Compatibility of the Relationship of Early Recollections and Life Style with Parent Schemas Obtained through Adlerian Interviews

By Canel, Azize Nilgün | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, June 2016 | Go to article overview

Compatibility of the Relationship of Early Recollections and Life Style with Parent Schemas Obtained through Adlerian Interviews


Canel, Azize Nilgün, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Several psychology theories have underlined the impact of childhood experiences on the rest of one's life, indicating that these early recollections and experiences have a lasting effect on the years that follow. The impact of early life events on an individual during subsequent years, even its relationship to potential psychological problems, continues to be the subject of much research. In particular, relationships established in one's immediate environment and related early recollections can influence in many aspects one's tendency towards depression, trust in life, tendency to create close relationships with others, anger, and so on (Matos, Gouveia, & Duarte, 2015; Richter, Gilbert, & McEwan, 2009). In recent years, research particularly in neuroscience has revealed that qualifying interactions created with caregivers in early development have a significant impact on the neurological development of the brain (Panksepp, 1998). The research shows that there is a positive relationship between recalling parental behaviors and recollecting positive emotional memories; in fact, positive emotional recollections are predictors in psychopathology (Richter et al., 2009). Similarly, memories of being neglected, rejected, and embarrassed, or experiences of being abused and criticized in early childhood impair brain development and lead to reactions of stress by triggering anxiety and fear in an individual (Eisenberger, 2011; Gilbert, Cheung, Grandfield, Campey, & Irons, 2003; Perry, 2002).

As one of the theoreticians who emphasized the importance of early childhood experiences, as well as establishing a system to handle early childhood memories, Adler believed that one's perceptions of early childhood experiences also have an important impact on the rest of one's life (Jones-Smith, 2014). Instead of the individual's experiences and others' behaviors in recollected events, focusing instead on the individual's perceptions regarding these experiences provides many more clues. For example, while an individual might perceive his parents as negligent but is able to overcome this situation, another individual might recollect his parents' kindness but still have a feeling of not belonging (Gilbert et al., 2003). According to Adler, everyone develops a life plan by 5 or 6 years of age, and this plan (called life style) guides one's entire life, including the perceptions of the world and one's actions (Jones-Smith, 2014).

Having integrated content, this life style involves information about how to deal with the self, handle problems, and carry out interpersonal relations (Bienenfeld, 2005). Life style is a major key to behavior. It contains one's goals, self-opinions, world-opinions, and the habitual behaviors used to achieve desired outcomes. An individual's view of self, others, and the universe forms a personal filter for all future experiences (Jones-Smith, 2014).

In general, the experiences involved in early recollections seem to be associated with the tendencies that are dominant in one's current life. Early recollections present one with a life story that is continuously recurring and leads to stimulating or relieving effects at times; it sometimes inspires and helps one focus on life goals and face the future through a currently tried structure under the light of the past (Barrett, 1980; Kaplan, 1985; Maree, 2013). Cochran (cited in Maree, 2013, p. 5) stated that one or more of an individual's early recollections present the first prototypes of one's life scenario. For instance, if the first narrative contains danger or punishment, this can lead to lifetime of hostile feelings in the individual. Early recollection regarding the birth of a new sibling can give one a feeling of losing the throne (Jones-Smith, 2014). Adlerian therapy regards clients' early recollections as their primary instrument of assessment. Basically, clients are asked to think back as far as possible and talk about their early recollections, their age at the time, what kind of an event it was, and their feelings regarding this event. …

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