Volume nine brings together three of Adler's books on case histories: Problems of Neurosis, The Case of Mrs. A., and The Case of Miss R. Although these books were previously published in English, the text required substantial editing for readability. Adler's diagnostic brilliance now shines through without the distractions of dated terminology and awkward phrasing.
Adler takes us on a fascinating journey of life style analysis through progressive levels of depth. In Problems of Neurosis, he offers us vivid thumbnail sketches of thirty-three cases, spanning the symptoms of depression, obsession, compulsion, alcoholism, schizophrenia, clairvoyance, agoraphobia, impotence, sadism, masochism, and jealousy. He also discusses the general topics of family constellation, earliest recollections, body postures, sleep postures, organ dialect, and hypnosis.
In The Case of Mrs. A., Adler takes us a little deeper into a single style of life. Working from the notes presented by another physician, he spontaneously comments on each segment of information offered to him. His diagnostic procedure is common in medicine: gathering data, making conjectures, then testing them until a coherence is established. He even ventures into predicting the consequences of behavioral patterns. In a presentation of modest length, he achieves his goal of clearly illustrating the coherence of a style of life.
The Case of Miss R. takes us into yet deeper waters. In the mid 1920's, a journalist presented The Diary of Claire Macht to Adler. After studying the material, he offered his comments in a series of eight presentations to an Individual Psychology Association. Originally titled The Technique of Individual Psychology, Volume 1: The Art of Reading a Life-and-Case History, it was first issued in Germany, then translated into English and published in 1929. This autobiographical narrative of a young working-class woman was strikingly frank about her sexual awakening in early twentieth-century Vienna. No doubt shocking to a reader in the 1920's, the sexually explicit material is commonplace in psychological literature today. However, Adler's artful evolution of a unified psychological portrait is compelling to follow, much like watching an artist like Rembrandt at work. He weaves all of the early family influences and social conditions into a beautiful, vivid tapestry.
Volume nine is a "must read" for anyone interested in the art of life style analysis. His remarkable theory springs to life in this superb series of richly varied case histories.
For readers unfamiliar with Adler's ideas, a brief overview, titled "Basic Principles of Classical Adlerian Psychology," is included in the appendix. Other comprehensive articles, titled "Classical Adlerian Theory and Practice" and "A Psychology of Democracy" have been published in Volumes 1 & 2 of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler. A deeper appreciation of the development of Adler's theory can be achieved by studying Volumes 1-9.
Back to Home Page