Alfred Adler Institutes of San Francisco and Northwestern Washington

Volume 12: The collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler
The General System of Individual Psychology
Overview & Summary of Classical Adlerian Theory, & Current Practice

Edited by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

The General System of Individual Psychology is an unpublished manuscript by Alfred Adler that was discovered in the Library of Congress. The thirteen undated lectures, identified as "chapters," form a complete series that Adler presented in English, possibly in New York City. Originally edited by Frank Pearcy, M.D., described on the title page as Adler's "American associate," the material has required extensive re-writing for readability.

Adler's terminology and style suggests that the lectures were given later in his career, and represent a summary of his matured theory of the personality, as well as principles of prevention and treatment. In the homestretch of The Collected Works, this distillation serves as a gathering point for the abundant diversity of topics Adler covered from 1898 to 1937.

Typical of Adler's ability to focus on essentials, in the first chapter he emphasizes the creative potential of the individual and the magnetic power of a fictional final goal. Discovering this organizing center of a style of life requires artistic intuition and the ability to translate all of a client's thinking, feeling, and actions into movement. These capacities are not easily developed, usually requiring many years of dedicated study with an inspiring mentor who demonstrates the ability to penetrate the seeming mystery of hundreds of cases.

In the second chapter Adler clarifies the individual's role in the steady steam of evolution, pushed by the early blessing of inferiority feelings and pulled by an imagined ideal of completion. These powerful vectors of striving to overcome difficulties and the imagining of ideal solutions, fuel the engine of social evolution. Yet, small to monumental errors can be made, and Adler recognizes the dangers of early mistaken directions that hinder socially useful improvements. His genius lies in the early recognition of positive and negative tendencies and strategies for correcting the individual's life course.

In the third and fourth chapters he surveys the typical burdens of childhood, organ inferiority, neglect, and pampering that hinder the feeling of community. With a number of vivid case examples, he shows us how to interpret a style of life by staying focused on the unity of expressive movements. Tracing the series of developmental steps from childhood to adulthood, he alerts us to the "dangerous corners" of new and difficult situations that test our courage and social interest. Using the insights of of birth order position and earliest childhood recollections, he uncovers the nearly hidden dynamics that reflect the individual's unique childhood prototype providing a preview of the later style of life in the adult.

In chapters five and six Adler addresses the challenges of early training in the home and school as well as issues in adolescence. He includes helpful insights into the social problems of war, capital punishment, and racial prejudice. Chapter seven deals with crime, occupational choices, and the broader field of economics. Adler emphasizes the need for greater social interest to solve these questions in a way that will benefit all of humanity.

In chapter eight, he provides a clear comparison of Individual Psychology and Psychoanalysis as well as the insights of early recollections in the cases of neurosis. Chapters nine and ten address the roles of memory, fantasy, daydreams, night dreams, deja vu, poetry, and religion in the maintenance of a style of life. Adler's comments about the dynamics of sleep and the purpose of dreams reflect his core assumption about their daily preparation for facing life's problems.

In chapter eleven Adler traces the impact of a childhood prototype on the future success or failure of the adult. He clarifies the distinction between active and passive failures, as well as the neurotic strategy of clinging to shock effects. Chapter twelve connects an individual's character traits with the challenges of love, sexuality, and marriage, including several case illustrations.

Adler summarizes his theory and philosophy in chapter thirteen, emphasizing the most important factors that contribute to a meaningful, happy life. He closes with strong correlation between morals, ethics, and social interest.

To complement Adler's summary, and bring the reader up-to-date on contemporary Classical Adlerian practice, several articles have been added in the appendix. Appendix A, "Classical Adlerian Theory and Practice," offers a survey of basic constructs, an expanded exposition of the stages of individual psychotherapy, and the integration of Abraham Maslow's vision of optimal functioning. Appendix B, "Providing the Missing Developmental Experience in Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy," explores the use of guided and eidetic imagery to facilitate emotional breakthroughs in treatment. Appendix C, "Adler and Socrates: Similarities and Differences." clarifies the style and purpose of Socratic questioning in Classical Adlerian psychotherapy. Appendix D, "Demonstration of the Socratic Method in Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy With a Man Who Procrastinates," illustrates how skillful questioning can lead a client to insight.

Adlerian psychology has been mistakenly identified mainly as brief, cognitively-based therapy. Indeed, some practitioners have progressively simplified and systematized Adler's ideas, often to a point of contradicting Adler's philosophy. However, the pure gold of Adler's legacy can be found in the art of depth psychotherapy. He has provided the tools to help clients break through the confining cage of a self-centered way of living and graduate into a new level of optimal functioning and social contribution. Whereas brief counseling might soften the hard edges of an uncooperative personality, Classical Adlerian depth psychotherapy aims at dissolving the core style of life and fictional final goal. It achieves this with a warm, gentle, and respectful Socratic style of leading clients into insight. The therapist's character must also be congruent with Adler's philosophy. Consequently, the training of a Classical Adlerian psychotherapist takes time and a mentor-oriented relationship; the goal is master the discipline--becoming a therapeutic artist.

Contents of Volume 12

Editorís Preface 2006

Chapter I - Unique Goal of Overcoming
Striving of Life to Overcome
The Pull of a Creative Goal
Artistry to Find Uniqueness
Examples of Types
Reading Movements in a Direction
Social Interest
Guessing Individual Goals
Case: A Lawyer
Case: A Factory Technician
Case: Wife, 35
Chapter II - Striving Toward Ideal Form
Individual Evolution Toward an Ideal Form
Single Unifying Goal
Striving From Minus to Plus
Child's Desire to Grow Up
Creative Power
Movement in Time and Space
Art of Guessing
Compensation for Felt Deficiency
Development
Overcoming Childhood Burdens
Chapter III - Organ Inferiority & Pampering
Goal - Movement - Unity
Organ Inferiority
Early Memories - Picture of Life
Pampered Child and Adult
Case: Boy, 5
Case: Girl, 20
Criminals and Neurotics
Chapter IV - Tasks of Life & Difficulties

Social Evolution
Expressive Movement
Tasks of Life
Interpreting a Life Style
Social Interest
Overburdening Childhood Circumstances
Adler's Childhood
Chapter V - Child Guidance, Birth Order, & Recollections
Development of Social Interest
Child Guidance
Entering School
Adolescence
War, Capital Punishment, & Racial Prejudice
Birth Order
Degree of Activity
Case Illustrations
Evaluating Roots of Life Style in Recollections
Pampering in a Recollection
Recollection of Death
Chapter VI - Education & Training
Education for Right Direction
Responding to Daily Tests
Child May Control Parents
Starting School
Explaining Mistakes to the Child
Tests Later in Life
Mealtime
Main Tasks in Life
Correcting Mistakes
Birth Order Position
Chapter VII - Crime, Occupation, & Economics
Crime and Its Roots
Limits of Social Interest
Occupation
School
Economics and Society
Chapter VIII - Individual Psychology & Psychoanalysis
Comparison of Individual Psychology & Psychoanalysis
Early Recollections and Neurosis
Case: Woman, 30
Case: Woman, 29
Chapter IX - Memory, Fantasy, & Dreams
Memory as Part of Style of Life
Deja Vu
Fantasy and Daydreams
Fantasies of Cruelty
Freud on Dreams
Purpose of Dreams
Poetry and Religion
Chapter X - Dreams, Sleeping, & Preparation
Interpreting Dreams
Dynamics of Sleep
Preparation for Life's Problems
Case: Married Woman
Chapter XI - Childhood Prototype, Failures
Childhood Prototype
Degree of Activity
Finding a Useful Place
Passive Failures
Active Failures
The Shock Result
Criminal Goal
Mental Retardation
Chapter XII - Activity, Traits, Love & Sex
Spheres of Activity
Character Traits
Love, Sex, & Marriage
Sexual Disorders
Real Love
Bad Signs
Case Examples
Case: Man, 42
Homosexuality
Case: Woman, 31
Chapter XIII - Individual Psychology Summary & Philosophy
Practical and Theoretical Reminders
Case: Man
Not Treating Symptoms
Summary of Main Points
Meaning of Life
Looking , Hearing, & Speaking
Morals, Ethics, & Social Interest
Index

Appendices
Appendix A: Classical Adlerian Theory and Practice
Appendix B: Providing The Missing Developmental Experience in Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy
Appendix C: Adler & Socrates: Similarities and Differences
Appendix D: Demonstration of the Socratic Method in Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy With a Man Who Procrastinates
Appendix E: Training of a Classical Adlerian Psychotherapist
Appendix F: Excerpts From In memoriam - Alfred Adler

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"The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" - Volume 12
The General System of Individual Psychology
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For residents of all other states in the U.S., the total charge for each book includes:
"The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" - Volume 12
The General System of Individual Psychology
............................ $59.00
Shipping ..............................................................................................$7.00
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"The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" - Volume 12
The General System of Individual Psychology
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(All Other Countries)
For all other countries, the total charge for each book includes:
"The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" - Volume 12
The General System of Individual Psychology
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Quantity Purchases
For library, bookstore, or training institute quantity purchases, contact:
Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.
Tel: (360) 647-5670
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Volume 1 - "The Neurotic Character"
Volume 2 - "Journal Articles: 1898-1909"
Volume 3 - "Journal Articles: 1910-1913"
Volume 4 - "Journal Articles: 1914-1920"
Volume 5 - "Journal Articles: 1921-1926"
Volume 6 - "Journal Articles: 1927-1931"
Volume 7 - "Journal Articles: 1931-1937"
Volume 8 - "Lectures to Physicians and Medical Students"
Volume 9 - "Case Histories"
Volume 10 - "Case Readings and Demonstrations"
Volume 11 - "Education for Prevention"

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