Alfred Adler

Alfred Alder was born in 1870. As a child, he suffered from a disease called rickets which enabled him to play outside with other kids. Because of that, he was always jealous of his older brother. At the age of 4, he was so close to dying that the doctor told his father that they will soon lose him; upon hearing this, Alder decided that he would become a doctor. He attended the same school as Freud had attended. He was always unhappy and felt inferior from other kids his age because of his sickness. However, Alder still tried to involve in sports and activities. In order to fulfill his childhood ambition, Alder studied medicine at the University of Vienna. He practiced ophthalmologist, but soon shifted to general medicine. He was interested in studying diseases that could not be cured, but his helplessness of not being able to help the young ones from dying he decided to specialize in neurology and psychiatry. Alder became Freud’s associate in 1902. Every once a week, Freud would invite Alder along with Jung and few other psychologist to his house to discuss Psychoanalysis. Even though, he contributed to Freud’s theory of Psychoanalysis, he was interesting to base the theory more on consciousness that unconsciousness. In 1910, he left Freud and went to develop his own personality theory.

Alder believed that our personalities are developed by our unique social environment and interactions, and not by our efforts to satisfying our biological needs.  He named his personality theory as Individual Psychology because it focused on uniqueness of each person. Alder’s Individual psychology theory included Inferiority, different birth orders, and parenting style. I will be focusing on different birth orders for my website which included: the first-born child, the second-born child, the youngest child and the only child. According to Alder, first-born who later have sibling have the worst, because at first they are in a unique situation. Parents are usually really excited to have their first-born, and they invest a lot of undivided attention on that child. Suddenly, when they are no longer the center of the attention, they begin to be feeling inferior and question arises such as, why they don’t love me? They may grow to be insecure and hostile towards others. Moreover, they are always interested in maintain authority. Alder believed that the first-born always have the most problems growing up. The second-born child is also in somewhat unique situation because they never experience powerful position. Second-born do not experience the sense of dethronement. Parents are less concern about not knowing how to care for the baby because they have already learned it through the first-born. The second-born are not usually concerned with authority; they are more likely to be competitive and very optimistic about the future. The youngest child never faces the sense of dethronement. Observing their older siblings, the youngest child develops at fast pace. The youngest ones get used to being taken care of because everyone loves them, because of that they might find it difficult to adjust as an adult and being independent. The last part of this theory is the only child. The only child never has to struggle for power or attention from the parents. They are always the center of the attention. The only child may mature early because they spend most of their time around adults than younger kids. They do not learn to share or to compete. They might find it difficult in the outside world because they are no longer the center of the attention.

Alder believed that the birth order of a child effects on his/her personality. Alder’s personality theory is totally different from Freud’s theory. Alder’s childhood seems to have affected a lot on his personality theory; he struggled through childhood but did not give up. He grew up to be a very influential person. Alfred Alder died in 1937.

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