Life-Style Assessment/Life-Style Diagnosis
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.
The lifestyle assessment or life-style diagnosis is a structured inquiry into and interpretation of an individual's unique style of living. It is a major psychological assessment tool of Adleriantrained therapists, combining the elements of psychotherapeutic confrontation, challenge, and guidance toward reorientation with diagnosis. The modern assessment inquiry is generally organized in two parts: (a) The family constellation, which includes family atmosphere and values, parental relationship, gender guiding lines, psychological birth-order vantage and sibling relationships, and the challenge of adolescence and gender identity; (b) the early recollections. The assessment interpretations may include three summaries: (a) The summary of the family constellation; (b) the pattern of basic convictions (derived from an interpretation of the early recollections); and (c) an enumeration of basic mistakes or interfering ideas. [See Sibling Rivalry (Competition).]
According to my experience, so far the most trustworthy approaches to the exploration of personality are given in a comprehensive understanding of (1) the earliest childhood recollections, (2) the position of the child in the birth-order, (3) childhood disorders [Organ Inferiority; Overburdening Childhood Situations], (4) day and night dreams, and (5) the nature of the exogenous factor that causes the illness (pp. 327-328).
In a way we are like archeologists who find fragments of earthenware, tools, the ruined walls of buildings, broken monuments, and leaves of papyrus; and from these fragments proceed to infer the life of a whole city which has perished. Only we are dealing . . . with the inter-organized aspects of a human being, a living personality which can continuously set before us new manifestations of its own meaning (p. 332).
For life-style assessment guides, see Adler's original "Interview Guides" (pp. 404-409); Dreikurs, R. (1967), "Guide for Initial Interviews Establishing the life style," pp. 88-90; Eckstein, D., Baruth, L., & Mahrer, D. (1982); Powers, R. L. & Griffith, J. (1995); Shulman, B. H. & Mosak, H. H. (1988).
© 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. 62).
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.
Dreikurs, R. (1967). Psychodynamics, psychotherapy, and counseling. Chicago: Alfred Adler Institute.
Eckstein, D., Baruth, L., & Mahrer, D. (1982). Life style: What it is and how to do it. Dubuque, lA: Kendall-Hall.
Powers, R. L., & Griffith, J. (1995). The Individual Psychology client workbook with supplements. Port Townsend, WA: Adlerian Psychology Associates.
Shulman, B.H. & Mosak, H.H. (1988). Manual for life style assessment. Chicago: Alfred Adler Institute.