What is Adlerian Psychology?

psychologyParent Education Network is founded on the philosophy of Adlerian psychology whose approach to humanity places the virtues of equality, respect and democratic freedom as its guiding principles. This psychological theory stems back to the work of Dr. Alfred Adler (1927) who created the theory of personality called Individual Psychology.

A student of Adler, Dr. Rudolf Driekurs was fundamental in bringing this theory of equality and respect in humanity to the family life and the work of child rearing. His work speaks to families and the raising of children as democratic citizens through the lenses of the Five Basic Principles of Adlerian Psychology:

The first understanding is that we, all people, of all ages are socially embedded. This notion is based on the belief that humans are social beings whose main goal is to “belong, to find our place in the group”.

The second principle is that as human beings we are self-determining. Adler stated that “life is movement” and that we shape our own destiny. “We not only react – we act; therefore, we can change (Adlerian optimism)”.

The third principle, we are goal-directed. “We are not pushed by causes, but rather pulled by goals and our own dynamic striving. Causes usually cannot be changed, but goals, once they are recognized, offer a choice”.

The fourth principle of Adlerian psychology is that we are subjective as human beings. “It is not what happens to us, but how we feel about it. Reality is as we perceive it. There is no absolute truth for us – reality or truth is how we feel, what it means to us. Blindness can be perceived as a handicap to use as an excuse, to withdraw, or demand help and service OR Blindness is a handicap to overcome to become self-sufficient and actively participate in life”.

Finally, the fifth principle is that we are all holistic beings. “A part is never understood by itself. “A whole is more than the sum of its parts”.

These fundamental principles are simply an introduction to Adlerian psychology, the philosophy that guides Parent Education Network in our parent education workshops and courses. This theory explores many aspects of personality development including the factors which influence the formation of personality, birth order, lifestyle, life tasks and emotions. This philosophy weaves through our educative work as we further practical parent education to aid in effective child rearing through equality and respect.

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