Influences/Neo-Adlerian Approaches

Freud, Jung and Adler are considered the founders of modern psychotherapy, yet it is strange to note that Freud and Jung seemed to have maintained “fame” and name recognition while Adler is not as prominent. However, Adler’s ideas, unlike Freud and Jung’s, seem to be the ones that have lasted and comprise the core ingredients of most major approaches to psychotherapy. Although his name has faded into the background, his ideas have remained at the forefront. He has become one of the most influential and yet unacknowledged psychologists in the field of psychotherapy.

Adler’s ideas are at the heart of most of the contemporary or Neo-Freudian approaches (e.g., Horney, Sullivan, Fromm, etc.) to helping. There was actually so much similarity between Adlerian and Neo-Freudian approaches that several scholars have suggested that these approaches should correctly be called neo-Adlerian. Most of the leading contemporary psychotherapy approaches stress social relations and not just biological factors, striving for self-actualization and not being driven by the sex instinct; a subjective rather than objective approach to helping; and the power of the present rather than the impact of early experiences. Alfred Adler stressed the importance of the relationship and using empathy as a key strategy for helping. Adler’s approach is at the root of cognitive behavioral, family, existential, phenomenological, schema, humanistic and person-centered approaches.

  • Students enrolled in a Neo-Adlerian course at Adler University created most of the initial content in this section. These entries/papers/video presentations are considered "works in progress" or "working papers" and edits/suggestions for expanding the ideas presented or critiques are encouraged. Please consider adding suggestions in the discussion areas.
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