through socially useful work.
  • Love: Sexual relations and marriage between men and women including the decisionis to have children. Adler recommended monogamy as the best solution for the task of love.
  • Social Interaction: the problems of communal life, this is social relations with others, including friendship.

Interventions Based On Adler Theories

We no longer learn from life itself because we interpret life experiences according to the directions with the wrong frequencies of our lifestyle.

  • School: Adler thought that the school had great potential for personality growth, only if traditional methods were replaced by practices designed to promote social interest.
  • Therapy: This is aimed at the change of thought, emotion, and behavior through progressive stages. The patient’s lifestyle is evaluated at the beginning of the therapy and provides a context to understand the specific problem of the patient.

Stages Of Adlerian Psychotherapy

Stages Of Adlerian Psychotherapy

  1. Stage Of Empathy And Relationship
  2. Information Stage
  3. Stage Of Clarification
  4. Promotion Stage
  5. Interpretation And Recognition Stage
  6. Knowledge Stage
  7. Stage Of Emotional Crisis
  8. Stage Of Doing Differently
  9. Stage Of Effort
  10. Social Interest
  11. Goal Redirection
  12. Support And Launching Stage

It is easy to identify Adler’s theory when we can quote the newspaper live in our life and our society, the constant cases we live in them related to inferiority complexes, about fictitious finalism, lifestyle, parental contributions in consenting or neglecting children, social interest and the constellation of the family.

We can count on a theory that allows us to open our minds and reflect on their great meaning, we are constantly searching to know who we are and why we act in a certain way, this theory offers us a valid option.


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