Individual Psychology: How Effective It is?


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In the world of psychology, there are a variety of theories and treatments that have been developed over the years. One particular approach that has gained popularity in recent times is known as individual psychology. Proponents of this method claim that it is highly effective in helping people overcome issues and achieve personal growth. But is this really the case? In this article, we will take a closer look at individual psychology and examine the evidence for its efficacy.

What Is Individual Psychology?

Individual Psychology is the psychological method founded by Alfred Adler, which, aside from psychoanalysis, puts more focus on sociality and dignity.

Does individual psychology reject Freudian ideas?

There is no one answer to this question because it depends on which specific Freudian ideas are being discussed. There is a great deal of debate within the field of psychology about how much of Freud’s work still holds up today, and there are many psychological theories that have been developed in the years since Freud’s death that diverge significantly from his ideas. However, there are also many psychologists who still find value in Freud’s work, and his influence can be seen in many contemporary psychological theories.

The ability to capture the elusive artistic force that is uncovered by the tendency to create, to exert, and to work, which is concealed in the nature of life, has arisen from the desire to reconcile failure in a certain area with the achievement to be gained in another field.

The purpose of individual psychology is to ensure the adaptation of the individual to society. The individuality here refers to the fact that personality is indivisible and unique apart from the word meaning. Of course, these discourses do not imply that sociality is insignificant. Basically, what is aimed at is that the individual fuses with society and becomes an “individual.”

Accordingly, while other psychology systems distinguish between individual and social psychology, Adler does not make such a distinction. Adler does not include too many abstract concepts in his individual psychology approach. Using clear language in his writings, he explained issues such as methods of solving a person, raising children, communication, and improving the quality of life.

Adler says that it is important to examine a person as a whole to understand it. Human behavior takes place for a purpose. The individual determines his lifestyle according to his goals. According to Adler, the main purpose of individual psychology is the social harmony of the individual. However, the individual emphasis in Adler’s theory is often misunderstood.

Adler emphasizes the uniqueness and indivisibility of personality. He argues that personality occurs in the first 5 years of life. It also participates in the idea of ​​child sexuality, but according to Adler, this is a differentiated form of superiority effort. It rejects development periods. Adler mostly emphasized concepts such as social interest, inferiority, or superiority complex.

According to Adler, as it was said before, the individual comes to the world with inadequate feelings. And the process of getting rid of it creates an effort for superiority. In other words, the source of the superiority effort is feelings of inadequacy.

According to Adler, the main driving force of each individual is will. However, when this driving force is blocked by some external or internal struggle, people tend to develop a complex called “inferiority complex.” This is a sense of inadequacy derived from experiences and the environment. To compensate for this situation, the individual develops a “superiority complex.” This includes disproportionately high perception and sense of hearing.

In these cases, the balancing process leads to two available options. First, the individual compensates for his inferiority feeling by developing new potential. The other is that the person is trapped with a sense of inferiority and develops an unhealthy superiority complex. This makes them cynicism, frustrated, indifferent, and even violent.

While psychoanalysis suggests that the individual is in a war between his impulses and society; individual psychology advocates that the individual has an innate potential to communicate with other people. This phenomenon is called social interest. With different meanings in translation, it is possible to express social interest in the form of social emotion.

The reflection of the structure that Freud calls superego in individual psychology. Basically, it can be described as “giving importance to the individual’s position in the social environment”. Expressing that the individual is a social entity with the concept of social interest, Adler, a person who wants to understand the individual, argues that the individual should also examine the relations in the sociocultural environment.

Individual psychology has suggested that social interest is a criterion for assessing a person’s mental health. Therefore, according to Adler, neither the superego nor collective unconscious is needed for healthy personality development. What is needed is social interest and it is the only criterion that can be used in the universal evaluation of humans. In this respect, it is argued that the value of human life can be measured by what it adds to others’ lives.

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Aaron Beck

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About Author

He is studying psychology in Canada. Lucas also volunteers helping elderly people in nursing homes. Lucas, who is especially interested in hypnotherapy, continues his education and research in this field.

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