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  #1  
Unread February 18th, 2005, 10:51 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. I & II (Melancholia, Paranoia, & Childhood)

On February 21st, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume , Chapters I & II. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. I in CCWAA Vol. 4, Melancholia and Paranoia (1914) is a study on the theory of psychoses. Adler's treatment of his theme is more systematic than in some of his earlier papers. In the beginning of his study, Adler refers to The Neurotic Character (CCWAA, Vol. 1) and summarizes his earlier conclusions on the theory of psychoses. Adler states that for psychotic persons, it is characteristic that they are searching for detours and distancing to dodge the expectations of society and to escape a realistic self-evaluation as well as personal responsibility (p. 1). According to Adler, the sense of self-worth of the melancholic [depressive] people has been low. As a consequence, they make constant attempts to gain great prestige. They often emphasize their lost opportunities for exceptional development. In their manic ideas, they present an unshakable assumption that they are super-beings (god-likeness, p. 3). - Aggressive, systematic ideas are characteristic for paranoid persons. Their sense of self of self is driven to the point of god-likeness structured on a base of a deep-seated feeling of inferiority (p. 10). The chapter concludes with a separate appendix, a case-study on the dreams of a melancholic [depressive] client.

Ch. II in CCWAA Vol. 4, The Social Impact on Childhood (1914) is a paper on the social context of psychological development. In the beginning of the chapter, Adler says that "Everything related to child rearing must be considered with the individual in mind." The idea of "social usefulness" is central in child rearing. Adler refuses to provide clear-cut rules for education because this activity is basically more an art than science. However, there are general ideas that guide the normal development of the child. Both discipline and freedom are needed. The impact of social environment is important for the development of the feeling of trust. So the environment should provide the child with solid and logical values that everyone, the educators as well and the children, respect. Too much hardness may destroy the child's trust in other people. What matters, is not behavior as such but the wider perspectives and goals of the child and of the educator. Their general attitudes and life-goals are important in determining the future outcome of the educational process. The social attitudes hide behind the behavior, and they are often difficult to change. In the most difficult cases, psychotherapeutic intervention is needed.

To order your copy of Volume 4, go to http://www.Adlerian.us/cwaa-v4.htm.
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Last edited by Henry Stein; February 27th, 2010 at 11:26 AM.
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  #2  
Unread February 24th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. I & II (Melancholia, Paranoia, & Childhood)

(Chapter II) Regarding the difficulties in changing the hidden attitudes behind behavior, many parent education workshops focus on strategic methods for altering a child's misbehavior. Few parent-led workshops address the more formidable task of changing the parent's core attitude. In many cases, this requires a therapeutic intervention, which cannot be identified or offered if the workshop leader is not a trained, mental health professional.
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Unread March 3rd, 2005, 10:00 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. III & IV (Unity, Goal, & Origin of Neurosis)

On February 28th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume , Chapters III & IV. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. III in Vol. 4 of CCWAA, Individual Psychology: Its Presumptions and Results (1914) is a study on the philosophical and theoretical premises of Individual Psychology. In the beginning of the chapter, Adler defends his thesis that the unity of the individual and intuitive are essential elements of a psychology that has practical aims as its goal of study. If one knows the goals of the person, one is able to deduce the concrete actions the person performs. As a prerequisite, Adler presumes that the social context of the person and of his/her actions is also known. Adler emphasizes the importance of the goal: "It is not possible for us to think, feel, desire, or act without envisioning a goal. All the causalities are not sufficient for a living organism to overcome a chaotic future and obviate the haphazardness to which we would become victim." The psychological manifestations of the personality are best understood as directed toward superiority. Adler argues that "personal feelings" are predominant over "objective views". In the end of his paper, Adler formulates that our goal is to achieve a strengthened sense of reality and responsibility, and to seek to replace latent hatred with mutual good will. Adler refers also to Dostoevsky. In the novel A Raw Youth one can find a masterful description of the power fantasies in young children.

Ch. IV in Vol. 4 of CCWAA, Child Psychology and Neurosis Research (1914), Adler discusses the origin of neurosis. According to Adler, neurotic developments can be traced back to a person's first and second years of life. During this time the child's attitude toward its environment is formed. A common feature to children and neurotics is their lack of independence. Both need others to serve them. Adler says that it is imperative that one should never draw conclusions or make interpretations based on a single detail, but one should always judge from the total context. In the second part of the chapter, Adler examines more closely and in the light of some case-studies the complicated manifestations of neuroses. Adler closes the chapter presenting ten concluding remarks, or theses. Of these, I have chosen thesis number 3: Just as an insufficient organ creates an unbearable situation out of which grow numerous attempts of compensation until the organism feels itself equal to the demands, so does the child's psyche out of a feeling of insecurity seek that font of extra strength to rise above that feeling of insecurity.

To order your copy of Volume 4, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v4.htm.
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Unread March 4th, 2005, 10:29 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. III & IV (Unity, Goal, & Origin of Neurosis)

Chapter IV: There appears to be a reciprocal relationship between the depth of the inferiority feeling and the height of the fictional, final goal. One can imagine the degree of tension generated by this psychological "gap." The original feeling of inferiority, prompts a compensatory goal, which then requires the fuel of perpetual, intensified feelings of inferiority to propel the individual upward in his quest. What starts as a "causal" push, eventually becomes a "causal" pull. A self-inflicted sense of inferiority may act as a springboard thrusting the imagination toward dreams of Godlikeness. When a goal is impossible to reach in reality, it can be bridged by retreating from reality into fantasy or even into delusion.
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  #5  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 12:25 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. III & IV (Unity, Goal, & Origin of Neurosis)

Chapter III: Adler says in the end of the chapter (p. 36), that "our goal is to achieve a strengthened sense of reality and responsibility, and to seek to replace the latent hatred with mutual good will. This, however, can only be attained through a deliberate unfolding of social feeling and a conscious renunciation of the striving for power." It seems to me that Adler wants to say here (and in a number of other places) that psychical normality can only develop if there is a strong social feeling that dominates the context. Striving for power is here defined as the antithesis of social feeling. There are still some interesting comments of political nature that Adler makes before he closes this paper.
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  #6  
Unread March 9th, 2005, 09:41 AM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. III & IV (Unity, Goal, & Origin of Neurosis)

Henry, I quite agree with you about the reciprocal relationship between depth of inferiority feeling and height of compensatory goal. Many of the patients I see in the psychiatric hospital in which I work clearly show this in the formation of their delusions. Their lives have often consisted of one misery after another, painfully exacerbating their inferiority feelings, and their delusions offer them a solace they cannot hope to achieve in reality. There is, in fact, a difficult point in therapy when - through the therapeutic relationship - consensuality increases to the point where they can begin to let go of their delusions, but then they are faced with a rather bleak reality in which they must slowly construct something meaningful, which is quite a frightening prospect for many of them (as it would be for any of us, were we in their situation).

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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Unread March 10th, 2005, 05:09 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. III & IV (Unity, Goal, & Origin of Neurosis)

Trevor, a somewhat parallel dynamic also occurs in the psychotherapy of non-delusional clients, if they proceed far enough in the therapeutic process. Dissolving a style of life and a fictional final goal, although infrequent, is possible in the later stages of Classical Adlerian psychotherapy. The experience is one of temporary disorientation, but not anxiety. This state is described more fully in the "Goal Redirection Stage" of therapy at http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/theoprac.htm. Once this new horizon opens up, the individual can begin to develop in the direction of the fully functioning person that Abraham Maslow described in Motivation and Personality and The Father Reaches of Human Nature. This level of "growth motivation" (as contrasted with "deficiency motion") is no longer caught in the opposing grips of an inferiority feeling and fictional final goal.
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Unread March 4th, 2005, 10:37 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4, Chapt. V, VI, & VII (Distance, Hunger Strike, & Life-lie

On March 7th, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume , Chapters V, VI, & VII. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. V in vol. 4 of CCWAA is a paper that bears the name The Problem of Distancing Oneself (1914). The sub-title of the paper is "On a basic problem of neurosis and psychosis". A normal person solves, according to Adler, his/her social, professional and sexual problems, while a neurotic prefers to fend us off with symptoms and reasons for his/her failures. Adler defines neurosis as a "yes-but" condition. On the one hand, the neurotic personality gives expression to inferiority feelings, on the other hand, he/she has a compulsive striving upwards, for a goal of godlikeness. In this paper, Adler defines his famous directions of psychical movement: 1) Retrogression that in extreme cases means suicidal attempts, various grave forms of psychosomatic illness, hysterical paralysis, and so on. The persons normal activities will become impossible. 2) Stagnation. These manifestations are security measures meant to prevent crossing the line. 3) Doubt and a mental or physical "back and forth" ensures that distance is kept. This is open field for compulsion neurosis. 4) Creating obstacles, together with overcoming them, as a indication of distancing. In the end of his paper, Adler points out that where these neurotic methods are manifested, the prospects for any personal responsibility appear to have been abrogated.

Ch. VI is titled Neurotic Hunger Strike (1914). It is discussion on a problem that today would be called most probably anorexia nervosa. This short paper is surprisingly modern. Adler says that this problem (fear of eating) begins at about age 17 and almost exclusively affects girls. Today, the age of onset is probably earlier because the biological maturation is today faster that a century ago. Adler presents a number of rather striking cases that describe this condition and the problems it entails. In his discussion of the dynamics of the hunger strike, Adler concludes that the affected persons (mainly young women) place high value on nourishment since it is only by overstating it that they can attain their goal of dominating everyone around them (including husband and father). They can be critical of everything and create anxiety in their mothers by denigrating their cooking, dictate the choice of meals, and so on.

Ch. VII The Life-lie and Responsibility in Neurosis and Psychosis (1914) bears the sub-title "A Commentary on Melancholia". According to Adler, the neurotic person creates an inner world on the basis of a failed individual perspective, a world that is in conflict with reality. In order to protect this unreal inner world ("life-lie"), the neurotic needs what Adler calls "safeguarding tendencies". It seems that this concept is used for the very first time in a systematic sense in this paper. In the of his paper, Adler concludes that a melancholic (depressive) person is not really dedicated to anything, feels rootless, and loses easily confidence in him/herself and others. He/she acts hesitantly and recoils from responsibility of any sort. There is intensive use of safeguarding, like excusing himself/herself with falsehoods that contain the evidence of his/her own weakness, but are effective in his/her struggle with others.

To order your copy of Volume 4, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v4.htm.
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  #9  
Unread March 21st, 2005, 12:22 PM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: Cumulative Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4 (Ch. I-VII)

Adler states: "The individual helps it along with his own means, and in that way his entire life is imbued with the life-lie, that calming and anaesthetizing current that is the opinion he holds of himself." (p. 61).

This is interesting, since the term "life-lie" originates in Ibsen's writings. Ibsen apparently believed that the life lie was essential for the continued functioning of the personality, and his physician/psychologist character (in the Wild Duck, I believe) merely tries to steer the life-lie of people in the direction of greater social usefulness (encouraging a useful expression of it, in other words).

Dr. Mark Stone has written extensively on Ibsen's concept of the life-lie for both the International Journal of Individual Psychology and the Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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  #10  
Unread March 21st, 2005, 12:58 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Cumulative Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 4 (Ch. I-VII)

Mark Stone's book Self-Lies and Self Deception is available at Amazon. His article, "Ibsen's Life-lie and Adler's Lifestyle," is in the Fall 1997 (53:3) issue of The Journal of Individual Psychology.
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