Felt Minus and Felt (Fictional) Plus
Note: Page numbers enclosed in parentheses are citations from The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A systematic presentation in selections from his writings. (H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, Eds.). © 1964, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Used by permission of Perseus Books Group.
Felt minus and felt plus are Adler's shorthand terms for the inferiority feeling and its compensations. The felt minus describes the universally-experienced inferiority feelings of incompleteness, of being below, of being in a position of "less than" the others, or less than what life requires or allows.
Adler's felt plus is more accurately understood as a fictional plus, that is, a subjectively-constructed (hence fictional) image of maturity, mastery, completion, fulfillment, or perfection which the individual strives to attain in his or her struggle to move away from the felt minus situation toward the fictional plus personality ideal.
The impetus from minus to plus never ends. The urge from below to above never ceases (p. 103).
The whole of human life proceeds along this great line of action — from below to above, from minus to plus, from defeat to victory (p. 255).
© Griffith, J., & Powers, R. L. (2007). The Lexicon of Adlerian Psychology: 106 terms Associated with the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler (2nd ed.). Port Townsend, WA: Adlerian Psychology Associates (p. 39).
Definitions of concepts are used by permission of Jane Griffith. A comprehensive list of concepts and definitions can be found in The Lexicon of Adlerian Psychology: 106 Terms Associated with the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler by Jane Griffith and Robert L. Powers, available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Felt Minus and Felt (Fictional) Plus (PDF file for enlarged view)