Adlerian Therapy’s Goals

What was Alfred Adler’s role in the world?

Alfred Adler was a physician, psychotherapist, and the founder of Adlerian psychology, also known as Individual Psychology. In his early career, he was one of Sigmund Freud’s colleagues, but later diverged to develop his own psychological theory. In contrast to Freud, who emphasized the role of unconscious drives, Adler focused on conscious factors such as social interests and lifestyle choices. Modern approaches to psychotherapy were shaped by Adler’s theories.

According to Adlerian theory, individuals are interconnected beings influenced by psychological, social, environmental, and physiological factors. According to Adler, the perspective is based on the concept of “Gesellschaftsfühl,” or “community feeling.” The therapist considers how multiple aspects of the client’s life interact to contribute to the current issues rather than treating individual struggles as isolated problems.

It can be useful to understand the dynamics of early family experiences and how they shape an individual’s lifestyle and coping mechanisms through techniques such as the “Family Constellation.”

As a result of using a holistic approach, clients gain a better understanding of their current struggles, allowing them to develop more effective coping strategies.

Adlerian therapy emphasizes the importance of understanding each individual’s unique personality and lifestyle, and the power of human relationships in fostering personal growth. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding and accepting one’s flaws, and the potential for personal growth through self-reflection and self-motivation.

Adlerian therapy is based on the idea that everyone is born with an innate drive for personal growth. It encourages individuals to challenge their assumptions and to develop a sense of self-confidence. It also encourages them to become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. In contrast to other therapies that may focus exclusively on alleviating symptoms, Adlerian therapy utilizes a holistic approach. By addressing underlying beliefs and life goals, it seeks to bring about deep-seated change in an individual’s social context.

Adlerian therapy encourages the individual to become more self-aware and to develop a sense of purpose in life. It also focuses on improving communication and problem-solving skills. Finally, it seeks to empower the individual to take control of their own life.

Adlerian therapy focuses on helping people gain insight into their own behavior and motivations, as well as helping them to develop healthier attitudes and behaviors. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding the individual’s unique social situation and cultural background.

Nevertheless, further research is required, but Adlerian therapy has proven effective in treating a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, interpersonal problems, and anger issues.

The first goal is to promote personal growth

A key component of the approach is the need for individuals to feel competent and independent, emphasizing their unique abilities and potential. In addition to overcoming challenges, it is also important to realize one’s potential and achieve one’s goals.

Therapy Techniques to Facilitate Personal Growth

The Socratic Method: a method for exploring an individual’s beliefs, values, and setting meaningful goals (Advancing Theoretical Foundations of Adlerian Psychology, p. 162).

Guided imagery: This technique helps individuals visualize situations in which they have overcome challenges successfully, which boosts their self-confidence.

Using role-playing scenarios, individuals can practice different responses to situations, resulting in increased flexibility and adaptability.

Early Recollections: An innovative approach to understanding a person’s present lifestyle and coping strategies based on their earliest memories.

Goal 2: Fostering a Sense of Belonging and Community

Goal 3: Promoting Self-Awareness and Self-Understanding

Goal 4: Encouraging the Development of a Healthy Lifestyle

Goal 5: Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills

Goal 6: Cultivating a Positive and Optimistic Attitude


Adler, A. (2013b). Understanding Human Nature (Psychology Revivals). Routledge.

Adler, A., Jelliffe, S. Ely. (1917). Study of Organ Inferiority and its Psychical Compensation: A Contribution to Clinical Medicine. New York: Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company.

Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M. D. (2016). Counseling and Psychotherapy: Theories and Interventions. Germany: Wiley.

Stein, H. T. & Edwards, M. E. (2002). Adlerian psychotherapy. In Herson, M. & Sledge, M. H. (1st Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy (Vol. 1, pp. 23-31). Netherlands: Elsevier Science.

White, W. A. (1917). The theories of Freud, Jung and Adler: III. The Adlerian concept of the neuroses. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 12 (3), 168.

Written by:
Leah Selakovic
SACAC Counselling

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