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Individual Psychology

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By delisabeth25
Words 1741
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Theory of Individual Psychology
Diana Dias
Brandman University

Individual Psychology Personality Theory The theory of individual psychology is based on Alfred Adler’s individual psychology proposal. Adler’s personality theory, individual psychology is a theory of human behavior stressing the attempt to overcome feelings of inferiority by benefiting the commitment to accomplish personal goals that have a purpose in the community (Schultz, 113). From his perspective he saw everyone as being social. We are all different individuals but our personalities are different based on our communication with others and our surroundings (Schultz, 113). He also thought the route of our personalities was based on the conscious versus the unconscious because more importantly we are always working on ourselves and managing our future.
Summary of major principles One of the first major principles of individual psychology is “The Source for Human Striving.” Due to Alfred Adler’s early experience with his illness he felt he provided more on the inferiority and superiority complexes. In individual psychology inferiority complexes are a natural circumstance of all individuals or otherwise known as all humans striving (Shultz, 116). To overcome the inferiority complex you need to have compensation, which are the effort people need to conquer the feeling of inferiority and to tackle for more high levels of development. According to the individual psychology theory this action starts from the time you are an infant to when that infant is aware of their parents. As a baby you know your parents are the courageous and great influencers. In the striving for superiority principle we push to make ourselves perfect and complete. We want to be able to be superior over others. Striving for superiority is the desire to be able to accomplish something that inspires us. Everyone has the capability to develop his or her own complete goals. Adler believed in his individual psychology theory that people assumed that everyone was good. These assumptions affected how we socialize with other people (Schultz,118). In the style of life Adler believed in his individual psychology theory that people establish an exclusive personality. During this time is when children pick up behaviors. These types of behaviors become part of their style of life (Schultz, 119). This then becomes the foundation for all types of behaviors that come up later on in life. Everything we do in life is created by our own individuality or style of life. In this principle it is believed that we create our own style of life. According to Adler we establish our selves, personality and character. With the social interest principle we make choices that benefit our society overall. This will help us achieve our own personal and cultural goals. The original theory in this principle was called Gemeinschaftsgefuhl, which translates to a community feeling. Having social interest gives us a positive outlook on life. We are interested in benefiting the well being of other people. However if we cannot work together and do not have a damaged lifestyle, we can grow together to help our society (Schultz, 120). Finally Birth Order is one of Individual psychology most important principles. He thought a person’s birth order was a big impact in childhood. Just because siblings have the same parents does not mean they have the same social environments. Based on Adler’s theory if your parents have different parental approaches this will make your childhood different and create your own personality (Schultz, 121-22). The way they parent your siblings could be different then how you were parented due to different types of conditions. Each individual has a different personality based on his or her birth order.

Gender and Culture Compared to any other theory individual psychology is something that still influences us throughout our daily lives and culture throughout the world. Neglecting a person’s cultural background and beliefs is identical to forgetting about someone’s child. According to Adler and his personality theory you have to learn about a persons different experiences. You have to see their thoughts and values, which could be different than the dominant culture. How was the Individual psychology theory accepted into other countries? This theory was based on acceptance, social interest, holism and social equality (Sperry & Carlson, 206). Adler in Europe and North America first developed the Individual psychology theory before coming to Western cultures. The differences in Gender and Culture in Western Cultures versus Asian cultures are that Asian cultures are the importance of collectivism versus individualism. China is considered a collectivist culture and western cultures are considered individualistic cultures (Sun & Bitter, 234). The western cultures focus on personal accomplishments despite the cost of group goals, emerging in a healthy environment. In a collectivist culture or Asian cultures they focus on work, family and group goals based on each persons commitments and ambitions. Another difference is that in China their social groups characterize individual knowledge and growth. In China people are valued more compared to technology or awareness (Sun & Bitter, 235). Compared to people in the United States if you act badly in your social groups you are looked down upon. Personality Development The theory of Individual Psychology definitely has a personality development. In the Individual psychology personality theory Alfred Adler was one of the first known theorist to propose that birth order impacts our personality. Birth order leaves a memorable influence on the person’s style of life, which is an established way of handling responsibilities that include friendship, love and work (Schultz, 121). All human beings have a birth order and it is easily spoken about in our current society. Children spend more time with their parents at home then they do with their peers at school. Their younger siblings usually look up to older siblings. In other words they are considered role models, advisors and caregivers (Eckstein & Kaufman, 61). Adler had many childhood memories that were based on his older brother. From his perspective he thought his brother was the family favorite. He said that the older siblings personality is developed on how they command and manage communications with their siblings. However learned behaviors happen throughout each family and form different types of personalities within the family ((Eckstein & Kaufman, 65). Parents also treat first-born children differently than last-born children. Based on birth order personalities first borns are more likely to become accountants, airline pilots, architects, astronauts, college professors, computer programmers, dentists, high school teachers, lawyers, physicians, politicians, or veterinarian. Whereas last borns are more likely to become actors, artists, firefighters, journalists, musicians, photographers, social workers, or stunt men or women. Also based on personality development the first-born is expected to have high expectations. Personality Over the Lifespan Individual psychology affects the personality over our entire lifespan. Throughout our human lifespan our personality is affected by the individual psychology personality theory. This includes friendship, social contact, one's occupation or profession; and love and marriage (Mitchell). Our personality through the life span has something to do with how happy we are in our lives through a great amount of social interest. We develop due to how we are taken care of by our parents, how we are treated by teachers and our ability to cooperate throughout life. Through our life and through this personality theory we have leaned how to contribute, and face our life with confidence and a positive mindset. Though throughout the human lifespan we also face challenges that we are forced to deal with. Also our birth order also states that our personalities are affected throughout the human lifespan in individual psychology. This is only a simple approach to make our personalities better throughout our life. If we understand ourselves we make the most of our experiences and develop a better personality, as we grow older. Opinion of Theory In my opinion I think the individual personality is pretty accurate. It is accurate because it treats people fairly and it covers a range of parts that affect a person’s personality. Also as individuals we are want to be perfect and strive for perfection. We want to fulfill our greatest potentials and come closer to our ideal goals. It explains all the aspects of personality because it is how people live life, handle problems and interpersonal relationships. In my opinion I think more information needs to be added about adulthood and the entire lifespan based on Adler’s individual personality theory. I think also he should have added more information on the birth order. If you come from a big family your personality is bound to be a lot different than if you come from a smaller size family. I have personally seen this in my own personal family. Adler personality theory was pretty simple however it did not get a lot of critiquing. Many researchers stated that he was not consistent with his work and there is a lot more work to be done on his individual psychology personality theory. (Schultz, 136). In conclusion the individual psychology personality theory is still used today. Our inferiority feelings are something we as individuals will always use in human striving. Our inferior feelings help is to sole problems throughout our entire life. These feelings usually start from the beginning of our lives and continue throughout the human lifespan. A superiority complex also had a lot to do with the individual psychology personality theory. We focus on being perfect and accomplishing our goals to be whole and complete. (Schultz, 136). Order of birth was also a major influence in this theory that helped develop our personalities. Adler had great views on this personality theory that continue to affect our personalities throughout our lives. His researches showed that first-born’s are high achievers and last born’s are more likely to look up to the first-borns.

References

"Alfred Adler & Adlerian Individual Psychology." Alfred Adler & Adlerian Individual Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2015.

Eckstein, Daniel, and Jason A. Kaufman. "The Role of Birth Order in Personality: An Enduring Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Adler." The Journal of Individual Psychology 68.1 (2012): 60-72. Web.

Shufang, Sun, and James Robert Bitter. "From China to South Korea: Two Perspectives on Individual Psychology in Asia." The Journal of Individual Psychology 68 (2012): 233-48. Web

Sperry, Len, and Jon Carlson. "The Global Significance of Individual Psychology: An Introduction and Overview." The Journal of Individual Psychology 68.3 (2012): 205-09. Web.

Schultz, Duane P. Theories of Personality. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole Pub., 1976. Print.

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