Maybell Memos: Why Adlerian Psychology has not been more recognized

Steven A. Maybell, PhD

  1. Adler’s Personality – Was far more interested in making a contribution by getting out ideas that were useful than getting recognition for them.
  2. Freud’s Rejection – Demanded that his followers not credit or reference Adler. So far ahead of its time it was perceived as “Unscientific – Due to its holistic, phenomenological and “value oriented” “philosophical” emphasis and lack of “scientific” jargon.
  3. Adler’s emphasis on training non-medical professionals and lay-persons, (e.g. counselors, social workers, teachers, parents, the public, etc.)
  4. It’s Place in History – “Neo-Freudian” therefore rejected by Freudians and Non-Freudians alike.
  5. Introduction of new and controversial modalities, e.g. family counseling, public forum counseling (violation of confidentiality).
  6. Since so many have knowingly or unknowingly “borrowed” from the Adlerian model, to give recognition now is to admit ones’ lack of originality (at best) or plagiarism (at worst). Now, so many theories and models are more similar than not to Adlerian concepts and principles, the attitude frequently is, “What’s the big deal?”
  7. “Threatening” Concepts and Principles:
    1. Social Equality: No one to be superior to, including women, children and clients.
    2. Responsibility and Self-Determination – No one to blame.
  8. Difficult in Application – e.g. the challenge and effort involved in understanding a client uniquely and holistically vs. the ease of fitting a person into a diagnostic label.
  9. ln English, the term “Individual Psychology” lends itself to distortion and misunderstanding.

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