Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alan E. Stewart
Adlerian therapy refers to counseling and psychotherapeutic interventions that are associated with the individual psychology of Alfred Adler (1870–1937), a Viennese psychologist and contemporary of Sigmund Freud. Individual psychology emphasizes an examination of the individual's social and cultural embeddedness, a holistic view of personality, taking personal responsibility, striving to achieve life goals, growth towards a sense of completion and belonging, and a practical approach to meeting life's challenges. Because these values are so universally shared, a wide variety of mental health professionals use classical and contemporary expressions of Adlerian therapy in their work. Adler believed that people's pursuit of their overarching life goals pulled them from positions of inferiority, inactivity, and inertness to positions of mastery and completion. Many factors affect the nature of people's life goals and the manner in which they pursue them, including heredity, pre- and perinatal influences, socioeconomic and cultural contexts, health, the family emotional environment, ...