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Individual Psychology

  Individual Psychology is the name of the work of Alfred Adler. His was a pragmatic, concrete psychology, based on principles and methods for the acquisition of practical knowledge about our environment. Adler\'s principle of unity assumes the indivisibility of the mind/body relationship. His principle of dynamism emphasizes the aim and intentionality of psychic processes and goals. We are free to choose, but determined insomuch as choices are self-imposed laws. Adler put forward the principle of cosmic influence: man cannot be considered separate from the thousands of universal influences and, following on from that, community feeling is a reflection of this. His definition of community was familial and social ties, creative activities and ethical function; these feelings can extend to plants and animals, inanimate things and the universe.

A further principle was that of the spontaneous structuring of parts in a whole, that is, that the mind organizes itself according to individual goals. Every aspect of mind, including memories, fantasies, dreams, perceptions and sensations does this. His principle of action and reaction between the individual and the environment described how the individual constantly adjusts and readjusts to the environment. His law of absolute truth describes a fictitious norm of optimal balance between the needs of the individual and those of the many varied communities; this was the unattainable goal for which we strive psychologically. MJ

Further reading Alfred Adler, In Freud\'s Shadow; , P.E. Stepansky, Adler in Context.



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