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Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)

AdlerAdler was born just outside of Vienna on February 7, 1870. Alfred Adler was born the second of six children in Penzing, Austria on February 7, 1870, the son of a Jewish grain merchant. Sickly as a child, he did not walk until age four because of rickets; at age five Adler developed pneumonia and was diagnosed as unlikely to survive. He did recover, but was so profoundly shaken by the experience that he resolved to become a doctor himself someday in order to help the suffering caused by such illness and disease.

After graduating with a medical degree in 1895 from the University of Vienna, he began his career as an ophthalmologist, but soon switched to general practice in a less affluent area of Vienna near an amusement park and circus. Working with people from the circus, Adler was inspired by the performers’ unusual strengths and weaknesses. It has been suggested that Adler began to develop his insights on compensation and inferiority during this time.

Alfred Adler was a physician, psychotherapist, and the founder of Adlerian psychology, sometimes called individual psychology. He is considered the first community psychologist, because his work pioneered attention to community life, prevention, and population health. Adlerian psychology emphasizes the human need and ability to create positive social change and impact.

Adler’s theories of personality development, especially his belief that the most basic human drive is the striving from an initial state of inadequacy, or what he termed “inferiority”, toward “superiority”, or self-actualization. Adler’s work stressed the importance of nurturing feelings of belonging and striving for superiority. He held equality, civil rights, mutual respect, and the advancement of democracy as core values. He was one of the first practitioners to provide family and group counseling and to use public education as a way to address community health. He was among the first to write about the social determinants of health and of mental health.

Adapted from:  NNDB, http://www.nndb.com/people/256/000097962/

Adler University, https://www.adler.edu/page/about/history/about-alfred-adler



  1. ezitterk says:

    i understand his explanations of how a low self esteem, inferiority, can be transform from inside out into a success


  2. JESSICA BRUNS says:

    I agree with his theory. In my opinion we can be however we want. All depend about our mind. Superiority and Inferiority is very important in our life. The way that we accept ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Abdi Abera says:

    Alfred Adler is psychologist who found the Adlerian psychology. Growing alone affect his personal change. Specially, having the disease called rickets help him to think and learn about health to help those who have a problem with health and rickets. having rickets pushed him to help his community.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kiana Jeanniton says:

    I agree with Adler’s theory; I think that people feeling like you are needed and like you belong is important to your self-actualization. He experience with the circus helped him realized what he wanted to do with his studies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Olivia Filipowich says:

    I don’t understand how striving for superiority can be the same core value has equality, civil rights, etc etc. But his theories have to do with the human need to be a part of social change.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sherryrem26 says:

    Alfred Adler sickness as a child gave him the strength to achieve his childhood dreams, of becoming a doctor in order to help others who may suffer from the same illnesses as he had.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kdhernandez11 says:

    He is considered the first community psychologist in Vienna.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. eguerrieo says:

    The illness as a child must have been incredibly traumatic to serve as such great motivator for his community geared studies.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. anthonymansi001 says:

    Stressed the importance of nurturing feelings and striving superiority.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fernando L Sousa says:

    the father of the inferiority complex, also was the first to conceptualize 1 on 1 therapy

    Liked by 1 person

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