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Adler on Confidence and Neuroses

 Adler on Confidence and Neuroses

 

 

       Most of all, psychologist Adler wanted to create a practical psychology and psychotherapy that would be consistent with everyday life. In particular, he was interested in developing such a system that would explain the causes of neuroses, and also serve as the basis for psychotherapeutic treatment of such disorders. In this part of the chapter, we will discuss the possibilities of using Adler's concepts to understand the nature of neuroses, as well as to mitigate the clinical manifestations of neurosis and depression using the psychotherapy proposed by Adler.

 

    

Adler on Confidence and Neuroses

 

        The nature of neurosis

       From Adler's point of view, neurosis should be viewed as a diagnostically ambiguous term that encompasses numerous behavioral disorders, for which they resort to the help of a psychologist to this day. These disorders are characterized by a variety of symptoms (eg, anxiety, thoughts of death, fears, obsessive-compulsive behavior). Adler studied in clinical observation how patients with neuroses or depression use their past and present experience to avoid responsibility and maintain self-esteem. In contrast to the views of the founder of psychoanalysis and the first psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, according to which symptoms act as a means of controlling instinctive impulses and as a way to satisfy these impulses, Adler considered the appearance of symptoms as a mechanism of self-defense - a defensive strategy of the I.


        What is neurosis?

       Adler devoted whole volumes to neurotic behavior, and perhaps the following definition he gave is best suited for our task: "Neurosis is the natural, logical development of a relatively inactive individual, egocentrically striving for superiority and therefore has a delay in the development of social interest that we observe constantly in the most passive, pampered lifestyles. "


       If we consider the components of this definition separately, then it is easier to evaluate many of Adler's discoveries as a psychoanalyst about the neurotic personality. "Comparatively inactive" refers to the parameter "level of activity" included in the section of Adler's typology, where he discusses the attitudes accompanying the style of life. In Adler's understanding, patients with neuroses are characterized by a decrease in the level of activity necessary for the correct solution of their life problems. Likewise, Adler believed that if these people had a higher activity, they could become criminals!

 

       The second key point in Adler's definition - "egocentrically striving for superiority" - means that neurotic sufferers usually struggle for their selfish goals in life. In other words, neurotic individuals with excessive stress move towards exaggerated goals of self-aggrandizement due to the sincere concern of others. This is the main meaning of the "delay in the development of social interest" in the above definition. Adler was convinced that the desire for superiority in neurotic individuals is more pronounced than in healthy people, and this forces them to fight more adamantly for its achievement. Both tendencies were seen by Adler as compensation for the deep-seated feelings of inferiority in neurotics.

 

       The last part of the definition - "the most passive, pampered lifestyles" - reflects Adler's belief that neurotic patients essentially want to be pampered by others. Having low social interest and insufficient social activity for solving life problems, neurotics want to depend only on others for solving their everyday problems.

 

       Trying to understand the personality of the patient, Adler also used psychoanalytic tools such as empathy, intuition and assumptions. He believed that with the help of empathy (the ability to put oneself in the patient's place), one can achieve the necessary level of intuitive understanding of the patient's erroneous life plan. If the picture still did not become clear, Adler resorted to assumptions, put forward hypotheses about the reasons for the patient's behavior, which can be clarified during the analysis and compared with the subsequent observed behavior. He attached great importance to the expression of the patient, his expressive behavior (for example, body language, facial expression, gait, posture, gestures) and symptoms. Just like Freud, Adler paid attention to every facet of the patient's behavior, and little went unnoticed.


         Deepening the patient's self-understanding.

 

       For the treatment to progress successfully, it is not enough just for the psychotherapist to understand the patient's erroneous life plan. The latter must come to a certain level of understanding and acceptance of what he has realized. In other words, the patient must gain insight into the origin of his false goals, lifestyle and the neurotic symptoms they cause. Adler clearly understood how to lead the patient to a better understanding of himself: "I found that the only correct way is to trace the patient's neurotic line of behavior in all his feelings and thoughts, to reveal it and at the same time to gently teach the patient to do the same." Adler's followers, without hurrying and without hurting patients, consistently led them to that stage of therapy when they wanted to listen and understand what was the fallacy of their lifestyle. As the eminent therapist of the Adler school, Rudolf Dreikurs, noted, tact and avoidance of dogmatic statements are crucial in this process. Therefore, trying to find an explanation for this or that phenomenon, the therapist should use expressions like the following: "May I say that ..?" or "Could it be that ..?" In addition, the therapist must provide clear explanations to the patient. Then "the patient quickly realizes and understands the meaning of his own experiences." It can be assumed that once Gwen has discovered her erroneous goals of egocentric superiority and achieved a clear understanding that painful symptoms are the result of a neurotic lifestyle, Gwen will reorient herself to a more socially constructive lifestyle. She will need to consistently transform her perception and understanding of what is happening, begin to interact with others differently (for example, to perceive others differently than assessing their intellectual underdevelopment), to discard her arrogance and alienation in interpersonal relationships. It should be noted that Adler constantly emphasized: in the process of therapy, not the therapist, but above all the patient is responsible for the successful outcome of the therapy.

 

        Strengthening social interest.

 

       Adler considered the development of social interest as the main goal of psychotherapy: “All my efforts are aimed at increasing the patient's social interest. I know that the true cause of this disease is a low ability to interact with others in a coordinated manner, and I want the patient to understand this. he will begin to communicate and cooperate with others on an equal basis, he is healed. " This quote shows that Adler psychotherapy is a collaborative exercise. The task of the therapist here is to teach the patient such interpersonal contact with others, which facilitates the transfer of the patient's awakened social feelings to other people. This is achieved by therapists by encouraging social cooperation in the patient, and seeking to weaken his sense of superiority while increasing social interest. In carrying out the therapeutic task of developing a social feeling in the patient, the therapist of the Adler school belatedly assumes the maternal role. As the level of social interest increases during treatment, the patient's selfish goals are replaced with useful life goals. He becomes more confident and bolder, begins to live without manifestations of psychological defense (neurotic symptoms), which serve as an excuse for an erroneous lifestyle. As the level of social interest increases during treatment, the patient's selfish goals are replaced with useful life goals. He becomes more confident and bolder, begins to live without manifestations of psychological defense (neurotic symptoms), which serve as an excuse for an erroneous lifestyle. As the level of social interest increases during treatment, the patient's selfish goals are replaced with useful life goals. He becomes more confident and bolder, begins to live without manifestations of psychological defense (neurotic symptoms), which serve as an excuse for an erroneous lifestyle.

 

       Strengthening social interest is a kind of reorientation and re-education of the patient, that is, those processes, the implementation of which Adler's students regarded as the most important stage in therapy.

 

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