We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Adlerian Therapy?

By Gregory Hanson
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Adlerian therapy is a variety of psychotherapy based on the work and theories of Alfred Adler. This variety of therapy focuses largely on examining subjects as social beings and looks for both the root of difficulties and possible solutions largely in a patient's style of life and the network of human relationships with which a patient is surrounded. Personal growth in the areas of intellectual development, emotional maturation, and creative fulfillment, particularly in relation to a larger community, is also a key element of Adlerian therapy.

Adler was an early colleague of Sigmund Freud, and the two scholars considered similar issues relating to human fulfillment, functionality, and the division between the conscious and unconscious elements of the human psyche. The two men agreed that the human mind was driven by both conscious and unconscious forces, with the latter often playing the greater role. They differed, however, in their understanding of what forces shape the human character and how those forces can and should be modified as part of therapy. The most critical difference between the two, and the main contribution of Adler to the practice of therapy, was his emphasis on the importance of fairness in social relationships. Adler concluded that human beings are happiest and most creative and productive when they operate within a world of relative equality.

A key element of Adlerian therapy is the identification of the patterns and structures of a patient's social relationships. Adler and his followers urged balance, fairness, and equality in as many of these relationships as possible. They sought to lessen the then quite pronounced division of power in a family between parents and children and were early advocates of more equal relationships between men and women.

The emphasis on equality in Adlerian therapy derives from Adler's view, shaped in part by the active debate over issues related to socialism that was underway during his lifetime, that the experience of inequality would cause individuals to become uncertain of their own capabilities in an unhealthy manner. Such individuals might develop an inferiority complex. This, in turn, could lead them to overcompensate for their own perceived weaknesses in one of several unhealthy ways.

Practitioners of Adlerian therapy will generally examine certain key areas of their patients' lives, in an attempt to identify points of conflict and disharmony. Childhood experience is one such area of concern for most patients. Issues of birth order and of the often glaringly unequal relationship between siblings that often emerge are frequent subjects of inquiry. Adlerian therapy will often also include an examination of work relationships and marriages, with an emphasis on increasing a patient's feelings of being a useful and contributing member of a community, in order to build self-esteem.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.