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Flashcards in Adler's Individual Psychology Deck (65):

Adler's theory of personality; focused on the uniqueness of each person and denied the universality of biological motives and goals.

Individual Psychology


To Adler, the normal condition of all people; the source of all human striving

Inferiority Feelings
Adler believed that inferiority feelings are always present as a motivating force in behavior.


To Adler, a motivation to overcome inferiority, to strive for higher levels of development

Individual growth results from compensation, from our attempts to overcome our real or imagined inferiorities.


A condition that develops when a person is unable to compensate for normal inferiority feelings

Inferiority Complex
People with an inferiority complex have a poor opinion of themselves and feel helpless and unable to cope with the demands of life.


3 sources in childhood from which an inferiority can arise

1. Organic Inferiority (defective parts or organs of the body)
2. Spoiling (pampering, satisfying every need or whim)
3. Neglect (lack of love and security)


A condition that develops when a person overcompensates for normal inferiority feelings; involves an exaggerated opinion of one's abilities and accomplishments

Superiority Complex


The urge toward perfection or completion that motivates each of us

Striving for Superiority
Superiority is the ultimate goal toward which we strive. What Adler meant of this was a drive for perfection. Adler suggested that we strive for superiority to perfect ourselves, to make ourselves complete or whole.


The idea that there is an imagined or potential goal that guides our behavior

Fictional Finalism
Adler preferred the terms "subjective final goal" or "guiding self-ideal"


TRUE OR FALSE: Unlike Freud, Adler did not believe that our sole motivation was to reduce tension. Striving for perfection required great expenditures of energy and effort. And the striving for superiority is manifested both by the individual and by society.



A unique character structure or pattern of personal behaviors and characteristics by which each of us strives for perfection

Style of life


The ability to create an appropriate style of life

Creative Power of the Self


Enumerate the 3 universal problems according to Adler

1. Problems involving our behavior toward others
2. Problems of occupation
3. Problems of love


Identify the 4 basic styles of life for dealing with these problems

1. Dominant Type (dominant or ruling attitude with litle social awareness)
2. Getting Type (dependent on others)
3. Avoiding Type (no attempt to face life's problems)
4. Socially Useful Type (cooperates with others)


According to Adler, what is the cause of abnormal behavior?

Clash between style of life and the real world, manifested in neuroses and psychoses


Our innate potential to cooperate with other people to achieve personal and societal goals

Social Interest
from German term 'Gemeinschaftsgefuhl' or 'community feeling'


One of Adler's most enduring contributions is the idea that __ is a major social influence in childhood, one from which we create our style of life.

Order of Birth


Adler believed that __ take an unusual interest in maintaining order and authority. They become good organizers, conscientious and scrupulous about detail, authoritarian and conservative in attitude.



TRUE OR FALSE: Adler liked to use humor in his therapy, sometimes teasing his patients in a light-hearted, friendly way.



Adler's primary methods of assessment

Order of Birth
Early Recollections
Dream Analysis


Adler's purpose in assessing personality was to discover the patient's __ and to determine whether it was the most appropriate one for that person.

Style of Life


A personality assessment technique in which our earliest memories, whether of real events of fantasies, are assumed to reveal the primary interest of our life

Early Recollections
(According to Adler, our personality is created during the first four or five years of life.)


How did Adler view the dreams of his patients?

Adler believed that dreams involve our feelings about a current problem and what we intend to do about it.


Identify the most common measures for Adlerian concepts

Social Interest Scale
Social Interest Index
Basic Adlerian Scales for Interpersonal Success


4 types of pampering in childhood according to research



Identify specific Adlerian concepts of lasting importance to psychology

Early work on organic inferiority
Inferiority complex
Order of bith


Who primarily developed Adlerian counseling techniques?

Rudolph Dreikurs


__ are the source of all human striving, which results from our attempts to compensate for these feelings.

Inferiority Feelings


Inferiority feelings are universal and are determined by the infant's __ and __ on adults.

Helplessness and dependency


__ (that is, an inability to solve life's problems) results from being unable to compensate for inferiority feelings.

Inferiority Complex


An inferiority complex can originate in childhood through __, __ or __.

Organic inferiority, spoiling or neglect


__ (an exaggerated opinion of one's abilities and accomplishments) results from __.

Superiority Complex; Overcompensation


Our ultimate goal, according to Adler, is __; that is making the personality whole or complete.

Superiority or perfection


__ refers to unique patterns of characteristics and behaviors by which we strive for perfection.

Style of life


__ refers to fictional ideas, such as perfection, that guide our behavior.

Fictional Finalism


The __ refers to our ability to create our selves from the materials provided by our heredity and environment.

Creative Power of the Self


__ is innate but the extent to which it is realized depends on early social experiences.

Social Interest


Presents an optimistic view of people while resting heavily on the notion of social interest, that is, a feeling of oneness with all humankind

Alfred Adler's Individual Psychology


Identify major differences between Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology

1. Freud reduced all motivation to sex and aggression; Adler saw people as being motivated mostly by social influences and by their striving for superiority or success
2. Freud assumed people have little or no choice in shaping their personality; Adler believed people are largely responsible for who they are
3. Freud assumed that present behavior is caused by past experiences; Adler believed that it is shaped by people's view of the future
4. Freud placed very heavy emphasis on unconscious components of behavior; Adler believed that psychologically healthy people are usually aware of what and why they are doing


A weak and sickly boy at age 5 (had rickets and nearly died of pneumonia) so at that age he decided that his goal in life would be to conquer death

Alfred Adler


To Adler, people are born with weak, inferior bodies -- a condition that leads to __

Inferiority Feelings


To Adler, the one dynamic force behind people's behavior is the __

Striving for success or superiority


To Adler, people's __ shape their behavior and personality

Subjective perceptions


To Adler, personality is __ and __.

Unified and Self-consistent


To Adler, the value of all human activity must be seen from the viewpoint of __.

Social interest


To Adler, the self-consistent personality develops into a person's __.

Style of life


To Adler, style of life is molded by __, using the raw materials provided by __ and __.

Creative power; Heredity and environment


People who strive for personal superiority over others are __ while people who are motivated by highly developed social interest are __.

Striving for superiority; Striving for success


When an individual's __ is known, all actions make sense and each subgoal takes on new significance.

Final Goal


People who strive for superiority with little or no concern for others and who have personal goals and strivings motivated largely by exaggerated feelings of personal inferiority have __.

Inferiority Complex


Ideas that have no real existence, yet they influence people as if they really existed

(ex. "Men are superior to women"; "Humans have a free will that enables them to make choices"; "God rewards good and punishes evil")


Adler adopted a __ view, one in which people are motivated by present perceptions of the future.



Adler insisted that the whole human race is "blessed" with __, or physical handicaps that have little or no importance by themselves but become meaningful when they stimulate feelings of inferiority, which serve as an impetus toward __ or __.

Organ Inferiorities; Perfection or Completion


In choosing the term __, Adler wished to stressed his belief that each person is unique and indivisible.

Individual Psychology


Through __, the body's organs speak a language which is usually more expressive and discloses the individual's opinion more clearly than words are able to do

Organ Dialect


Roughly means a feeling of oneness with all humanity; an attitude of relatedness with humanity in general as well as an empathy for each member of the human community

Gemeinschaftsgefuhl / Social feeling / Community Feeling / Social Interest
(it originates from the mother-child relationship during the early months of infancy)


Adler believed that after age __, the effects of heredity become blurred by the powerful influence of the child's social environment. By this time, environmental forces have modified or shaped nearly every aspect of a child's personality.



Adler's yardstick for measuring psychological health and is thus the sole criterion of human values

Social Interest


A person's goal, self-concept, feelings for others and attitude toward the world; term Adler used to refer to the flavor of a person's life

Style of life
(a product of the interaction of heredity, environment and a person's creative power; it is well established by age 4 or 5)


To Adler, the 3 major problems of life

Neighborly love
Sexual Love


A dynamic concept implying movement; places people in control of their lives, responsible for their final goal, determines their method of striving for that goal and contributes to the development of social interest

Creative Power


To Adler, the one factor underlying all types of maladjustments; identify the common characteristics

Underdeveloped Social Interest;
Set their goals too high; Live in their own private world; Have a rigid and dogmatic style of life


Identify 3 contributing factors to abnormality according to Adler

1. Exaggerated physical deficiencies
2. Pampered style of life
3. Neglected style of life


According to Adler, these protective devices that operate consciously and enable neurotic people to hide their inflated self-image and to maintain their current style of life; identify the 3 major types and subtypes

Safeguarding Tendencies
1. Excuses (most common)
2. Aggression
(2.a) Depreciation (undervalue other people's achievements and overvalue one's own)
(2.b) Accusation (blame others for one's failures and seek revenge)
(2.c) Self-Accusation (self-torture and guilt)
3. Withdrawal
(3.a) Moving backward (psychological reverting to a more secure period of life)
(3.b) Standing still (do not move in any direction)
(3.c) Hesitating (procrastination, compulsive behaviors)
(3.d) Constructing obstacles


To Adler, a condition characterized by the overemphasis on the importance of being manly

Masculine Protest
(results from cultural and social influences)


Identify applications of individual psychology

Family Constellation (birth order, gender of siblings, age spread between them)
Early Recollections (consistent with present style of life)
Dreams (provide clues for solving future problems)
Psychotherapy (goal is to enhance courage, lessens feelings of inferiority and encourage social interest)