Explaining Adlerian Theory in Interviews
Dear Dr. Adler, I consider myself Adlerian, but sometimes have difficulty explaining the theory concisely in interviews with training directors who are unfamiliar with Individual Psychology. How would you approach explaining Adlerian theory to interviewers who identify with different theoretical orientations?
When students are talking about Adler to training directors and other non-Adlerian professionals, use some of the following information. Adlerian psychotherapy has existed for over a century. Most modern forms of psychotherapy are neo-Adlerian and come from Adler’s ideas and not from Freud. Adler’s approach is a positive bio-psycho-social model that is probably most similar to CBT but really goes beyond CBT. The Adlerian approach is one that helps clients resolve their problems by working with their thinking, behavior, feelings, and context (or system). It is through this comprehensive approach that the Adlerian model goes beyond CBT. Adlerians use encouragement and focus upon the clients’ strengths to help them feel better about themselves, increase their hope of bettering their life situations, and wanting to continue in treatment. My training in Adlerian psychology helps me to work as an authentic chameleon in that I am able to change my approach to match what the client needs. I can work with disturbed thinking, systemic (couple, family or workplace) issues, all aspects of emotional issues, or simple behavioral change. As you can tell, most therapists are actually Adlerian with the only question being just how Adlerian. When they are 100% Adlerian like me they can be effective in all situations.