s Alfred Adler's Legacy: Past, Present, and Future - Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington
Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washngton

Adlers Legacy: past, Present, & Future

Ansbacher lecture presented at the NASAP 2007 Conference in Vancouver, B.C. by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

The lecture included an introduction by Dr. Erik Mansager and a question period at the end. Dr. Stein emphasizes the importance of returning to Alfred Adler's original teachings and style of treatment, the need for congruence in therapists and trainers, the relevance of a personal study-analysis, and the role of Classical Adlerian depth psychotherapy in the future of Individual Psychology. The following transciption is a slightly modified version of the lecture. Copyright 2007, Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

Alfred Adler's Legacy of Creative Depth Psychotherapy

There are two reasons I'm here today: Bob Armstrong and Erik Mansager. However, my wife, Laurie, doesn't think I should be presenting here tonight, and by the time I'm finished, you may agree with her. Now that I have been invited to speak my mind candidly, I will.

I believe that the future of Individual Psychology is in jeopardy because it has drifted progressively further away from Adler's original ideas and style of treatment. The future of Individual Psychology lies in going back to Adler's original writing and style of treatment, in order to promote his legacy as a leading force in depth psychotherapy.

At the heart of Individual Psychology is Adler's belief that everything can be different; we all can change. Not merely change a symptom, modify our behavior, or acknowledge our mistakes, but change our core personality. Accomplishing this fundamental personality change is the essence of depth psychotherapy, which goes far beyond modifying behavior to re-defining how a person sees himself, others, and the world. Other depth psychotherapies attempt varying degrees of personality change, but Adler gives us the unique tools to do it better than anyone else.

Psychotherapy at this level is an intuitive, complex, intellectually and emotionally demanding art. Adler meets this challenge with a cosmically coherent philosophy of life, integrates his theory of human development with a vision of optimal functioning, then shows us how to diagnose an individual in difficulty and how to treat him. Unlike many other theorists, Adler offers clear guidelines on what constitutes cure, or optimal mental health. His road map of psychotherapy has a definite destination.

But what if therapists have not reached that destination themselves, have not achieved the core personality changes that might be necessary to align their world view with Adler's? How can they hope to guide clients to that awareness? Changes of this depth cannot be achieved by merely hearing a list of our basic mistakes read by a therapist. The practice of a "life style procedure," or "doing a lifestyle," is often less than helpful, or even damaging to discouraged clients or students. This "by-the-numbers" short-cut does not do justice to what Adlerian psychotherapy was designed to achieve. Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy requires therapists to be constantly creative, inventing new strategies to fit each client's uniqueness. This treatment style cannot be systematized into a series of techniques or procedures.

Necessity for Congruence

Other therapeutic approaches may allow clinicians to use strategies without considering the influence of their character on the process. But Adlerian therapy and treatment goals are based on a philosophy of life; if we do not personally accept and embody that philosophy, the message we give to clients and students is not congruent. We do not "practice what we preach." This lack of congruence can be confusing and misleading to clients and students.

To be an Adlerian is first and foremost to be congruent. Adler's genius lies in his holistic vision of the congruence of an individual's smallest expressive gesture with the overall direction of his life; of the interconnectedness of each individual's past, present, and future with the cosmos; and of the psychic price we pay for ignoring the reality of social living. To be congruent means to use Adler's approach as he did--gently, creatively, and with constant encouragement--for the client's benefit. Adler's demeanor was most often described as that of a gentle grandmother. The way he was, the way he presented himself, embodied his principles.

Importance of a Study-Analysis

How well do our Adlerian instructors and clinicians today know these principles and accurately embody them? How many have completed the personal study-analysis required to understand Adlerian psychotherapy in our bones, and to correct the inevitable mistakes we all have in our thinking so we can model optimal functioning for our clients? Too often, I have seen and heard of clinicians and instructors using their limited knowledge of Adlerian ideas to enhance their own prestige: to perform at best, and to belittle or diminish at worst. Without a thorough study-analysis with a congruent, experienced mentor, we are easily trapped by our own style of life. How can therapists who have not overcome their own life style help clients overcome theirs?

Dissolving the Style of Life

Thus, the importance of congruence and a study-analysis leads me to the issue of dissolving the life style. In The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler (Stein 2002a, 2002b, 2003a, 2003b, 2004a, 2004b, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c, 2005d, 2006a, 2006b), again and again, Adler refers to the limitations of our habitual mistake pattern, known as a style of life. Because we all make judgments based on the inherently faulty perceptions of childhood, we all have a pattern of mistakes to some degree. But to what degree? The answer is crucial. A minimal level of mistaken thinking is not a style of life because it does not interfere with our ability to perform the main tasks of life: friendship, occupation, love and sex. A life style is a pattern so strongly pervasive, so marked by dichotomized thinking, that it becomes a self-created enclosure from which we feel we cannot escape. Within that self-perpetuating enclosure, we may have serious difficulties in life, or make significant difficulties for others. The more narrow the enclosure, the tighter the dichotomies of thought, and the further away we get from common sense into the dead end of private logic.

Dissolving the Private Logic and Fictional Final Goal

The style of life is built on private logic. Private logic cannot be merely modified; it must be dissolved in order for us to join the community of common sense or logic. Adler never read clients a list of their mistakes. Again and again, in The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, he uses the concept of mistaken thinking as a therapeutic tool to help him understand his clients' behavior, then encourage them in a new direction, and help them ultimately let go of their style of life--to step out of their self-imposed enclosure and live creatively. In his writing, Adler illustrates that only by dissolving the restrictive, repetitive life style which holds them forever in place, can individuals move in a different direction--not a specific, compensatory destination, but a general direction reflecting their personal sensitivities, inspired by Gemeinschaftsgefuehl and creative power. Not only can a style of life be dissolved, but it must be dissolved for individuals to change. How many Adlerian therapists today are effecting that level of change? Are we teaching our students this skill?

Finally, but most important, the organic unity of Adlerian psychotherapy reflects the organizing influence of the fictional final goal. This imagined Third Act, this visceral, instantaneous combining of our past and present in order to envision our psychic future illustrates our creative power. An understanding of the dynamics of the fictional final goal and style of life separates Individual Psychology from other theories and philosophies. The ability to help clients dissolve a style of life and re-direct their fictional final goal into a universal value constitutes Adlerian depth psychotherapy. Abraham Maslow offers us helpful clues about what mentally healthy individuals, guided by one of the universal values, look like. We need to encourage more Adlerians to learn the unique art of depth psychotherapy, a process that can change the direction of people's lives, that reaches their mind, heart, and soul, that frees them to live creatively and become their best selves. Adler offers us inspiration and the tools necessary to achieve the valuable cause he promotes.

As Adlerians, we do not need other theories, fast-food therapies, or quick-fix workshops. We need to go deeper into Adler himself, by studying and discussing his original writings, and finding a congruent mentor to help us overcome our self-imposed limitations.

A Personal Journey to Adler: Early Influences

Personally, I came to the training of depth psychotherapists by a circuitous, but in hindsight, thoroughly integrated route. Initially, I wanted to be an architect. I began my undergraduate study of architecture at Cooper Union in New York City. There, I was first exposed to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Intuitively, I was attracted to his concept of "organic architecture." The artistic relationship of the parts to the whole was a compelling idea, as well as a persistent theme in my later interests and studies.

In 1953, induction into the army interrupted my studies, but led to a discovery of the theater, while I was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. A transfer to the Presidio of San Francisco put me in closer contact with a wider theater community during the rest of my military service. After my discharge in 1955, under the G.I. Bill, I majored in theater arts at San Francisco State University, first earning a B.A. Degree. As a graduate student, I focused on becoming a stage director, and became deeply interested in finding better ways to help actors understand and portray fictional characters.

Like most other aspiring actors and directors, I read Constantin Stanislavski's (1936, 1949) An Actor Prepares and Building a Character. His idea of a character's "super-objective" resonated with Wright's concept of organic architecture, echoing the relationship of the parts to the whole. I also read Michael Chekhov's (1953, 1963) To The Actor and To the Director and Playwrightwas inspired by his image of a character's "psychological gesture," a simplified prototype of internal motivation. The idea that a character's thoughts, feelings, and actions could be unified by a single goal as well as an image fascinated me.

Sensing that the field of psychology might provide some deep insights into fictional character, I browsed the library for other sources. First, I read some of Freud's (1989) writings, but found them too obscure and complicated for application in the theater. Then, I read a number of Jung's (1993) works, found them instructive, but often too obscure or archaeological. Finally, I discovered Adler's (1931) What Life Could Mean to You. I immediately recognized his artistic intuition and the conceptual similarities among Wright, Stanislavski, and Adler's unity of personality, reflecting the same part-to-whole dynamics.

During the 1950's to the 1970's, my experience in the theater community of San Francisco was reminiscent of Adler's contact with circus performers. The actors, directors, designers, playwrights, and stage technicians showed me a wide diversity of creative people and ways of living. Many were friendly and cooperative, some were dominant and hostile, others were frustrated and unhappy, but most struggled and sacrificed for something beyond themselves: producing a stage play. The theater community also provided a comfortable social mix of heterosexual and homosexual preferences.

On a small scale, a theater company generates a sense of community, dedicated to a common purpose, united by a shared artistic sensibility. While working as a director and manager of a theater company was satisfying and challenging, producing a play often ignites stressful conflicts. Keeping a team focused, productive, and creative requires leadership, tact, and inventiveness. I began to realize that deeper psychological insight into the members of my theater company would be a useful asset. I wanted to meet and talk to an Adlerian.

Consequently, in the early 1970's, to enrich my personal and professional life, I contacted NASAP to ask for names of all Adlerians in the San Francisco Bay Area. They sent me the names of three people, whom I visited. The first two were bright, friendly, and eager to help. However, the third, Sophia de Vries, was exceptionally articulate, warm, and gracious. I felt immediately welcomed, comfortable, and eager to get to know her. She had studied with Alfred Adler, Karl Jung, August Eichorn, Ludwig Klages, and Maria Montessori. She did her study-analysis with Lydia Sicher, and received her case supervision from Alexander Mueller. She seemed to embody an inspiring congruence in her character, what Adler had described in his writing, combining deep connection, abundant generosity, and an artistic sensibility. We first took a brief tour of her small but beautifully designed home in the Oakland hills, surrounded by lovely gardens and enlivened by several cats and dogs. I recall talking to her for several hours, then asking for a recommendation of how to study Individual Psychology. She suggested a study-analysis wherein I would read a series of Adler's books to study the theory, and then in a weekly meeting, discuss with her each idea and its application to my personal and professional life. Eventually, I studied with her for over twenty years.

A short time later, Sophia introduced me to Anthony Bruck who had also studied with Adler and was influenced by the writings of Erwin Wexberg. Feeling an immediate affinity for Anthony's warmth, kindness, gentleness, and humor, I quickly realized I could learn a great deal from him as well. With Sophia and Anthony, I experienced two different Adlerians who shared a common philosophy of living that was clearly evident in their character. I recall one of Anthony's early comments: "In many systems of psychology, you can learn a lot of ideas and strategies, but at the end of the training, you can stay the same person you were when you started. If you want to become a real Adlerian, you might have to become a different person." In time, I gradually understood the accuracy of his observation. Meanwhile, Anthony introduced me to his many unpublished manuscripts. The highlights of his writings are a series of graphic charts diagramming Adlerian ideas; a handbook on Adlerian brief therapy, including twenty brilliant case illustrations; and a book documenting his work as an Adlerian psychologist in the schools of Costa Rica. Fluent in five languages, he traveled widely, doing therapy with adults, and teaching Adlerian concepts to children in elementary and secondary school.

Under Sophia's guidance, I read all of Adler's writings I could find, discovering that many of them were still not translated into English. I also read what I could find by Erwin Wexberg (1929a, 1929b), Fritz Kuenkel (1947), Alfred Farau (1952), Beran Wolfe (1931), Carl Furtmueller (1964), Rudolf Dreikurs (1953), and other Adlerian authors, mostly in the Adlerian journals. At this point I applied what I was learning to myself and my work as a theater director and manager. As I yearned to go deeper, Sophia suggested that I learn German, so that I could then read the untranslated material. I tried, but could not imagine investing the time necessary to achieve a sufficient level of scholarly understanding. One day, as we discussed Adler's (1927) The Neurotic Constitution, she expressed frustration about the poor, incomplete 1927 translation. Her comment planted an unconscious seed about the need for new translations.

Transition From Theater to Psychology

My work with actors, helping them interpret fictional characters, as well as my ability to manage a sizable group of theater artists, benefited greatly from my weekly work with Sophia. At one point, I managed four theater companies in San Francisco. However, over a period of several years, I found myself reading more books about Adlerian psychology than about the theater. Two events accelerated a coming transition: I took a training course in psychodrama, and met another therapist, Joseph Potts.

In stage directing, one major task is translating fictional, internal, psychological movement into visible, physical stage movement. In the psychodrama work, I began to see that the visible, physical movement could be translated back into internal, psychological movement. At Sophia's recommendation, I participated in a three-day group therapy marathon with Joseph Potts. The dramatic changes that I saw him achieve with people led me to reconsider my career focus. I began to imagine the creative possibilities of using Adlerian insight to understand and help real people solve their problems, rather than portraying fictional characters and dramatizing their conflict.

I went back to school to study psychology, maintaining my weekly study with Sophia. This combination of academic study and practical Adlerian training enriched my learning experience. Sophia also invited me to sit in on a weekly therapy group she conducted. Afterward, we discussed the psychological dynamics. The depth and clarity of her insights into clients' movements and goals dazzled me. In a few years, I completed my personal study-analysis, continuing to discuss all my cases with her for more than twenty years. Most of these discussions were tape-recorded and later transcribed (about 400 hours). Over the years, we attended workshops and lectures by many psychotherapists, including Victor Frankl, Virginia Satir, and Adlerians at NASAP conferences. Eventually, Sophia encouraged me to teach others what she had learned from Alfred Adler, Alexander Mueller, and Lydia Sicher, and then taught me. She also encouraged me to study the work of Abraham Maslow, as an enrichment of Adler's vision of optimal development. To teach others, I needed a wider and deeper theoretical base.

Evolution of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler

The best compensation I could imagine for not having studied with Adler, or for not being able to read all his work in the original German, was to translate as much of it as possible into English. As I researched what was available, I also became aware of the existence of unpublished manuscripts by Alfred Adler (1936), Alexander Mueller (1966, 1967, 1968), Anthony Bruck (1975, 19176, 1977, 1978, 1979), Lydia Sicher (1962), Alexander Neuer (1927), Ferdinand Birnbaum (1947), and other early Adlerians. Coincidentally, more than fifteen years ago, a young literary agent made a proposal to NASAP to begin translating Adler's works. He wanted a subsidy of about $50,000 a year to manage the project. His proposal was denied. I began to consider what it might take to accomplish this project in my spare time without substantial financial support. Although many of Adler's popular books were available in English, the prospect of being able to read most of his clinical writings in English was irresistible. The work of Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher, translators of The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, Superiority and Social Interest, and Cooperation Between the Sexes, provided an inspiring springboard for enlarging the treasury of Adler's writings in English. Over a two-year period, with the use of several university libraries, the assistance of a professional librarian in Washington, D.C. who provided me with access to The Library of Congress, and the help of contacts in Germany and Holland, I pulled together every book, article, and manuscript I could find. Much of it had never been published or even translated.

In the next year, I searched for affordable translators who could produce the literal translations I wanted. Although Sophia had already translated a half-dozen articles, I could not find any other experienced Adlerian clinicians willing to take on the formidable task ahead. Eventually, I found two gems: Gerald Liebenau, from Washington, D.C., and Cees Koen from Holland. Excellent translators, they were not trained Adlerians, so I initially had them study a number of Adler's books to gain a feel for his ideas and style. For several years, we were fortunate to have Kurt Adler also reading and commenting on many of the drafts. His participation helped us refine our grasp of his father's ideas.

Five years ago, after she retired from teaching high school English, my wife, Laurie, started editing our literal translations for readability. Remarkably, she transformed many of Adler's rich and complex, but awkward sentences, into clear, tight readable text, without losing his depth of meaning. Fifteen years after we started, we produced twelve volumes of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler (2002-2006). Although we had some modest financial assistance from NASAP and a few other sources at the beginning, Laurie and I agreed to personally fund most of the cost. In the near future, we plan to publish additional works by Adler, as well as the collected works of Alexander Mueller, Anthony Bruck, and other early Adlerians. Several of my associates, Martha Edwards (Stein & Edwards,1998, 2000), Dyanne Pienkowski, and Jim Wolf have contributed significantly to the editing and refinement of these works in progress.

Defining Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy

After being trained by Sophia, attending NASAP conferences for many years, watching video demonstrations, and reading many Adlerian publications, I concluded that what I was trained to do differed from "mainstream" or "contemporary" Adlerian practice. I coined the phrase "Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy" to clarify the roots, the style, and the vision of this approach. I wanted to emphasize the necessity for returning to Adler's own clinical writings, in their entirety.

Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher provided us with a remarkable series of books that edited and re-organized Adler's ideas into logical categories that were convenient and easier to study. However, for advanced students or clinicians who want to understand Adler fully and deeply, reading his complete articles is necessary. We have published The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler (2002-2006) primarily for these advanced students and clinicians. Other Adlerian writers have attempted to simplify Adler's ideas. But, the complexity of Adler's own writing contains subtleties and nuances that are frequently lost in the simplifications of other writers. Consequently, "classical" suggests a return to Adler's original writings in order to build a solid conceptual foundation.

In her 90's, Sophia still re-read Adler's clinical works. She taught me that an ongoing study of Adler yields progressive levels of depth in understanding. Over the years, although I have read the work of many contemporary authors in the field of psychology, only Adler draws me back, again and again. I am convinced that to gain both the skill of life style analysis, as well as the artistry of creative treatment, therapists have to absorb Adler's ideas deeply into the marrow of their bones. If they are unable or unwilling to do this, they should probably choose a different theoretical approach. I am also convinced that the feelings associated with his ideas cannot be absorbed merely by reading. These feelings can come only from contact with a person who congruently represents them.

Furthermore, we cannot learn Adler's warm, gentle, creative style of psychotherapy from his writing, although the many transcribed dialogues between him and clients do give a clear flavor of it. Nor do I believe that anyone can learn how to do effective depth psychotherapy from a book, or in a classroom. The art of depth psychotherapy must be witnessed and experienced personally in the context of a one-to-one relationship. I trusted that Sophia de Vries, who studied with Adler, and was trained by Lydia Sicher and Alexander Mueller, accurately represented Adler's style of psychotherapy. This lineage defines the style of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy. She possessed a warmth, gentleness, and creativity that offered her clients and students a trustworthy experience of complete congruence. Moreover, her mastery of the Socratic method added a depth of equality and respect to her work.

The Adler-Maslow Vision

Adler's vision of Gemeinschaftsgefuehl presents a far-reaching ideal for the evolution of society. He encourages us to overcome our difficulties, develop ourselves, and improve life around us. He challenges us to go beyond adapting to our current levels of culture. We can fulfill this vision only if the members of the community are motivated to pursue healthy personal ideals. Howard Gardner (1999), the author of Frames of Mind, wherein he theorizes multiple intelligences, recently added "existentialist intelligence" to his list. He describes it as our ability to relate to the entire cosmos and to conceive of our place within that structure. This concept includes contemplating the meaning of life and our relationship to ever-widening circles of other people.

As we think about ultimate issues in life, inevitably, ideals emerge. Abraham Maslow (1970, 1971) clarifies many personal, interpersonal, and community ideals with his description of self-actualization. (I use the term "self-other-task-actualization" to avoid the mistaken implication of egocentricity.) He differentiates between the dynamics of deficiency and growth motivation, and describes the potential inspirational power of "universal values: truth, beauty, goodness, justice, wholeness, etc."

Adler provides us with the theory and principles of practice for deep personality change. He gives us the best set of therapeutic tools, not only to relieve mental and emotional suffering, but also to re-ignite the creative power of individuals and harness that power for the improvement of society. Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy combines Adler and Maslow. Using a twelve-stage model, it targets deep personality change through a dissolving of the style of life and fictional final goal. It challenges therapists to explore this path personally, so that they can guide clients or students in this direction.

Training in Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy

Our distance training students come from all over the world. A few have graduated from other Adlerian institutes. Many are experienced licensed professionals with extensive backgrounds in Freudian, Jungian, or Family Systems therapy. But, unlike most other programs, the personal, one-to-one relationship lies at the heart of our training. The deeper meaning and feeling of Adler's philosophy can best be communicated only in this long-term, mentor-oriented relationship. In weekly telephone discussions, we explore a student's response to recorded seminars and reading, which includes a wide range of published books, clinical journal articles, and unpublished manuscripts by Alfred Adler (1936), Alexander Mueller (1966, 1967, 1968), Lydia Sicher (1962), and other Classical Adlerians (Stein, 2007c). Comments and questions cover all aspects of theory and practice, including case illustrations. One weekend a year, all current students and many senior, certified associates come together for a two-day experiential workshop. Participants bring personal and professional issues to work on within the group. Pre- and post-workshop individual sessions sharpen preparation and debrief the experience.

Ongoing Research and Development

Working weekly with Sophia, I took about ten years to develop sufficient insight to teach what I learned from her. Following her lead, I constantly explore new, promising innovations by others in many fields to enhance the art and teaching of Adlerian psychotherapy. The following sources have provided ongoing stimulation for adapting models and techniques that maintain congruence with Adler's core theory and philosophy. Both Lydia Sicher (Davidson, 1991) and Alexander Mueller (1966, 1967, 1968, 1991) predicted that Adler's theory would eventually provide a conceptual center uniting a host of other disciplines.

The Socratic Method. Sophia made the Socratic Method look easy. With deceptive simplicity, she drilled deeply into clients' private logic, leading them respectfully to a liberating common sense. Much of that skill was influenced by Alexander Mueller. After studying and analyzing hundreds of her demonstrations of therapeutic technique, I was able to appreciate the structure and dynamics of what she did. Subsequently, I also explored the contributions of others who wrote about the Socratic method in the fields of psychology, philosophy, law, and education. One factor is clear. Many variations of the Socratic Method are used for a range of different purposes. The Classical Adlerian adaptation of the Socratic method differs in style and purpose from its use in other fields and other psychological approaches, which I elaborate on in my paper (2002), "Adler and Socrates: Similarities and Differences."

The Creative Process. Sophia constantly emphasized the need for creativity in the practice of psychotherapy. Critical of attempts to simplify and systematize Adlerian therapy, she referred to these shortcuts as "painting by the numbers." Her work with clients or when consulting on cases was always inventive, matching the uniqueness of individuals with creatively unique strategies for helping them. Realizing that Adler was truly a therapeutic artist, I began my continuous study of the creative process. Starting with the seminal work of Graham Wallas on the stages of creativity, journeying into the arts and sciences, and eventually bridging to the work of Maslow, I sought to demystify the creative aspect of psychotherapy, so that my students could understand the dynamics of thinking and feeling that yield artistically unique, therapeutic insights and strategies.

Concept and Mind-Mapping. Anthony Bruck (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978) developed a series of graphic images that he used with students and clients to illustrate Adler's ideas. Stimulated by Anthony's contribution, I have explored the use of mind maps and concept maps to help students understand the relationship of content to structure. I have also found that flow-charting software provides a useful medium for creating clear, readable, dynamic genograms. Robert Horn's seminal work on information design and visual language has provided valuable guidance,

Brain Functioning. Various authors have written about hemispheric lateralization, describing and speculating about left-brain, right-brain and whole-brain functioning. I find these theories fascinating, but get a little skeptical about "dividing" functions, in light of Adler's assumptions about unity and purpose. More compelling to me is the vision of a hologramic brain, as described by Karl Pribram (1991), wherein each small part reflects a fuzzy replica of the whole. Paul McLean's idea of functional down-shifting, under perceived threat, from the cerebral cortex to the limbic system, or the reptilian brain offers an intriguing, speculative image. A lesser-known model, called "feeling tone theory," was developed by physicist Paul LaViollete (1979) and psychiatrist William Gray (1979). They hypothesize that thoughts and feelings cannot be separated, and that feelings actually organize thinking. Their hypothesis helped me understand why some therapists could express ideas like Gemeinschaftsgefuehl with a feeling that didn't fit. This idea suggested the possibility that the early learning of a concept from a teacher or therapist might be encoded, mistakenly and unconsciously, with the wrong feeling, if the source is contradictory.

Eidetic Imagery. Internal images can often evoke strong feelings. Akhter Ahsen (1977), a psychiatrist from India and author of Psycheye, developed a series of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, based on eidetic imagery, that can often reveal useful unconscious material or facilitate emotional change. As diagnostic and therapeutic affective techniques, these eidetic images can be combined with cognitive and behavioral methods to support emotional breakthroughs and promote therapeutic growth.

Missing Developmental Experience. Many years ago, Sophia introduced me to her friend, Robin Gordon, a psychologist who had worked with Robert Postel in Chicago. Together, they developed a therapeutic approach called "Primary Relationship Therapy." Their work concentrated on adults who had been severely neglected as children. In a systematic way, they "re-parented" the adult clients, simulating the early experiences those clients apparently never had. Although their highly systematized approach did not appeal to me, the spirit and purpose of their ideas took root. Eventually, I designed opportunities for certain clients to "fill in" a range of "missing developmental experiences." I find that some clients, even after substantial encouragement and insight, can still feel stuck, "as if" they are not yet ready to grow up fully--as if some emotional vitamin is still missing. Depending on the clients' accessibility, role-playing, guided imagery, or narration may provide the belated "substitute experience" that keeps them hesitant to move in a new direction (Stein & Edwards, 2002). I prefer to do missing experience work in the context of an all-day, nine-hour, marathon therapy group. This approach permits longer preparation and de-briefing time for participants, as well as broader opportunities for role-playing.

Comprehensive Life Style Analysis. The art of comprehensive life style analysis is not easy to teach. We use all of Adler's theoretical constructs, including: original feelings of inferiority; compensatory, fictional final goal; antithetical scheme of apperception; private logic; depreciation tendency; and the style of life. The most difficult and least understood aspect of this process is learning how to interpret psychological movement. Although Adler mentions "looking at a client's movement" repeatedly in his writings, he does not offer many clues on how to do it. Consequently, we spend a good deal of time on this topic. However, students can become overwhelmed with the abundance of information normally presented in a case. To help organize this information, I developed a series of structures to enable thorough analysis and synthesis. I was reassured to discover that the procedures I use for approaching life style analysis are remarkably similar to the sociological research methods of Strauss's (1998) qualitative analysis and Glasser's (1967) grounded theory. A host of valuable tools emerged for gathering information, organizing data, coding it for simplification, recording comments and guesses, looking for patterns of similarity and contrast, abstracting meta-patterns from basic patterns, and moving to higher levels of abstraction. I also discovered a useful software program that facilitates the processes of guessing, analysis, and synthesis.

Stimulating the Creative Process in Children. Early exposure to fertile materials and inspirational guidance are sorely missing from much of early childhood education. Largely prompted by Norman Brosterman's (1997) book Inventing Kindergarten, I explored the work of Friedrich Froebel (e.g. 1887), whose background in crystallography led him to create his kindergarten materials. Brosterman theorizes that the Froebel kindergartens in Europe, with their focus on nature and geometry, may have contributed significantly to the development of modern art and architecture in the twentieth century. With its emphasis on holism, connectedness, and a gentle, Socratic style of questioning, the Froebel method may have influenced Adler in his childhood. I recently corresponded with a professor of chemistry who believes that an early study of crystallography would inspire many young children today to consider science as a career. Jeane Rubin's (2002) Intimate Triangle: Architecture of Crystals, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Froebel Kindergarten offers additional insight into the potential impact of Froebel's educational theory and materials.

Use of the Internet to Disseminate Information. Since 1995, I have experimented with various Internet capabilities to spread information about Classical Adlerian Psychology all over the world. My web site offers free articles, photographs, diagrams, and videos about theory, philosophy, and practice, attracting over a million visitors in the past twelve years. It now draws about six hundred visits a day, about 200,000 visits a year. I send periodic e-mail notices of new web site material to 5,000 recipients in 90 countries. Three discussion forums that I moderate have answered thousands of questions, (mostly for students who have psychology assignments due on Monday). A year ago, I started a web log, offering Adlerian interpretations of news stories, of magazine articles, and of selections from Mankoff's (20024) The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker. I've conducted chat rooms and video conferences, inviting people to discuss Adlerian Psychology with each other. This electronic outreach has enabled me to connect with many people in remote areas who do not have a local Adlerian resource, and who hunger for knowledge about depth psychotherapy.

The Future of Individual Psychology: Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy

For decades, an unfortunate, general perception in the mental health community has been that Individual Psychology is superficial. Sadly, too many well-meaning attempts to simplify Adler have resulted in diluting or distorting his ideas.

In a 2005 journal article titled "Preserving our Humanity as Therapists," Nancy McWilliams (2005), president of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association, describes an increasing tendency in the mental health field toward short-term, symptom relief. The terms "mental" and "emotional" health have been replaced by the term "behavioral health," implying the reduction of the therapist from a healer to a technician. However, she states, "There is emerging empirical evidence that long-term and intensive therapies are more effective--and probably more cost effective--than the brief interventions favored by managed care companies." She urges psychotherapists to take the initiative to ensure the survival of a "humane, sophisticated psychotherapy."

Instead of permitting corporate-oriented managed care interests to restrict the future of psychotherapy to brief symptom relief, we can lead the way for a future that does not merely yield a high return on economic investment, but one that invests in the psychological welfare of mankind. In this respect, Adler's Individual Psychology is the most socially responsible of all psychotherapies, offering the widest radius of benefits to humanity.

Alexander Mueller (1966, 1967, 1968, 1992), one of Adler's associates, said, "The central issue in Adlerian Psychology is creative power." Although he considered the feeling of inferiority an important influence, he believed that creative power was central to the formation of a style of life and fictional final goal. The force that allows us to let go of that life style and goal, and pursue a new direction, is also creative power. This precious creative power needs to be nurtured throughout our lives. Ideally, this nurturing begins with an astute, sensitive parent in early childhood, and continues with an inspiring teacher through the formative years in school. For many, the last opportunity to re-ignite this spark may come in the process of depth psychotherapy.

Abraham Maslow (1971, 1972) clearly states that living creatively does not grow out of techniques we might learn in a workshop or from a book; rather, it results from overcoming self-imposed limitations through depth psychotherapy. Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy can unleash this creative power by dissolving the style of life and fictional final goal, as Adler did. It can inspire individuals to adopt a new direction based on universal values, articulated by Adler and Maslow.

Albert Einstein (1954) considered a connectedness to universal truth the highest expression of being human. As Adlerians, we bear the responsibility of keeping alive the art of Classical Adlerian Depth psychotherapy in order to help as many people as possible connect to universal truth, thereby unleashing their creative power for the welfare of mankind. My part is to continue training depth psychotherapists. I hope that I have inspired at least a few of you to join me.


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