Inferiority Complex: Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler was a prominent Austrian doctor and psychiatrist. He had founded the school of individual psychology. The importance of feelings and the maintenance of feelings are also highlighted authentically by this psychiatrist. The theory of personality has been proposed by him to analyse individual psychology. Along with this, it is easy to state that his theory also helps to maintain human behaviour potentially. Fiction and fictional characters, inferiority complexes, and types of psychology are also potentially highlighted by Alfred Adler. This article has attempted to provide all the needed information regarding the role of personality theory in maintaining the sense of inferiority. The importance of self-actualism is also evaluated potentially through this personality theory.

Inferiority of Complex

Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler has introduced the term "inferiority of Complex." As defined by the Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology, "in Adlerian psychology, a combination of an erroneous belief of an individual that they are unable to cope with some aspect of life because of a real or imagined physical or psychological deficiency, feelings of depression, and a cessation of coping efforts in that area".

In other words, "a general term for a personal sense of inferiority".

An inferiority complex, usually occurs when the feelings of inferiority are intensified in the individual through some adverse events including discouragement or failure. People, who are at risk for developing an inferiority complex include, usually reflect signs of low self-esteem or self-worth or have low status in their peer group. Depression can also be seen in such people. This aspect should be solved through the effective theory of personality. All essential components of human behaviour are highlighted potentially due to the presence of theories of personality by Alfred Adler. Along with this, the notion of ego psychology is also highlighted potentially by this aspect. This theory of personalization can play an effective role in maintaining negative feelings of inferiority.  He is able to provide all effective information regarding the opposite of inferiority complex, superior complex. Overwhelming the sense of inadequacy has been analysed potentially through the theory of personality (Ewen 2014).

This personality theory of Alfred Adler helps us to learn about the basis of human behaviour in maintaining the feeling of inferiority. A sense of belonging in one's own community and society has been analysed authentically by this theory of personality. Interconnection between societies is also potentially highlighted by this theory. With the help of a few effective resources, it is easy to highlight that all kinds of mental illness and psychological disorders are maintained by the theory of personality. This approach should be employed with children, adolescents, adults, and other individuals.


The theory of personality has been implemented through four effective stages. These four stages are: engagement, assessment, insight, and reorientation (Adler 2014).

Assessment − This assessment stage is able to provide all the needed information about the lifestyle of clients. Along with this, the early memory and family structure of the client have been highlighted, potentially due to the presence of the assessment stage.

Reorientation − Step-to-step reinforcement of newly developed insight is evaluated in this stage of the personality theory.

Insight − Analysing approaches of clients from various perspectives has been justified by this insight stage. The Socratic method of asking a question is evaluated authentically in this insight stage.

Engagement − being empathetic toward clients is very important because it helps to maintain engagement with them. This stage is considered the main and most effective stage of the theory of personality. With the help of this aspect, the insecurity of the client should be reduced. A therapeutic relationship should be proposed. This engagement is determined by this theory, which can determine the success aspect of the theory of personality. Along with this, the consistency of the theory has been maintained by engagement (Adler and Harry Stack Sullivan, 1986).

Analysing Psychological Types Through Personality Theory

Alfred Adler was able to analyse all types of psychology potentially. In addition, the manifestation of different levels of energy has been highlighted through these psychological types. There are four categories in psychology, which were analysed by Alfred Adler.

Ruling Type − The general tendency toward aggressive and dominant characteristics is highlighted, potentially due to the presence of ruling types of psychology. People with this psychological type can possess an intense energy potential (Adler and Harry Stack Sullivan, 1986).

Leaning Type − The sensitivity of people has been highlighted potentially by the psychological types. This psychological type helps them to protect themselves. The lack of energy and dependence on energy are highlighted successfully by these psychological types. People with this psychological type are more prone to phobias, anxiety, and general anxiety.

Avoiding Type − People of these kinds of psychological types face problems due to their insufficient energy. People who avoid types of psychology are more likely to develop psychotic symptoms.

Socially Useful Type − People of this psychological type are physically strong. Along with this, great social interest and energy are noticed among these people.


Following are the significant advantages of this theory −

  • This theory helps to learn about the root of their behavior.
  • Striving for superiority has been authentically analysed by this theory of personality.
  • A sense of inferiority can be highlighted.


However, along with its advantages, the theory has some limitations −

  • Lack of depth is considered an effective problem and a limitation of this personality theory.
  • Another effective limitation of this theory of personality is that it is easily overwhelmed by various concepts.
  • The complexity of the concept is another issue.


Various psychological characteristics are present among people, which may have a positive or negative impact on human behavior. Implementation of Alfred Adler’s theory of personality helps to analyse human behaviour successfully, which is also included in this study. According to Adler, starving for superiority should maintain the growth and development of human behaviour. All kinds of inferiority complexes in human behavior should be highlighted potentially through this theory of personality, which is also concluded in this study. This feeling of inferiority is also highlighted authentically due to the presence of this theory by Alfred Adler. According to Alfred Adler, a superior complex is the opposite aspect of an inferiority complex, which is also reflected through the proper investable feeling of inferiority. From this study, it can be concluded that the term "ego psychology" has been introduced successfully. The development of people is also highlighted authentically because of Adler's theory of personality.


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