Alfred Adler : biography
Alfred W. AdlerAlfred Adler, "Mathematics and Creativity," The New Yorker, 1972, reprinted in Timothy Ferris, ed., The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics, Back Bay Books, reprint, June 30, 1993, p, 435. (February 7, 1870 – May 28, 1937) was an Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiorityAlfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) Chapter 6 – the inferiority complex – is recognized as isolating an element which plays a key role in personality development. Alfred Adler considered human beings as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology "Individual Psychology" (Orgler 1976).
Adler was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in the re-adjustment process of the individual and who carried psychiatry into the community.http://journals1.scholarsportal.info.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/details-sfx.xqy?uri=/00207640/v22i0001/67_aa.xml
Death and cremation
Adler died suddenly in Aberdeen, Scotland, in May 1937, during a three-week visit to the University of Aberdeen. While walking down the street, he was seen to collapse and lie motionless on the sidewalk. As a man ran over to him and loosened his collar, Adler mumbled "Kurt", the name of his son and died. The autopsy performed determined his death was caused by a degeneration of the heart muscle. His body was cremated at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh but the ashes were never reclaimed. In 2007, his ashes were rediscovered in a casket at Warriston Crematorium and returned to Vienna for burial in 2011.
In the early 1930s, after most of Adler’s Austrian clinics had been closed due to his Jewish heritage (despite his conversion to Christianity), Adler left Austria for a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine in the USA. Adler died from a heart attack in 1937 in Aberdeen, Scotland, during a lecture tour, although his cremains went missing and were unaccounted for until 2007. His death was a temporary blow to the influence of his ideas, although a number of them were subsequently taken up by neo-Freudians. Through the work of Rudolf Dreikurs in the United States and many other adherents worldwide, Adlerian ideas and approaches remain strong and viable more than 70 years after Adler’s death.
Around the world there are various organizations promoting Adler’s orientation towards mental and social well-being. These include the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI), the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology (NASAP) and the International Association for Individual Psychology. Teaching institutes and programs exist in Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Switzerland, the United States, Jamaica, Peru, and Wales.
English-language Adlerian journals
- North America
- (University of Texas Press)
- The Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology (Adlerian Psychology Association of British Columbia)
- United Kingdom
- Adlerian Yearbook (Adlerian Society, UK)
Adler began his medical career as an ophthalmologist, but he soon switched to general practice, and established his office in a less affluent part of Vienna across from the Prater, a combination amusement park and circus. His clients included circus people, and it has been suggested that the unusual strengths and weaknesses of the performers led to his insights into "organ inferiorities" and "compensation".
In 1902 Adler received an invitation from Sigmund Freud to join an informal discussion group that included Rudolf Reitler and Wilhelm Stekel. The group, the "Wednesday Society" (Mittwochsgesellschaft), met regularly on Wednesday evenings at Freud’s home and was the beginning of the psychoanalytic movement, expanding over time to include many more members. A long-serving member of the group, Adler became president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society eight years later (1910). He remained a member of the Society until 1911, when he and a group of his supporters formally disengaged from Freud’s circle, the first of the great dissenters from orthodox psychoanalysis (preceding Carl Jung’s split in 1914). This departure suited both Freud and Adler, since they had grown to dislike each other. During his association with Freud, Adler frequently maintained his own ideas which often diverged from Freud’s. While Adler is often referred to as a "a pupil of Freud’s", in fact this was never true; they were colleagues, Freud referring to him in print in 1909 as "My colleague Dr Alfred Adler".Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 41n In 1929 Adler showed a reporter with the New York Herald a copy of the faded postcard that Freud had sent him in 1902. He wanted to prove that he had never been a disciple of Freud’s but rather that Freud had sought him out to share his ideas.