Alfred Adler Revisited

Alfred Adler Revisited

Alfred Adler Revisited

Alfred Adler Revisited


Alfred Adler was one of the most influential thinkers in psychotherapy a physician, psychiatrist, author, and professor who wanted to answer the questions that plagued people during a significant time in history. His original ideas serve as a foundation for most modern theories of counseling and psychotherapy, ideas and writings that are brought back to life in this volume. Within, contemporary experts comment and introduce Adler's work through the lens of the 21st century. In doing so, they pay tribute to, analyze, and disseminate his classic, seminal papers that have significantly impacted the therapy field.
The 23 papers included were chosen because of their relevance to today's issues, and their importance in Adlerian theory and practice. They detail the core elements of his theory, the tactics he used to advocate change in individuals and systems, and emphasize how contemporary his ideas are. Alfred Adler Revisited not only plays homage to a great professional, it revives his ideas and encourages debate over fundamental human issues."


Alfred Adler’s paper “The Progress of Mankind” was originally published in 1937. For Adlerians, this is a memorable year as it is the last year he edited the International Journal of Individual Psychology and the year his body was laid to rest. As I read this paper, I couldn’t help but wonder if Adler somehow knew that his final minutes were fast approaching. Although the main focus of this paper is on how social interest is connected to the continued evolution of man and society Adler touched on the philosophical question of what man leaves behind after death. Regarding the motivations and striving of previous generations with adequate social interest, he stated, “This is the inheritance from our forebears which falls to us for administration. It is their contribution in which their spirit lives on immortally after the body has fallen.” For those who have not pondered or questioned the importance of social connection and decided to follow the useless trail of life, he wondered, “What happened to the earthly life of those who contributed nothing, or who interfered with the developmental process? The answer is: It has disappeared. Nothing from their lives can be found.”

Although I recognize the above may be a tad melodramatic, the underlying message is very real and serious. The message is one that Adler put forth in almost all of his writings since his “split” with Freud; man can only find meaning and purpose and society can only progress within the context of social collaboration, which includes working toward similar goals.

How can this permanently fixed tenant of Adler’s theory be placed into a contemporary context? Consider the current state of affairs of the United States.

At the time of this writing, the United States is dealing with several crises. The economy is at its lowest point in decades, the eventual design and functionality of health care is uncertain, and a colossal oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens the solvency of an entire section of the country and the survival of a delicate

The author chose to focus on the United States as the example of how democracy can be strengthened by social interconnectedness and collaboration. This was due to space and time limitations. Without question, the leadership of other countries could have been used.

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