Adlerian Theory in Psychology

PsychologyPersonality Psychology

Adlerian theory focuses on the importance of involvement in the community and interaction with society in promoting the growth of the individual. It is considered to be a therapy which is based upon the theories of Alfred Adler, who was an Austrian psychiatrist and a colleague of Sigmund Freud. Adler eventually left to pursue the development of his psychology theory, which is also known as individual psychology.

Adlerian Theory

This theory is used to emphasize the connection between an individual's needs for belonging and their efforts to recover from feelings of inferiority. The theory of Adler also puts stress on the importance of understanding the different aspects of an individual's behavior, which are influenced by some social context. It also helps in suggesting to people the need to feel significant in somebody's life. It will help them to become more confident in themselves and get better insights into their lives.

Techniques Related to Adlerian Theory

Adlerian therapy is considered to be humanistic, positive, and highly integrative, which is adapted to the specific needs of individuals. A basic principle of this theory is that the goal of a human being is highly oriented towards their own development. People who experience certain problems related to work struggle to gain proper insights into their behavior and problems. After the development of a deep understanding related to themselves, people could also start learning some new behaviors and skills which can help them towards overcoming the issues. That theory has emphasized certain techniques which promote resilience and growth in individuals as well. It will lead to the development of their skills and knowledge towards a particular goal that will bring them success in their lives. The Adlerian theory must be kept into consideration by the therapist while they are treating the mental issues of any individual (Miller, and D. A. L. E. N. A. DILLMAN TAYLOR 2016).


There are some different stages of this therapy which comprise engagement between the individual and therapist. The next stage is the assessment stage, where the therapist will learn about the history of previous experiences of the patient with the help of some assessments. The third stage comprises insight, which interprets the different events taking place in the life of the individual and also comes up with some suggestions that involve coping with the issues. The last stage is reorientation, where the therapist will motivate the individual towards the development of some new skills, behaviors, and habits that will help in supporting their growth in the future.

The process can also comprise certain strategies, likely framed by the previous experience of the patients along with the development of some new aspects or patterns. Certain research has also suggested that the therapy helps treat health and mental conditions. It includes anxiety, issues related to adjustment, disorders of eating, depression, substance abuse problems, and personality disorders. The application of this therapy can be useful for people who are trying to cope with loneliness, lower self-esteem, or pursuing negative thoughts. Putting affirmation into action and rebuilding their social relationships will help them gain empowerment and confidence. It will help them to pursue their individual goals and make healthy choices in their lives. Certain efforts towards the development of their own selves will make a person a better individual as well (Oberst, and Stewart, 2014).

Advantages of Alfred Adler’s Theory of Psychology

The benefits of Alfred Adler's theory comprise −

Examination of the purpose regarding behaviour − If people tend to explore the behaviours of other individuals, the therapist could ask them to reflect on the purpose that is causing the behaviour to take place. Understanding the entire purpose helps in changing maladaptive behaviour, which could serve towards helping people in the development of some important strategies that could help them cope with their issues.

Encouragement − The therapist always shows care towards their clients by showing some empathetic feelings and listening to those issues. It comprises of considering their drawbacks and helping clients in recognition of their gents and weaknesses to gain confidence to succeed in life.

Examination of memories − Looking at the previous moments helps in gaining insights regarding the patterns of behavior that are the result of the current issues.

Creating expectations − The therapist could also ask their clients to consider the ways they could act to become the person they have always strived towards. It would help the person with the visualization of success and make changes towards overcoming resistance and also establish expectations to become successful (Mosak and Maniacci, 2013).


This approach is considered to be very helpful to some people, but it does not necessarily mean that it can be the best option for everyone. This theory mainly focuses on how memory could shape current issues or problems. It also comprises consenting to and exploring their memories, which can be highly upsetting and painful sometimes. It becomes difficult for some people to consider the issues, and so it is highly important to take a deeper dive into the past scenario. It is an important factor to consider that it is necessary to adapt to changes to achieve success in real life. The overcoming of problems can act as a catalyst for critically assessing the current behaviour of the individuals that helps to play a crucial role in keeping them towards achieving their goals. The identification of the goals is not enough every time, so individuals have to actively participate in the work to change the patterns of behavior (Oberst, and Stewart, 2014).


Adlerian therapy is used for psychotherapy and counselling purposes. With the help of this approach, the therapist could help people in the development of proper understanding related to their motivations and goals in life. It is a crucial process to overcome the feelings related to being inferior to something and achieve a fulfilling and joyous life.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47