Born in Vienna in 1870



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Born in Vienna in 1870

  • Born in Vienna in 1870

  • Rickets prevented him from walking until age 4

  • Sickly as a child

    • Was his mother’s favorite until age 2 when dethroned by another baby
  • Could not compete with older brother (who happened to be named Sigmund)



Poor student when younger

  • Poor student when younger

  • Several experiences w/ death

    • Pnemonia
    • Hit twice by cars
    • Younger brother
  • Cemetery story



Overcame earlier problems to become a good student and athlete

  • Overcame earlier problems to become a good student and athlete

  • Received medical degree in 1895 from University of Vienne

    • Became physician to fight death
    • Particularly interested in children’s issues
  • Married in 1897, four children



Moved into psychiatry and joined Freud’s discussion group by invitation in 1907

  • Moved into psychiatry and joined Freud’s discussion group by invitation in 1907

  • Broke with Freud in 1911

  • Served as physician in the Austrian army in WWI

  • Moved to US in 1934

  • Died in 1937



All individuals feel inferior

  • All individuals feel inferior

    • Inferiority complex
    • Superiority Complex
  • Individuals deal with inferiority through

    • Compensation:
      • concentrate on building the weakness
      • emphasize other functions
      • Masculine protest


  • Motivated to strive from a “felt minus”(feeling of inferiority) towards a “felt plus” (feelings of superiority, perfection, and totality)

  • Motivating force behind all behavior is called Striving for Perfection or Superiority

    • the desire for competence and mastery over ones environment


Results in the development of the Fictional Goal (Fictional Finalism)

  • Results in the development of the Fictional Goal (Fictional Finalism)

      • The imagined goal or desirable future state that motivates and guides us (whether true or not)
        • Unhealthy are inflexible (“The neurotic is nailed to the cross of his fiction…”)
        • Healthy people modify (“… The normal individual, too, can and will create his deity …… but will never lose sight of reality …)
      • Later called this Guiding Self Idea


Fictional Goal directs an individuals style of life (lifestyle)

  • Fictional Goal directs an individuals style of life (lifestyle)

    • Our unique combination of motives, interests, attitudes and values.
    • Determines how we will act in any situation.
      • Helps lead to consistency and uniqueness of personality
    • Begins as a compensatory process making up for a particular inferiority
    • Includes individual concepts about self, the world and one’s unique way of striving for goals (unifier of personality)


Style of Life

    • Style of Life
    • Established by age 4 or 5 using the Creative Self
      • the dynamic force that allows us to use our experiences and heredity to construct our style of life
    • Can be identified through an individual’s early memories


Four types of lifestyles

  • Four types of lifestyles

    • Ruling type
    • Getting type
    • Avoiding type
    • Socially useful type


Ruling type:

  • Ruling type:

    • Seeks to dominate others
      • Directly by bullying, etc
      • Indirectly by suicide attempts, addictions, etc.


Getting type



Avoiding type

  • Avoiding type

    • Try to not deal with problems, etc.
      • Phobias part of this


Socially useful type

  • Socially useful type

    • Innate trait that makes all humans value contributing to society and the common good of others.
    • The most productive way to compensate for individual feelings of inferiority
    • The more socially oriented the healthier the individual
      • Gemeinschaftsgefuhl


Factors of maladjustment of neurotics

  • Factors of maladjustment of neurotics

    • Underdeveloped social interest
    • Live in their own private world
    • Set their goals too high
    • Have rigid and dogmatic style of life


Neuroticism creates need for Safeguarding Strategies (defense mechanisms)

  • Neuroticism creates need for Safeguarding Strategies (defense mechanisms)

    • Three types
      • Excuses or rationalizing strategies
        • As if excusing them from life due to their illness or symptoms
          • “Yes, but…”
          • “If only ….”
        • Often experience secondary gain as a result of this


Aggressive strategies

      • Aggressive strategies
        • Open or disguised hostility toward self or others
          • Depreciation
          • * devalue others through threats or inflating own value
          • Accusation
          • * blame others (no personal responsibility)
          • Self accusation
          • * blame self in such a way that it attracts attention, sympathy, etc.
          • * sometimes induces guilt in others


Distancing strategies

      • Distancing strategies
        • Distances themselves from life’s problems
        • Restricts participation in life
        • Avoids challenging situations when there is risk of failure


Family Constellation

  • Family Constellation

    • Family Roles
  • Treatment

    • Pampering
    • Rejection


Birth Order (situation into which child is born)

  • Birth Order (situation into which child is born)

    • Oldest child
      • Worst position
    • Middle child
    • Youngest child
      • Second worst position
    • Only child




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