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On the origin of striving for superiority and social interest.

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On the Origin of the
Striving for Superiority and
of Social Interest (1933)
R E. W
Adler died in 1937 having created a personality theory and approach to therapy
so far ahead of its time that many contemporary psychological approaches are
only now “discovering” many of Adler’s fundamental conclusions, but typically
without reference to or acknowledgment of Adler (Watts, 1999). In reading his
1933 paper “On the Origin of Striving for Superiority and Social Interest,” one
can see the contemporary relevance of Adler’s thinking in several streams of
psychological thinking. In particular, I would like to address Adler’s thoughts
on striving and gemeinschasgefuhl (community feeling/social interest) as evinc-
ing Adlerian psychology’s position as arguably the rst positive psychology in the
20th century. Prochaska and Norcross (2010), echoing Ellenberger (1970), stated
that many of “Adler’s ideas have quietly permeated modern psychological think-
ing, oen without notice. It would not be easy to nd another author from which
so much as been borrowed from all sides without acknowledgment than Alfred
Adler” (p. 91). is appears particularly true in the positive psychology move-
ment. Adlerian ideas are replete in the positive psychology literature, but there is
no substantive mention of Adler or Adlerian psychology. In this brief introduc-
tion addressing the contemporary relevance of Adler’s ideas, I will rst address
striving for perfection or superiority, next gemeinschasgefuhl, and nally the
remarkable common ground between Adler’s ideas and the contemporary posi-
tive psychology.
Striving for Perfection or SuPeriority
Adler’s understanding of “striving” evolved over time and he used various words
like completion, mastery, perfection, and superiority to describe how humans seek
42 RICHA RD E. WATTS
to move from “the present situation, as observed and interpreted, to a better one,
one that was superior to the present status” (Manaster & Corsini, 1982, p. 41).
According to Adler, the central human directionality is toward competence or
self-mastery, what Adler called striving for perfection or superiority. is is the
individual’s creative and compensatory answer to the normal and universal feel-
ings of insignicance and disempowerment, and the accompanying beliefs that
one is less than what one should be (i.e., feelings of inferiority). us, striving for
perfection or superiority is the natural human desire to move from a perceived
negative position to a perceived positive one.
is concept of striving or teleological/teleonomical movement is seen in
the writings of various personality theorists including Kurt Goldstein, Karen
Horney, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, Otto Rank, Carl Rogers, and Robert White
(Jorgensen & Nafstad, 2004; Manaster & Corsini, 1982). One can nd similar
ideas in various contemporary theoretical perspectives, including constructivist,
evolutionary, and positive psychologies (Linley & Joseph, 2004; Mahoney, 2003;
Rasmussen, 2010; Snyder, Lopez, & Pedrotti, 2011). For example, in discussing
happiness and human potential, Ryan and Deci (2001) described optimal func-
tioning and development as “the striving for perfection that represents the real-
ization of one’s true potential” (p. 144).
All of the aforementioned personality theorists agree with Adler that humans
are striving, seeking to actualize potential, and in the process of “becoming,”
and most of the theories created by these theorists are listed as early exemplars of
positive psychology in that literature. Adler’s theory, however, is not found in the
various lists; the positive psychology literature typically lists Maslow and Rogers
as the earliest exemplars, even though Adler clearly preceded both in his formu-
lation of an optimistic, growth-oriented psychology.
gemeinSchaftSgefuhl (community feeling/Social intereSt)
Adlerian psychology is a relational theory. It asserts that humans are socially
embedded and that knowledge is relationally distributed. Adler stressed that per-
sons cannot be properly understood apart from their social context. Consequently,
the Adlerian perspective on the tasks of life—love, society, work, spirituality, and
self—is a strongly relational one. ese tasks of life address intimate love rela-
tionships, relationships with friends and fellow beings in society, our relation-
ships at work, our relationship with self, and our relationship with God or the
universe (Carlson, Watts, & Maniacci, 2006; Watts, 2003; Watts, Williamson, &
Williamson, 2004).
According to Manaster and Corsini (1982), the most unique and valuable concept
in Adlerian psychology is gemeinschasgefuhl. e cardinal tenet of Adler’s theory,
it is typically translated as “social interest or community feeling” and emphasizes
the relational, social-contextual nature of the theory. I believe both community
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE STR IVING FOR SUPER IORITY AND OF SOCIAL I NTEREST 1933 43
feeling and social interest are needed for a holistic understanding of gemeinschas-
gefuhl; that is, community feeling addresses the aective and motivational aspects
and social interest the cognitive and behavioral ones. us, true community feeling
(e.g., sense of belonging, empathy, caring, compassion, acceptance of others) results
in social interest (thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the common good, the
good of the whole at both micro- and macro-systemic levels); true social interest is
motivated by community feeling (Watts & Eckstein, 2009).
A signicant dierence between Adler and other personality theorists regard-
ing the aforementioned “striving” is the role of community feeling/social interest.
Adler emphasized that striving for perfection or superiority occurs in a relational
context and this striving may occur in either a socially useful or a socially useless
manner. How one strives, and the manifest behaviors, are predicated on one’s
community feeling/social interest. us, in Adler’s mature theoretical formula-
tion, as evidenced in the 1933 paper, striving for perfection means that one is
striving toward greater competence, both for oneself and the common good of
humanity. is is a horizontal striving that is useful both for self and for oth-
ers, seeking to build both self- and other-esteem. Striving for superiority means
to move in a self-centered manner, seeking to be superior over others. is is a
vertical striving that primarily pursues personal gain without contribution to or
consideration of others and the common good. e manner one chooses to strive
constitutes the Adlerian criterion for mental health: healthy development follows
the goal of community feeling and social interest; maladjustment is the conse-
quence of pursuing narcissistic self-interest (Manaster & Corsini, 1982).
Recent research by Leak and Leak (2006) and Barlow, Tobin, and Schmidt
(2009) indicated that social interest is related to numerous aspects of positive
psychology (e.g., hope, other-centered values, optimism, prosocial moral reason-
ing, psychosocial maturity, subjective well-being). Nevertheless, positive psy-
chology authors appear to have ignored an important early positive psychology
construct: Adler’s gemeinschasgefuhl.
adlerian theory and PoSitive PSychology
Snyder and Lopez (2002) identied the positive psychology movement as a “new
approach” because “psychology and its sister disciplines . . . focus on the weak-
nesses in humankind” (p. ix). In arming the positive qualities of humankind,
the editors state, “no science, including psychology, looks seriously at this posi-
tive side of people[emphasis in original, p. x]. Seligman (2002) noted that the
goal of positive psychology is to move from a preoccupation with pathology to
a more balanced perspective that includes the idea of “a fullled individual and
a thriving community” by emphasizing that building strengths in people “is
the most potent weapon in the arsenal of therapy” (p. 3). It is remarkable that
Seligman’s goal is exactly the evolution of Adler’s theory development. Prior to
44 RICHA RD E. WATTS
World War I, Adler was more focused on decits, pathology, and remediation.
Adler’s mature theory, however, focused on strengths, healthy human develop-
ment, and prevention.
Given Adler’s evolution from a decit and pathology focus to one emphasiz-
ing strength, health, and prevention, it is not surprising to nd signicant com-
mon ground between Adlerian theory and the positive psychology movement.
Although not an exhaustive list, Carlson, Watts, and Maniacci (2006) identied
the following shared emphases: normal human growth and development; pre-
vention/education rather than merely remediation; moving away from the medi-
cal model perspective; a focus on mental health and clients’ strengths, resources,
and abilities rather than psychopathology and clients’ disabilities; and holism,
spirituality, wellness, multiculturalism, and social justice. Adler’s 1933 paper on
striving and social interest alludes to several of the emphases listed above.
Cowen and Kilmer (2002) criticized the positive psychology literature for its
lack of attention to prior literature regarding prevention and wellness, its lack of
a cohesive undergirding theoretical framework, and its lack of a developmen-
tal perspective. Adlerian theory has a rich literature addressing prevention and
healthy development, and could serve as a useful cohesive theoretical framework
that Cowen and Kilmer indicated is lacking in positive psychology.
Adlerian psychology is a growth model that emphasizes the holistic, phe-
nomenological, teleological, eld-theoretically, and socially embedded aspects of
human functioning. It is an optimistic perspective that views people as unique,
creative, capable, and responsible. Adlerians disdain the decit or “medical
model” orientation to maladjustment, preferring a nonpathological perspective.
us, clients are not sick (as in having a disease) and are not identied or labeled
by their diagnoses. Because Adlerians believe the growth model of personality
makes more sense than the sickness model, they see clients as discouraged rather
than sick. us, Adlerians are not about “curing” anything; therapy is a process
of encouragement. In fact, Adlerians consider encouragement a crucial aspect of
human growth and development (Carlson, Watts, & Maniacci, 2006; Manaster &
Corsini, 1982; Mosak & Maniacci, 1999).
Adlerian therapists focus on developing a respectful, egalitarian, optimistic,
and growth-oriented therapeutic alliance that emphasizes clients’ assets, abili-
ties, resources, and strengths. Watts (1998) noted that Adler’s descriptions of
therapist-modeled social interest look very similar to Rogers’s descriptions of the
core facilitative conditions of client change: congruence, unconditional positive
regard, and empathic understanding. e above qualities and characteristics of
the therapeutic alliance are embedded in what Adlerians have historically called
encouragement, or the therapeutic modeling of social interest (Carlson, Watts, &
Maniacci, 2006; Mosak and Maniacci, 1999). Stressing the importance of encour-
agement in therapy, Adler (1956) stated, “Altogether, in every step of the treat-
ment, we must not deviate from the path of encouragement” (p. 342). In addition,
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE STR IVING FOR SUPER IORITY AND OF SOCIAL I NTEREST 1933 45
Dreikurs (1967) stated that therapeutic success was largely dependent upon “(the
therapist’s) ability to provide encouragement” and failure generally occurred
“due to the inability of the therapist to encourage” (pp. 12–13). Encouragement
skills include demonstrating concern for clients through active listening and
empathy, communicating respect for and condence in clients, focusing on cli-
ents’ strengths, assets, and resources, helping clients generate perceptual alter-
natives for discouraging ctional beliefs, focusing on eorts and progress, and
helping clients see the humor in life experiences (Carlson, Watts, & Maniacci,
2006; Watts & Pietrzak, 2000).
Adler and many subsequent Adlerians have focused on prevention rather than
simply remediation and, consequently, they have been extensively involved in
education. roughout his career, Adler was actively involved in public health,
medical and psychological prevention, and social welfare. He wrote, lectured on,
and advocated for children at risk, women’s rights and the equality of the sexes,
women’s rights to abortion, adult education, teacher training, community mental
health, family counseling and education and the establishment of family coun-
seling clinics, experimental schools for public students, and brief psychother-
apy. Adlerians have continued Adler’s emphasis on prevention and education.
For example, they have been perhaps the strongest proponents of child guidance
and parent and family education, and have written extensively on parent and
family education, couple-enrichment, and teacher education (Carlson, Watts, &
Maniacci, 2006; Mosak & Maniacci, 1999).
concluSion
As noted earlier, the basic tenets of Adlerian theory and therapy permeate con-
temporary psychology, typically without acknowledgment of Adler’s pioneering
inuence (Mosak & Maniacci, 1999). is appears to be evident in the positive
psychology literature as well. Seligman (2002), considered the “Father of Positive
Psychology,” stated: “I well recognize that positive psychology is not a new idea.
It has many distinguished ancestors” (p. 7). e two examples he mentions are
Gordon Allport and Abraham Maslow. I can nd no evidence of Seligman ever
acknowledging Adler’s pioneering positive psychology. As the 1933 paper on
striving and social interest demonstrates, Adler clearly addressed key positive
psychology tenets long before the “ancestors” (e.g., Allport, Maslow, Rogers) typi-
cally identied in the positive psychology literature (Jorgensen & Nafstad, 2004;
Seligman, 2002; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005; Snyder & Lopez, 2002;
Snyder, Lopez, & Pedrotti, 2011). us, Adlerian theory is clearly relevant for
today’s psychological zeitgeist because it has evinced the characteristics of posi-
tive psychology long before the emergence of the positive psychology movement.
As Bitter (1998) suggested, “the more the elds of psychology and psychother-
apy develop, the more relevant the ideas and processes of Adlerian psychology
46 RICHA RD E. WATTS
become” (p. 412). All things considered, one can plausibly argue that Alfred
Adler should be acknowledged as the “Grandfather of Positive Psychology.”
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On the Origin of the Striving for Superiority and of Social Interest (1933)*†
Alfred Adler
As an organismic, holistic theory, Individual Psychology requires a unitary
theory of motivation, which postulates either one master motive or merely
the force of life itself as the dynamic principle. Adler essentially chose the
second alternative, and when he named a master motive, it was actually only
to describe the form which the force of life takes in man. Adler’s assumption
of the life force remained a constant, while the names he gave to the human
master motive varied over the years, within a certain range. In the previous
paper (written in 1937) he speaks merely of striving for success. In the pres-
ent paper (prepared in 1933) he speaks variously of a striving for perfection,
superiority, overcoming, an upward striving, a coercion to carry out a better
adaptation, “innate as something which belongs to life.”
As a holistic theory, Individual Psychology also assumes an essential
cooperative harmony between individual and society, with conict an erro-
neous condition. is harmony is assumed to be based on an “innate substra-
tum of social interest,” which must be consciously developed. Social interest
is not a second dynamic force but gives direction to the striving for superi-
ority, just as any other developed potentiality would inuence the direction
of the striving. As a direction-giving factor, social interest also becomes a
normative ideal. —Eds.
It sounds almost like a timely problem to speak on the striving for perfec-
tion and the roots of social interest. For Individual Psychology, however, it is
an old problem. I may well say that in these two questions and their solution
rests the entire value and the entire signicance of Individual Psychology.
* From a paper read at the Vienna Medical Society for Individual Psychology, with the exception of
the “Summary,” which was read at the Individual Psychology Association, Vienna.
Original translation of A1933i1, and A1933i2 (the present “Summary”).
48 RICHA RD E. WATTS
e emphasis on these two questions has never been lacking in our work,
but you, like myself, will probably have felt the need to have the questions for
once treated in a fundamental form, so that we can avoid the vacillation and
uncertainty which we have met occasionally among our friends, still more
oen among our opponents. I don’t believe that outside our circle it is very
well known what we understand by striving for perfection. I am obliged to
add further supplements to the knowledge up to now. is knowledge can-
not be comprehended immediately; it cannot be found through an analysis
of the visible phenomena and facts, as, altogether, something new can never
be created through analysis. Here we would have parts in our hands instead
of the whole. To us Individual Psychologists, the whole tells much more than
the analysis of the parts. Also, nothing new can emerge through synthesis if
one simply puts the parts together.
THE STRIVING FOR PERFECTION
Where must we begin with our considerations, if we want to get beyond the
position of what has already been reached? Regarding the striving for perfec-
tion, or as it manifests itself sometimes, the striving for superiority, or the
striving for power which authors of less understanding sometimes attribute
to us, some few have always known about it. But their knowledge was not
so thorough that they could communicate it to a larger number, or could
illuminate the fundamental signicance of this striving for the structure of
the entire personality. It took Individual Psychology to point out that every
individual is seized by this striving for perfection, that we nd it in every
individual. It is not at all necessary rst to inoculate man with the desire to
develop into superman, as the daring attempt of Nietzsche has maintained.
Individual Psychology has shown that every individual is seized by the striv-
ing for perfection, by the upward striving. He who can read between the lines
will have realized that we are continuously aware of the fundamental impor-
tance of the striving for perfection. In the consideration of a case of illness we
have always uncovered the individual direction of this striving.
And yet one question remains which always returns whenever this prob-
lem appears, a question emphasized by friends and opponents, a question
which perhaps in our circle as well has not yet been completely claried. I
shall attempt today to bring it nearer to a solution because I have always con-
sidered it necessary to create on this point clarity for all.
Part of Evolutionary PrinciPlE
us I should rst of all like to stress that the striving for perfection is innate.
However, it is not innate in a concrete way, since we nd it again and again
in the various individuals in thousandfold variation. It is not innate in the
sense of a drive which would later in life be capable of bringing everything
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE STR IVING FOR SUPER IORITY AND OF SOCIAL I NTEREST 1933 49
to completion and which only needs to unfold itself. Rather, the striving for
perfection is innate as something which belongs to life, a striving, an urge, a
developing, a something without which one could not even conceive of life.
e scientists, especially the biological scientists, have always stressed this
evolutionary principle in the body. Especially since Darwin, Lamarck, and
others, it is a matter of course to take the evolutionary thought into account.
If we go a step further here and emphasize more strongly what these inge-
nious researchers envisioned, we want to state: To live means to develop.
e human mind is accustomed to bring all ow into a form, to regard
not the movement but the frozen movement, movement which has become
form. However, we have always been intent to resolve into movement what we
comprehend as form. us we must ascertain for the single individual of our
time as well as for the development of living creatures in general that to live
means to develop. Everyone knows that the complete man originates from an
ovular cell. But one should also properly understand that in this ovular cell
rest the fundaments for the development.
How life came on this earth is an uncertain matter; possibly we shall never
reach a nal answer. We could assume that there is life even in inanimate matter,
as for example the ingenious attempt of Smuts* has done. Such a view becomes
quite plausible through modem physics which shows that the electrons move
around the proton. Whether this view will be further vindicated, we do not
know. But it is certain that our concept of life as development can no longer be
doubted. ereby movement is ascertained at the same time, movement toward
self-preservation, procreation, contact with the surrounding world, victorious
contact in order not to perish. We must take our point of departure from this
path of development, of a continuous active adaptation to the demands of the
external world, if we want to understand in which direction life moves.
We must keep in mind that we are dealing here with something primary,
something which adhered already to primordial life. It is always a matter of
overcoming, of the existence of the individual and the human race, of estab-
lishing a favorable relationship between the individual and the surrounding
world. is coercion to carry out a better adaptation can never end. Herein lies
the foundation for our view of the striving for superiority.
Probably much of what I have just discussed seems familiar, and it certainly
was also known to others. Individual Psychology has only the one merit, to
have established a connection and to have shown which form this force, called
life, takes in each single individual and how it prevails. We are in the midst of
the stream of evolution but notice it as little as the rotation of the earth. In this
cosmic relation, in which the life of the single individual is a part, the striving
for victorious adaptation to the external world is a precondition. Even if one
* Smuts, J. C. (1926). Holism and evolution. New York: Macmillan.
50 RICHA RD E. WATTS
doubted that the striving for superiority existed already at the beginning of
life, the course of the billions of years puts it clearly before us that today the
striving for perfection is an innate factor which is present in every man.
individual concEPtions of PErfEction
is consideration may show us something else. None of us knows which is
the only correct way to perfection. Mankind has variously made the attempt
to imagine this nal goal of human development. e best conception gained
so far of this ideal elevation of mankind is the concept of God (Jahn and
Adler).* ere is no question but that the concept of God actually includes
this movement toward perfection in the form of a goal, and that as a concrete
goal of perfection it corresponds best to man’s dark longing to reach perfec-
tion. Of course, it seems to me that each person imagines his God dierently.
us there are conceptions of God which from the outset are not equal to the
principle of perfection. But of the purest formulation of God we can say: Here
the concrete formulation of the goal of perfection has been accomplished.
ere are, of course, countless attempts among men to imagine this goal
of perfection dierently. We physicians who deal with failures, with per-
sons who have fallen sick from a neurosis or psychosis, who have become
delinquents, alcoholics, etc., we see this goal of superiority in them also, but
in another direction, one which contradicts reason in so far as we cannot
acknowledge in it a correct goal of perfection. When, for example, someone
attempts to concretize this goal by wanting to dominate over others, such
a goal of perfection appears to us incapable to steer the individual and the
group. e reason is that not every one could make this goal of perfection
his task, because he would be forced to come into conict with the coercion
of evolution, to violate reality, and to defend himself full of anxiety against
the truth and its confessors. When we nd persons who have set themselves
as a goal of perfection to lean on others, this goal of perfection also appears
to us to contradict reason. When someone perhaps nds the goal of perfec-
tion in leaving the tasks of life unsolved in order not to suer certain defeats
which would be the opposite of the goal of perfection, this goal also appears to
us altogether unsuited, although it appears to many persons as acceptable.
Let us enlarge our prospect and raise the question: What has become of
those creatures who posited for themselves an incorrect goal of perfection,
whose active adaptation has not succeeded because they took the incorrect
path, who did not nd the path toward the advancement of all (Sinn des
Lebens [A1933b])? Here the extinction of species, races, tribes, families, and
thousands of individual persons of whom nothing has remained, teaches us
how necessary it is for the individual to nd a halfway correct path to the
* See Part V.
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE STR IVING FOR SUPER IORITY AND OF SOCIAL I NTEREST 1933 51
goal of some kind of perfection. Aer all, it is understood in our day and by
the individual among us that the goal of perfection gives the direction for the
development of his entire personality, for all his expressive movements, his
perceiving, his thinking, his feeling, his view of the world. It is equally clear
and understandable for every Individual Psychologist that a direction which
deviates in a considerable degree from the truth must turn out to the detri-
ment of the one in question, if not to his doom. is being the case, it would
be a lucky nd if we knew more about the direction which we have to take
since we are, aer all, embedded in the stream of evolution and must follow
it. Here as well, Individual Psychology has performed a great achievement,
as it has with the ascertainment of the general striving for perfection. From
thousandfold experience it has gained a view which is capable of understand-
ing to some degree the direction toward ideal perfection, through its ascer-
tainment of the norms of social interest.
SOCIAL INTEREST
Regarding social interest, you will also have observed certain uctuations in
the Individual Psychology literature, and it is for this reason that I wanted to
talk about it. I do not wish to say much about the usual and thoughtless case
which is occasionally found within our circle among beginners, and outside
our circle—the mistake of understanding what we call community as a pri-
vate circle of our time, or a larger circle which one should join. Social interest
means much more. Particularly it means feeling with the whole, sub specie
aeternitatis, under the aspect of eternity. It means a striving for a form of
community which must be thought of as everlasting, as it could be thought
of if mankind had reached the goal of perfection. It is never a present-day
community or society, nor a political or religious form. Rather the goal which
is best suited for perfection would have to be a goal which signies the ideal
community of all mankind, the ultimate fulllment of evolution.
normativE idEal
Of course, one will ask, how do I know this? Certainly not from immedi-
ate experience. I must admit that those who nd a piece of metaphys-
ics in Individual Psychology are right. Some praise this, other criticize it.
Unfortunately, there are many who have an erroneous view of metaphysics,
who would like to see everything eliminated from the life of mankind which
they cannot comprehend immediately. But by doing so we would interfere
with the possibilities of development, prevent every new thought. Every new
idea lies beyond immediate experience; immediate experiences never yield
anything new. Only a synthesizing idea can do this. Whether you call it
speculation or transcendentalism, there is no science which does not have to
enter the realm of metaphysics. I see no reason to be afraid of metaphysics;
52 RICHA RD E. WATTS
it has had a very great inuence on human life and development. We are not
blessed with the possession of the absolute truth, and on that account we are
compelled to form theories for ourselves about our future, about the results
of our actions, etc.
We conceive the idea of social interest, social feeling, as the ultimate form
of mankind, a condition in which we imagine all questions of life, all relation-
ship to the external world as solved. It is a normative ideal, a direction-giving
goal. is goal of perfection must contain the goal of an ideal community,
because everything we nd valuable in life, what exists and what will remain,
is forever a product of this social feeling.
I want to repeat what I have mentioned in another connection. e new-
born child always nds in life only what the others have contributed to life,
to welfare, to security. What we nd when we enter our life is always the
contribution of our forebears. is one fact alone could enlighten us as to
how life will move on: We shall approach a condition of larger contributions,
of greater ability to cooperate, where every individual presents himself more
fully as a part of the whole—a condition for which of course all forms of our
societal movement are trials, preliminary trials, and only those will endure
which are situated in the direction of this ideal community.
We do not want to judge; only one thing we can say: A movement of the
individual or a movement of the masses can for us pass as valuable only if it
creates values for eternity, for the higher development of all mankind. Maybe
you will understand this fact better if I raise once more the question: What
happens to those persons who have contributed nothing? ey have disap-
peared, have become extinct. ere you see again how the force of evolution,
how this urge to achieve a higher stage physically and mentally, how this urge
extinguishes everything which does not go along and contributes nothing.
If one is a friend of formulations, one could say there is a basic law in devel-
opment which calls to those who are negating: Away with you; you do not
understand what counts! us duration emphasizes itself, the eternal dura-
tion of the contribution of persons who have done something for the common
good. Of course we are thoughtful enough not to assume that we have the key
for telling in each case exactly what is calculated for eternity and what not. We
are convinced that we can err, that only a very exact, objective investigation
can decide, oen also only the course of events. It is perhaps already a great
step that we can avoid what does not contribute to the striving for perfection.
social contExt
I could talk more about this and show how all our functions are calculated
not to disturb the community of man, to connect the individual with the
community. To see means to receive, to make fertile that which falls on the
retina. is is not only a physiological process; it shows the person as part of
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE STR IVING FOR SUPER IORITY AND OF SOCIAL I NTEREST 1933 53
the whole, who takes and gives. In seeing, hearing, speaking we connect our-
selves with the others. us all functions of our organs are correctly devel-
oped only if they are not detrimental to the social interest.
We speak of virtue, and mean that one participates in the game; of vice, and
mean that one disturbs cooperation. I could also point out how everything
which signies a failure is a failure because it disturbs the development of the
community, whether we are dealing with problem children, neurotics, crimi-
nals, or cases of suicide. In all cases you see that the contribution is lacking.
In the entire history of mankind you will nd no isolated persons. e
development of mankind was possible only because mankind was a com-
munity and in striving for perfection strove for an ideal community. All
movements, all functions of a person express whether or not he has found
this direction in the stream of evolution which is characterized by the com-
munity ideal. e reason is that man is inviolably guided by the community
ideal. He becomes impeded, punished, praised, and advanced by it, so that
each individual becomes not only responsible for each deviation but must
also suer for it. is is a hard law, virtually a cruel law. ose who have
already developed in themselves a strong social feeling constantly endeavour
to ameliorate the hardships of anyone who proceeds erroneously. ey do
this as if they knew that here is a man who has missed the way for reasons
which only Individual Psychology is able to demonstrate. If a man under-
stood how he erred, stepping out of the way of evolution, he would leave this
course and join general humanity.
innatE substratum
Finally, I should like to submit a thought which has much in its favor and
which I should like you to consider. If you agree with my arguments, you
will have to raise the question: Is social interest innate or must one bring it to
man? Of course it is also innate, like the striving for perfection, except that
it must be developed and can be developed only when the child is already in
the midst of life.
Like the character traits which depend on it, social interest can come
to life only in the social context. By social context, of course, is meant the
child’s subjective understanding of the same. e decision [as to how he will
interpret the essentially ambiguous social context] rests in the creative power
of the child, which, however, is guided by the environment and educational
measures, and inuenced by the experience and evaluation of his body.*
* By “experience and evaluation of his body,” Adler means that the child is not directly inuenced
by his physique but by how he subjectively experiences and evaluates it. us a beautiful girl who
feels that boys are attracted by her beauty rather than by her brains (for which she would like to be
admired) will evaluate her beauty negatively.
54 RICHA RD E. WATTS
At the present stage of mankind’s psychological and possibly also physical
development, we must consider the innate substratum of the social interest as
too small, as not strong enough, to become eective or to develop without the
benet of social understanding. is is in contrast to abilities and functions
which succeed almost all on their own, such as breathing. But with social
interest we are far from having reached this stage. We have not developed it
to the same extent as breathing. And yet we must expect the development of
social interest so strongly in the ultimate goal of perfection that mankind of
the future will possess and activate it like breathing.
CONCLUSION
What we have to do in the present critical state follows automatically.
Unquestionably this consideration gives us a certain and rm foundation
not only for the evaluation of a person and for the education of a child but
also for the improvement and guidance of one who has gone astray. But
this succeeds only through explanation and understanding. We must talk
about it, because we are not certain whether every child and every adult
knows where the way leads. is is why one must talk about it so long until
perhaps in the course of thousands of years talking also will have become
superuous, as perhaps it has today become superuous to talk about cor-
rect breathing.
e talking about social interest as belonging to the evolution of man, as
a part of human life, and the awakening of the corresponding understanding
is today being attended to by Individual Psychology. is is its fundamental
signicance, its claim to existence, and this is what represents its strength.
Today everybody speaks about community and community feeling. We were
not the very rst, but we are the rst to have strongly emphasized the basic
nature of the social feelings.
e concept of community and community feeling can also be abused. But
one who has properly understood knows that in the nature of community and
community feeling rests an evolutionary factor which turns against every-
thing which resists this direction. He will be able to avoid the abuse of the
concept of the community or to let himself be abused by others in its name.
is represents the practical value and the signicance of Individual
Psychology: It has claried the fundamental signicance of social interest for
the development, the higher development, of the individual and of the whole
of mankind.
SUMMARY
Individual Psychology has shown that the striving for superiority and per-
fection is not limited to the characterization of certain individuals, nor is it
brought to them from the outside; rather, it is given to every person and must
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE STR IVING FOR SUPER IORITY AND OF SOCIAL I NTEREST 1933 55
be understood as innate, as a necessary and general foundation of the develop-
ment of every person.
e originators of the concept of evolution in the eld of general organic
life, such as Darwin and Lamarck, have pointed out that life must be under-
stood as movement toward a goal, and that this goal—the preservation of
the individual and the species—is attained through the overcoming of resis-
tances with which the environment confronts the organism. us mastery
of the environment appears to be inseparably connected with the concept of
evolution. If this striving were not innate to the organism, no form of life
could preserve itself.
e goal of mastering the environment in a superior way, which one can
call the striving for perfection, consequently also characterizes the devel-
opment of man. It is expressed most clearly in the concept of God. In the
individual case, however, the striving for superiority takes on very dier-
ent concrete forms. Typical is, e.g., the striving to master one’s fellow man,
Exactly this form was shown by Individual Psychology to be erroneous, con-
tradicting the concept of evolution. Individual Psychology has uncovered the
fact that the deviations and failures of the human character—neurosis, psy-
chosis, crime, drug addiction etc.—are nothing but forms of expression and
symptoms of the striving for superiority directed against fellowmanship,*
which presents itself in one case as striving for power, in another case as an
evasion of accomplishments by which another might benet. Such erroneous
striving leads to the psychological decline and fall of the individual, as any
biological erroneous striving has led to the physical decline and fall of entire
species and races.
Individual Psychology has found a special formula for the correct striv-
ing for perfection of man: e goal which the individual must pursue must
lie in the direction which leads to the perfection of all of mankind sub specie
aeternitatis. “Virtue” means advancement, “vice” means disturbance of the
common work which aims at perfection. Never can the individual be the goal
of the ideal of perfection, but only mankind as a cooperating community. A
partial community of any kind—perhaps groups that are associated through
certain political, religious, or other ideals—is also not sucient. Neither do
we mean the existing society, but an ideal society yet to be developed, which
comprises all men, all lled by the common striving for perfection.
is is how the Individual Psychology concept of social interest
(Gemeinschasgefuhl) is to be understood. is is to be considered as
innate—”innate” also in the categorical (metaphysical) sense, namely as
the necessary and general premise for human cultural development. Every
* e German original for fellowmanship is Mitmenschlichkeit, meaning “ being a fellow man,” as
well as “co-humaneness.”
56 RICHA RD E. WATTS
human being brings the disposition for social interest with him; but then it
must be developed through upbringing, especially through correct guidance
of the creative power of the individual. We can assume that the innate sub-
stratum of the ability to cooperate will become increasingly stronger through
the training of the generations.
An important aid in this training is that the individual become conscious
of the importance of social interest as the form of the striving for perfection
which is appropriate for man. Exactly in this work of information rests the
foremost practical task of Individual Psychology.
... Both physical and psychological feelings of inferiority were said to lead the young individual to begin developing compensatory strategies in an effort to increase a sense of mastery (Chéze, 2009;Watts, 2012). Ansbacher and Ansbacher (1956) described this phenomenon as the goal of moving from a state of perceiving oneself as having experienced a minus toward a state of plus. ...
... Social interest, also referred to as community feeling (Corey, 2017) and gemeinschaftsgefuhl (Watts, 2012) has emerged as a central concept in Individual Psychology along with inferiority and striving to superiority (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). ...
... It highlights the relational underpinning of the theoretical framework as it seeks to situate the individual and their well-being within their social context (Hugo, 2020). Gemeinschaftsgefuhl, considered the individual's ability to connect with and demonstrate commitment to others, further incorporated affective, behavioural and cognitive components (Adler, 1927;Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956;Watts, 2012). Additionally, the fundamental importance of social interest helped situate other theoretical concepts, such as striving for superiority, in terms of how they acted on and were derived from the person's social context (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). ...
... Both physical and psychological feelings of inferiority were said to lead the young individual to begin developing compensatory strategies in an effort to increase a sense of mastery (Chéze, 2009;Watts, 2012). Ansbacher and Ansbacher (1956) described this phenomenon as the goal of moving from a state of perceiving oneself as having experienced a minus toward a state of plus. ...
... Social interest, also referred to as community feeling (Corey, 2017) and gemeinschaftsgefuhl (Watts, 2012) has emerged as a central concept in Individual Psychology along with inferiority and striving to superiority (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). ...
... It highlights the relational underpinning of the theoretical framework as it seeks to situate the individual and their well-being within their social context (Hugo, 2020). Gemeinschaftsgefuhl, considered the individual's ability to connect with and demonstrate commitment to others, further incorporated affective, behavioural and cognitive components (Adler, 1927;Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956;Watts, 2012). Additionally, the fundamental importance of social interest helped situate other theoretical concepts, such as striving for superiority, in terms of how they acted on and were derived from the person's social context (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). ...
Technical Report
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This study entails a psychobiography of the serial murderer, Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo (1936-1994). Serial murder has been described in forensic and psychological literature as a complex phenomenon that fascinates both scholars who work with this population group and society. Despite the ongoing fascination with this crime typology, comprehensive understanding of the intrapsychic dynamics of the serial murderer remains an area that would benefit from enhanced investigation and conceptualisation. The primary aim of the study was to explore, describe and reconstruct the life of Chikatilo by emphasising (a) his functioning as a serial murderer by applying the primitive psychic mechanisms proposed by Claus and Lidberg’s Schahriar’s Syndrome Model of Serial Murder (SSM), and (b) his development that led to the emergence of an inferiority complex, investigated through the presence of four sub-constructs derived from Adler’s theoretical framework of Individual Psychology. The psychological model and the inferiority complex construct were utilised in this single-case psychobiography to systematically deconstruct and reconstruct Chikatilo’s life in such a manner that a comprehensive and holistic psychological understanding emerged. Andrei Chikatilo was a serial murderer who lived in the harsh environmental conditions of the Soviet Union from his birth in 1936 until his execution in 1994. As the subject, Chikatilo was selected using a non-probability purposive sampling procedure. This implies that he was selected as the subject of the study having met pre-determined criteria. Chikatilo was afforded various names including the lesopolosa killer, the Butcher of Rostov, and the Red Ripper. The lesopolosa were wooded areas in Russia and became the location to which he lured and sadistically murdered 52 women and children over a 12-year period. Chikatilo’s life offered a unique opportunity to explore the psychodynamic functioning of a serial murderer in a non-western context, and who grew up amid extreme environmental conditions that influenced his ongoing development and functioning. To date, a psychobiographical study has not been conducted on Chikatilo. The absence of previous studies provided an opportunity to explore his intrapsychic functioning and the manner in which it was influenced by his context, through the application of psychological theory to the biographical and socio-historical literature. Chikatilo’s life was explored, described, and reconstructed through the systematic gathering, categorisation, and interpretation of publicly available biographical, historical and contextual data on the subject and the Soviet Union. Five significant historical periods were identified, as well as salient psychological data, extracted for analysis using Alexander’s model of principal indicators of psychological saliency. Thereafter, data were organised, and integrated, into conceptual matrices that facilitated analysis and the presentation of findings. The secondary objective pertaining to the psychobiography was to test the propositions asserted by Claus and Lidberg’s Schahriar’s Syndrome Model and its constituent psychic mechanisms and Adler’s construct of the inferiority complex through the application of analytical generalisation. This was done by applying the propositions and constructs of the psychological frameworks to the real-world context of Chikatilo and aided in testing the relevance and applicability of the frameworks. The findings of the study suggest that Chikatilo demonstrated the presence of the five primitive psychic mechanisms in his functioning as a serial murderer, and therefore met the criteria proposed by the Schahriar’s Syndrome Model (SSM). Furthermore, the findings identified the presence of the inferiority and superiority complexes that emerged during Chikatilo’s development and functioning, both as a serial murderer and in other important domains of his life. Once integrated, the findings illustrated the applicability and usefulness of the Schahriar’s Syndrome Model by Claus and Lidberg and Adler’s construct of the inferiority complex in the systematic single-case psychobiography of Chikatilo, his intrapsychic functioning and longitudinal development across the five historical periods into which his lifespan was divided. Keywords: psychobiography, Andrei Chikatilo, serial murderer, Schahriar’s Syndrome Model, primitive psychic mechanisms, the inferiority complex, Alfred Adler
... Both physical and psychological feelings of inferiority were said to lead the young individual to begin developing compensatory strategies in an effort to increase a sense of mastery (Chéze, 2009;Watts, 2012). Ansbacher and Ansbacher (1956) described this phenomenon as the goal of moving from a state of perceiving oneself as having experienced a minus toward a state of plus. ...
... Social interest, also referred to as community feeling (Corey, 2017) and gemeinschaftsgefuhl (Watts, 2012) has emerged as a central concept in Individual Psychology along with inferiority and striving to superiority (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). ...
... It highlights the relational underpinning of the theoretical framework as it seeks to situate the individual and their well-being within their social context (Hugo, 2020). Gemeinschaftsgefuhl, considered the individual's ability to connect with and demonstrate commitment to others, further incorporated affective, behavioural and cognitive components (Adler, 1927;Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956;Watts, 2012). Additionally, the fundamental importance of social interest helped situate other theoretical concepts, such as striving for superiority, in terms of how they acted on and were derived from the person's social context (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This psychobiographical study focused on South African poet, writer and ethologist Eugéne Nielen (1871–1936). His poetry and short stories have secured him a place as one of South Africa’s most renowned writers, while his ethological books and naturalistic studies have secured him international recognition. Marais was selected as subject through purposive sampling, with the aim of providing a psychological exploration and description of aspects of his life, against the backdrop of his socio-historical context. Adler’s theory of individual psychology was applied to the publicly available biographical and historical data collected on Marais. The study’s primary aim was to explore and describe Marais’s individual psychological development throughout his life. The exploratory-descriptive nature of this study, meant that the objective falls within the inductive research approach. Specific methodological guidelines were used in the extraction and analysis of the data. Particularly, Alexander’s nine indicators of psychological saliency, which was used to assist in organising and selecting Marais's most relevant biographical data. Specific questions were also posed to the data, which enabled the extraction of relevant units of analysis that focused on the study objectives. A psycho-historical matrix was also incorporated to facilitate the data analysis, which assisted in the systematic categorisation and consistent analysis of the collected biographical data on Marais, according to the constructs of his individual psychological development, and in terms of his socio-historical contexts. Findings suggested that Marais possibly had an inferiority complex as represented by his dependence on morphine throughout most of his adult life. Despite this he also seemed to have had a strong social interest towards people as well as animals. This was seen his love for animals, willingness to help not only his own people but the enemy in times of war, as well as his practice as an amateur doctor without asking compensation. This study contributed to the body of knowledge on Marais, the framework of Adler’s theory of individual psychology, and the educational objectives in psychobiography. Keywords: Psychobiography, Eugène Nielen Marais, Alfred Adler, Individual Psychology.
... 91). This appears particularly true in the positive psychology movement, so much so that one can plausibly suggest that Adlerian psychology was the original positive psychology and that the contemporary positive psychology movement is a neo-Adlerian perspective (Carlson et al., 2006;Erguner-Tekinalp, 2016;Watts, 2012Watts, , 2015. ...
... When examining Adler's later phase of theory development, one can readily see the contemporary relevance of Adler's thinking in several streams of psychological thinking. In this article, we address Adler's thoughts on striving for perfection or superiority and Gemeinschaftsgefühl (community feeling or social interest) as these two foundational tenets of Adler's theory particularly resonate with positive psychology concepts and research and, therefore, evince Adlerian psychology's position as arguably the first positive psychology of the 20th century (Erguner-Tekinalp, 2016;Watts, 2012Watts, , 2015. Then, we address more broadly the remarkable common ground between Adler's mature theoretical ideas and the positive psychology movement. ...
... Consequently, the Adlerian perspective on the tasks of life-love, society, work, spirituality, and self-is clearly relationally focused. These tasks of life address intimate love relationships, relationships with friends and fellow beings in society, our relationships at work, our relationship with self, and our relationship with God or the universe (Carlson et al., 2006;Watts, 2003Watts, , 2012Watts, , 2015Watts, Williamson, & Williamson, 2004). ...
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The contemporary relevance of Adler’s thinking is evident in many streams of contemporary psychological thinking, including positive psychology. This article demonstrates the enormous common ground between Adler’s mature theoretical ideas and the positive psychology movement and argues for Adler’s acknowledgment as the original positive psychology. Key words: Alfred Adler, Adlerian psychology, Positive Psychology, Gemeinschaftsgefuhl, Striving for Perfection/Superiority.
... Until finally, each individual believes that a strong and perfect society will be able to help him achieve the fulfillment of a feeling of superiority. Lifestyle and creative self merge into the principle of social interest, which ultimately manifests in the behavior that is displayed as a whole (Watts 2012). ...
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This study aims to know and analyze the theory of individuality and social interest based on Alfred Adler's perspective on the main character in the novel Anak Rantau written by Ahmad Fuadi. The approach in question is related to the personality psychology of the main character, which is known from the storyline. The method used in this research is descriptive-qualitative based on literature review. The result of this research is that the main character in the novel reflects the theoretical principles in their attitudes, behavior, decisions, and speech acts. The individuality of the main character can be seen from the awareness of his past attitudes, his characteristics that are not easily afraid, and his efforts to compensate for his inferiority. Meanwhile, the social interests of the main character develop in line with the long process in the village community.
... As several scholars (Bubenzer, Zarski, & Walter, 1991;Kalkan, 2009;Watts, 2012) indicate, social interest is an umbrella term which contains concepts like belonging, friendship, sympathy, empathy, unconditional acceptance, tolerance, and cooperation. As it is understood, it is important not only to understand the individual but also to the individual himself. ...
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Social interest refers to the individual's sense of community and social benefit. Especially for university students, social interest is important in terms of their developmental period and their efforts to gain a place in society. Therefore, it would be helpful to investigate the factors potentially affecting the social interest levels of university students. This study aimed to investigate the effects of perceived parental attitudes and self-esteem on social interest levels in university students. In addition, this study aimed to examine the mediating roles of self-esteem on the relationship between parental attitudes and social interest. The participants included 438 volunteer university students. The data were collected using the Demographic Information Form, Social Interest Index, Parental Attitude Scale, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The hypothesis model was tested using path analysis and bootstrapping method. The results showed that self-esteem partially mediated the effect of democratic attitude on social interest and fully mediated the effects of authoritarian attitude on social interest. The results also revealed that the protective attitude did not have a direct or indirect effect on social interest. The results were discussed along with the theoretical framework and previous findings, and suggestions for future research were presented.
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Skoliosis menurut National Institute of Arthitis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS) USA merupakan kelainan muskuloskeletal yang digambarkan dengan bengkoknya tulang belakang ke arah samping. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui (1) Bagaimana gambaran mengenai inferioritas pada perempuan penderita skoliosis, (2) faktor-faktor apa saja yang menjadi penyebab inferioritas pada perempuan penderita skoliosis, serta (3) bagaimana gambaran striving for superiority pada perempuan penderita skoliosis. Penelitian ini menggunakan metode kualitatif berbentuk studi kasus pada seorang atlit berprestasi perempuan penderita skoliosis dengan jenis “S” dengan derajat kemiringan 19 derajat. Hasil dalam penelitian ini pada gambaran inferioritas meliputi (1) penyakit masa kecil, (2) merasa dibedakan dan kesal, (3) ketakutan terhadap ayahnya, (4) suka menyendiri, (5) merasa psikologisnya tidak sehat dan didiagnosis PTSD, (6) menyerah akan kondisi keluarga, (7) skoliosis, (8) merasa sedih, serta (9) khawatir dengan postur tubuh dan ragu akan kondisinya. Kemudian pada faktor penyebab inferioritas meliputi (1) kekerasan dari ayah, (2) dihukum, dan (3) dibedakan. Selanjutnya, gambaran striving for superiority meliputi (1) les dan bimbel, (2) mengikuti lomba, (3) mendapatkan penghargaan, (4) beladiri, dan (5) termotivasi dari Usain Bolt.
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Comprehensive, systematic, and balanced, Systems of Psychotherapy uses a wealth of clinical cases to help readers understand a wide variety of psychotherapies - including psychodynamic, existential, experiential, interpersonal, exposure, behavioral, cognitive, third wave, systemic, multicultural, and integrative. The ninth edition of this landmark text thoroughly analyzes 15 leading systems of psychotherapy and briefly surveys another 32, providing students and practitioners with a broad overview of the discipline. The book explores each system's theory of personality, theory of psychopathology, and resulting therapeutic process and therapy relationship. Through these explorations the authors clearly demonstrate how psychotherapy systems agree on the processes producing change while diverging on the elements in need of change. Additionally, the authors present cogent criticisms of each approach from cognitive-behavioral, psychoanalytic, humanistic, cultural, and integrative perspectives. This ninth edition features updated meta-analytic reviews of the effectiveness of each system, new sections on Lacanian analysis, mentalization therapy, and psychotherapy with gender nonconforming people, as well as new sections and updates throughout the text.
Article
A review of H. F. ELLENBERGER's book, The Discovery of the Unconscious, opens up this section. In this monumental work the author shows how the main schools of dynamic psychiatry over the past two centuries had their roots in the broad cultural movements of their time. A wide perspective of psychotherapeutic approaches ranging from faith healing to psychoanalysis is presented. J. ZUBIN highlights cultural factors regarding etiological models of schizophrenia and regarding the diagnosis of this illness. He comprehensively discusses emerging trends in descriptive psychopathology and cross-cultural studies. E. F. TORREY has provided us with a preview of his book, The Mind Game: Witchdoctors and Psychiatrists. Based on his experiences in several cultures he has identified com monalities in the activities of psychotherapists all over the world. He offers models based on his experiences with different ethnic groups for future mental health services for these groups and others. The last paper in this section concerns itself with the application of verbal psychological tests in translation for cross-cultural psychological or psychiatric purposes. K. GLATT compared differences in the responses to the MMPI in French, Spanish, and German translations (see also R. Prince and W. Mombour, Transcultural Psychiatric Research.
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A Revitalization of Aristotelian PhilosophyFrom a Pathology-Oriented Understanding to a Perspective of Growth and Positive DevelopmentFrom the Individual as Asocial to the Individual as Socially and Ethically ResponsibleOn Aristotelian Developmental TheoryThe Concept of Optimal or More Perfect Functioning in Modern PsychologyThe Eudaimonic Approach to the Good Life in Positive PsychologyThe Multicultural PerspectiveThe Human Being: Universal, Local, or Unique?Different Levels of Scientific ActivityConcluding Remarks
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Emotions, rather than simply being the result of random or disordered biochemical processes, are adaptive mechanisms that are often overly relied upon as a function of basic learning processes. The Quest to Feel Good helps the reader understand that negative emotions serve a critical adaptive purpose that functions in relation to one’s ultimate desire for a felt-positive state. Paul Rasmussen addresses the role of emotions as adaptive components, in combination with cognitive and behavioral processes, to our overall orchestration of life. To this end, the therapist is directed to use a client’s negative affect as a means of guiding critical therapeutic conclusions and decisions. Rasmussen emphasizes an integration of the basic premises of Adlerian psychology with the evolutionary-imperative model presented by Theodore Millon (1990, 1999). This integration is used to explain the primacy of emotions in the manifestation of most clinical conditions. This critical integration and focus makes the volume important, necessary, and unique to mental health professionals. Case examples and illustrations are also offered throughout the text.
Book
A thorough and up-to-date guide to putting positive psychology into practice From the Foreword: "This volume is the cutting edge of positive psychology and the emblem of its future." -Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Authentic Happiness Positive psychology is an exciting new orientation in the field, going beyond psychology's traditional focus on illness and pathology to look at areas like well-being and fulfillment. While the larger question of optimal human functioning is hardly new - Aristotle addressed it in his treatises on eudaimonia - positive psychology offers a common language on this subject to professionals working in a variety of subdisciplines and practices. Applicable in many settings and relevant for individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and societies, positive psychology is a genuinely integrative approach to professional practice. Positive Psychology in Practice fills the need for a broad, comprehensive, and state-of-the-art reference for this burgeoning new perspective. Cutting across traditional lines of thinking in psychology, this resource bridges theory, research, and applications to offer valuable information to a wide range of professionals and students in the social and behavioral sciences. A group of major international contributors covers: The applied positive psychology perspective Historical and philosophical foundations Values and choices in pursuit of the good life Lifestyle practices for health and well-being Methods and processes for teaching and learning Positive psychology at work.
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To investigate the influence of Individual Psychology on positive nnodels of men- tal health, the researchers examined the relationship betvvieen Individual Psychology and positive psychology by predicting that social interest would be correlated with the constructs of hope and optimism. Participants included 43 students from a gradu- ate program in counseling. Social interest was significantly correlated with hope and optimism, and optimism was more significant than hope as a predictor of social inter- est. These results support the contention that social interest and positive psychology are positively correlated. Recommendations for further research are discussed.