member of the psychoanalytic group to
break with Freud
•Developed his own society, own journal, new
approach – individual psychology
•The word individual means ‘undivided’- Adler
stressed the importance of seeing people as
wholes as opposed to a series of parts
4. 1.Style of Life
2. Striving for Superiority
Parental Influence on Personality
4. Birth Order
6. Refers to how you live your life, handle
problems and interpersonal relations.
Nowadays called LIFESTYLE!
Developed a typology to illustrate
characteristics under different styles of
Style of Life
7. Getting/Leaning: selfish, no give-just take.
Anti-social with low activity levels
Avoiding: hate being defeated. May be
successful but without risks. Low social
contact, fear of rejection/defeat.
Ruling/Dominant: Strive for power; willing
to manipulate. Prone to anti-social behaviour
Socially Useful: very outgoing and active.
Lots of social contact, strive for the good.
Adler’s Four types of Style of Life
9. Life begins with a sense of inferiority.
This perception of inferiority = lifelong struggle
to overcome such feelings: striving for
Believed striving for superiority was THE
motivating force in life.
Striving for Superiority
10. “I began to see clearly in every
psychological phenomenon the striving for
superiority. It runs parallel to physical
growth and is an intrinsic necessity of life
itself. It lies at the root of all solutions of
life’s problems. All our functions follow its
Adler, in Ansbacher&Ansbacher, 1956, p.103
11. Adler argued that the MORE we perceive
ourselves to be inferior, the stronger our
superiority striving might be.
12. Adler believed the well-adjusted person expresses
the striving for superiority through concern for the
The well adjusted
13. Reflects his strong belief that humans are social creatures
Believed people can be motivated by positive social urges, an
innate instinct which makes community gain a higher priority
than personal gain, where people lower their own needs for
the greater good.
Potential is innate, but needs proper nurturance/ guidance
Believed that marital conflict, unloving relationship etc
hindered development of social interest
According to Adler, a person’s degree of social interest
indicates their psychological health
14. Superiority complex
Other Responses to inferiority
15. These people are poorly adjusted and
expresses through selfishness and a concern
for personal glory at the expense of others.
16. A belief that one is so inferior to everyone else that
the reaction is helplessness rather than motivation
to establish superiority.
Primary inferiority: the original, normal feeling e.g.
physiological difficulties, obstacles
Secondary inferiority: feelings of insufficiency from
adopting an unrealistically
goal – perfection
It is a NEUROSIS
17. Adler also stresses on the concepts of
compensation and overcompensation:
the pursuit of activities that are designed
to make up or overcome the inferiority.
19. Adler placed great emphasis on the role of
parents in the formation of personality.
Two types almost certain to lead to problems:
20. Too much attention and overprotection.
Robs the child of independence stronger
feelings of inferiority basis for adult neurosis.
How to avoid: allow children to be
independent, make a few of their own choices
21. Children who are not given enough
According to Adler, they will grow up cold
and suspicious of others.
Incapable of developing strong
interpersonal relationships inability to
23. First psychologist to outline a theory on the role of
birth order in personality development.
First child = much parental attention and
Second child = first born ‘dethroned’ and attention is
First born = problem children, neurotics
criminals, drunkards and perverts
Middle child = strong superiority striving to surpass
Last borns= spoiled by all members.
Dependent, strong feelings of inferiority.
How do we measure striving for success?
Too anecdotal – does not have generality