Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washngton

Classical Adlerian Quotes: Creative Power

Developed by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.

The following Classical Adlerian quotations are from the Adlerian Translation Project Archives at the Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington (AAINW/ATP). Selected works of Alfred Adler, Kurt Adler, Lydia Sicher, Alexander Mueller, Sophia de Vries, Anthony Bruck, Erwin Wexberg, Alexander Neuer, Sophie Lazarsfeld, Ida Loewy, Ferdinand Birnbaum, and other Classical Adlerians have been collected, translated, edited, and converted into electronic text. All of this material is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without the expressed consent of Dr. Stein at

Alfred Adler:

"There is a creative power in the psychic life that is identical with the life force itself. This creative power has the capacity to anticipate, which is what it must do, just as looking ahead appears necessary because human beings move. The psychic life means movement and direction with one goal. Because the individual is not isolated, that goal must be designed by a creative force that springs from the urge to overcome the social problems that bar movement." (From "Personality as a Self-Consistent Unity," IZIP, Vol. 10, 1932, a new unpublished translation in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"This creative power is a striving power; this creative power can be seen in different views, in the power of evolution, in the power of life, in the power which accomplishes the goal of an ideal completion to overcome the difficulties of life." (From "The General System of Individual Psychology," an unpublished manuscript in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

Lydia Sicher:

"Adler taught that humans, in contrast to animals, have creative power. The important difference is that animals have no awareness of their own mortality. Humans set goals and attempt to reach them knowing that their time is limited. People have the power to make choices, and this is the one thing that makes human beings really the masters of their destiny, if they will only take the helm. Humans have the power to make wrong choices and to make mistakes. If they have set themselves on a path which leads into a morass (like neurotic persons), there is still the possibility in their creative power to break through the net that they have made themselves. They might need outside help, but it is always possible to do. All people can do differently, they only have to think about it. "

"Only when we can use our creative power to fuse ourselves with something outside of ourselves can we experience knowingly or unknowingly this oneness with the outside world."

(From "The Collected Works of Lydia Sicher: An Adlerian Perspective," edited by Adele Davidson, published by QED Press.)

Alexander Mueller:

"The spiritual human being does not see the world, the living beings, and especially humans, as being complete, but as in a state of constant development. He accepts the fact that humans have already been created, but he also realizes the potential for improvement, for transformation. For the spiritual human being, the world and man are not a static, final product, but a task on which he has to participate in a creative way." (From "You Shall be a Blessing," published by the AAISF.)

"Man is free to realize his possibilities only when, with the help of his intellect and his creative powers, he can turn into a positive force whatever stands in his way, be it physical, psychic, or social." (From "Principles of Individual Psychology" an unpublished manuscript in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"It takes courage, and in all cases defiance, to change an originally formulated lifestyle. Very few people practice self-contemplation and correct their behavior. The striving to see the world as it is, is generally weak and only conflicts resulting from mistaken views can force or affect a change. In early childhood, the freedom to form an attitude is restricted. In later years it is possible to overcome that restriction - but by then most refrain from doing so. Therefore, man remains more the object than the subject of his lifestyle. Time and again he will renounce his freedom, his creative powers, in favor of an established way of life." (From "Principles of Individual Psychology," an unpublished manuscript in the AAINW/ATP archives.)

Sophia de Vries:

"The creative power with which the child is born can be so strong, that it finds a way out that nobody has thought about." (From a transcribed, tape recorded interview of Sophia de Vries on 1-27-86, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"The creative use in one's capacities is what has to be promoted. In children, you have to help them to use their creativity to solve difficult situations." (From a transcribed, tape recorded seminar given by Sophia de Vries on 7-16-76, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

"People within the grip of a rigid style of life keep repeating that same pattern all the time. So, the more people live in a creative way, the fewer habit patterns they have." (From a transcribed, tape recorded interview of Sophia de Vries on 5-3-80, in the AAINW/ATP Archives.)

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