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.
Courage is here understood as the willingness to act in line with community feeling (social interest) in any situation. It is fundamental to successful adaption. To encourage is to promote and activate the community feeling, that is, the sense of belonging, value, worthwhileness, and welcome in the human community. As the loss of courage, or discouragement, is understood by Individual Psychology to be the basis of mistaken and dysfunctional behavior, so encouragement is a major part of Adlerian Psychotherapy and counseling.
The discouraged person has the same goal as the person with courage: to triumph over the inferiority feeling and to be seen as successful and worthy of respect in the human world. However, he or she lacks the courage to operate on the useful side of life, in the fear of being exposed as deficient. The movement toward success is then deflected toward finding a place of personal superiority over others, a movement on the useless side, marked by pretense, evasion, distance, and posturing in neurotic, sociopathic, or psychotic processes and operations.
The aim of Individual Psychology treatment is always to increase an individual’s courage to meet the problems of life (p. 362).
Courage is but one side of social interest (p. 342).
We can understand by courage one side of cooperation (p. 437).
Only the activity of an individual who plays the game, cooperates, and shares in life can designated as courage (p. 166).
In every step of the treatment, we must not deviate from the path of encouragement. This is in accordance with the conviction of Individual Psychology, by which so much untenable vanity feels offended, that “everybody can do everything” with the exception of amazingly high achievement, about the structure of which we cannot say very much anyway (p. 342).
Neurosis and psychosis are modes of expression for human beings who have lost courage (p. 343).
All mistaken answers [to the tasks of life] are degrees of an infinite series of failures or abnormalities, or of the attempts of more or less discouraged people to solve their life-problems without the use of cooperation or social interest (p. 299).
The whole outlook [of the criminal] is conditioned by a socially useless goal, just as the selection of that goal is conditioned by a lack of courage (p. 140).
© 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. 20).
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.