Dissertation
Dissertation > Philosophy, religion > Psychology > Psychological theory > Of psychology factions and their research

Thought Pedigree and Theoretical Construction of Individual Psychology

Author LiuJiang
Tutor GeLuJia
School Jilin University
Course Philosophy of Science and Technology
Keywords Individual Psychology Alfred Adler Thought Pedigree Theoretical Standpoint Theory Structure Theoretical Response
CLC B84-06
Type PhD thesis
Year 2012
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Individual Psychology is a psychological system founded by Alfred Adler(1870-1937)who was a great psychologist from Austria. Individual Psychology isnot only one kind of personality theory, but also is a kind of therapeutive approach.Individual Psychology thought mainly exists in Adler’s major works. Past studies aregenerally put Adler’s Individual Psychology as a transition between Freud and itssuccessors. This study analyzes the thought pedigree and theoretical construction ofIndividual Psychology from the point of view of history and logic. It is suggested thatthe Individual Psychology as an independent and unified system.First of all, this study explores Adler’s Individual Psychology’s developmentprocess and train of thought. Individual Psychology is closely related to its founderAdler’s special life course. Adler’s Individual Psychology has a strong personalcharacteristics,There is a very close connection between his theory, his lifeexperience, and his work practice. In a manner of speaking, Individual Psychology isthe portrayal of Adler’s real life course. In other words, Adler had experienced andpracticed his Individual Psychology in person. The evolution process of Adler’sacademic ideas and theories may be divided into five basic stage of development. Thefirst stage is the social medical theory stage (1898-1906), The second stage is theIndividual Psychology preparation (1907-1911) , The third stage is the IndividualPsychology of the start-up rate (1912-1917), The fourth stage is the completion ofIndividual Psychology (1918-1930), The fifth stage is the development and updatingthe late (1931-1937). The generation of Individual Psychology isn’t just a pureacademic event, the new view is the very product of social historical conditionsincluding economic, political, cultural setting. Individual Psychology is seemingly"simple", which has a complex thoughts source. Adler has consciously or unconsciously put some different thought into his Individual Psychology, So as toform the Individual Psychology "Mosaic". The formation of the IndividualPsychology also benefited from the influence and inspiration of many other thinkersand ideological trends, such as Sigmund Freud(1856-1939), Friedrich WilhelmNietzsche(1844-1900), Henri Bergson(1859-1941), Hans Vaihinge(r1852—1933),Evolutionism, Pragmatism, Marxism, etc.Secondly, The study illustrates theoretical standpoints in Individual Psychology.The term“Individual”of Individual Psychology in Latin means indivisible. Man isregarded as inseparable organic whole, every agencies to cooperate to the commonideal and goal which human beings have been pursuing. Holism and finalism(teleology) are the two main methodological principles, which are also the basictheoretical standpoint standpoints in Individual Psychology.Thirdly, this study establishes a Theory structure of Individual Psychology.Adler’s Individual Psychology is a theory of the whole. In order to understand andgrasp the basic theory structure of Individual Psychology, The Individual Psychologysystem is divided into "inferiority-superiority" theory, "Life Style" theory,"Community Feeling" theory, concerning this three part of the study. In fact, the threeparts are not very different theory levels, they constitutes a organic whole together asIndividual Psychology. Individual Psychology’s "Inferiority-Superiority" theory isused to explain the main body personality or subjective dynamics problems.Inferiority is the starting point of the personality dynamics, Inferiority compensationand striving for Superiority are the subjective dynamical mechanism of the personalitydevelopment. "Inferiority-Superiority" theory is a bottom-up, minus-pluspsychodynamic theory. Individual Psychology’s "Life Style" theory is made torepresent individual Whole personality including self and action. Life Style originatesin interaction between heredity, environment and individual the creative power.According to Adler’s Individual Psychology, Early Memory, Birth Order and theInterpretation of the Dream are the three " gateways" the mental life, which can be useto reveal the origin and development of Life Style. Man is not only striving forpersonal Superiority goals, but also for the others’and community’s interests, feelings and actions. On this basis, "Community Feeling" theory is put forward to understandpeople’s Life Style and ideal personality. Community Feeling can be defined as anattitude of relatedness with humanity in general as well as empathy for each memberof the human community. It manifests itself as cooperation with others for socialadvancement rather than for personal gain. Community Feeling is the naturalcondition of the human species and the adhesive that binds society together. Socialinterest is rooted as potentiality in everyone, but it must be developed before it cancontribute to a useful style of life. It originates from the mother-child relationshipduring the early months of infancy. The father is a second important person in achild’s social environment. Social interest was Adler’s yardstick for measuringpsychological health and is thus“the sole criterion of human values”.Fourthly, this study examines the theoretical application of IndividualPsychology. Individual Psychology is a kind of applied psychological theory, Whichwas created in Adler’s clinical practice. Adler has also applied Individual Psychologyto many fields of human life, especially in the psychotherapy, religion, education, etc.In the field of psychotherapy, Individual Psychology is a kind of open and flexibletreatment approach, which has the distinct comprehensive, open, the short-rangecharacteristics. About religion,Some features of Individual Psychology were appliedto the religious world in Adler’s later academic and professional years. From theviewpoint of Individual Psychology, the contemplation of a deity is a concretization ofthe idea of perfection, greatness and superiority, which has been obvious in man’sthinking and feeling since time immemorial. Various Relationships in religiousactivities are the sanctification of human relations. As For Education, Adler said,Individual Psychology and education is the two aspects of the same question or reality.The interaction and cooperation between family and school, parents and teachers inchildren education should be stressed in Adler’s Individual Psychology. Parents cancomplement the shortage of the school education, teachers may correct the deficiencyof family education.Finally, this study explores various theoretical responses to IndividualPsychology. Adler’s profound insights in Individual Psychology are far ahead of his time. The emphasis on subjective cognitive factors, social and cultural factors makeshim successfully foresee the development trend of contemporary psychology. Adler’sIndividual Psychology had imposed important influence on Psychoanalysis,Humanism Psychology .has produced important influence. Adler’s ideas wereabsorbed and adopted by Sigmund Freud(1856-1939),Karen Horney(1885-1952),Harry Stack Sullivan(1892~1949). The basis premises of humanistic psychology areessentially the same as Adler’s Individual Psychology. All three leading cofounders ofHumanistic Psychology, Abraham Maslow(1908-1970), Rollo May(1909-1994),and Carl Roger(1902-1987)s, actually studied with Adler in Vienna or New Yorkearly in their careers and increasingly appreciated what they had learned from him,especially in their later years. Individual Psychology’s some ideas are got effectiveresponse in contemporary psychology thoughts, such as the cultural turn, feminism incontemporary psychology thoughts. Adler is the pioneer of feminist psychology.According to Adler,“women are inferior to men”is a kind of“Civilization mistake”.Individual Psychology contains some feminist perspectives, which claim genderequality and promote cooperation between men and women. Individual Psychologyadvocates social-cultural forces and mental agency is a dialectical whole, this claim ofIndividual Psychology is embodied in contemporary psychology of the "culturalturn" trend.

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