Adler’s Beginnings

Born in a village on the western side of Vienna, second child of seven, Alfred Adler became a man ahead of his time. Adler developed rickets at a young age and then at four he developed pneumonia and heard the doctor say to his father “your boy is lost.” From then on Adler was determined to become a physician.

Alfred Adler was interested in psychology, sociology and philosophy. He became a physician, psychotherapist, and the founder of Adlerian psychology, which is also known as individual psychology. He is considered the first community based psychologist, because his work pioneered attention to community life, prevention, and population health.

Adlerian Psychology

Individual Psychology emphasizes the human need and ability to create positive social change and impact. 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.

Adlerian counselling focuses on the understanding of the unique individual and the cognitive schema’s they create in childhood.
Adlerian counsellors focus on the unity of the individual, goal orientation, self-determination, uniqueness, and an individual’s feelings towards being accepted in a community. If you are interested in working with a Certified Adlerian Counselling Therapist (CAC), please see our list of Adlerian Practitioners who can provide the support you may be looking for.

Adler’s Influence

Alfred Adler was an early associate of Sigmund Freud, but his revolutionary observations triggered a life of research dedicated to understanding people that he called Individual Psychology (IP). Theorists as diverse as Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Viktor Frankl, Abraham Maslow, Albert Ellis, and Aaron T. Beck credit Adler’s work as an important basis for their own contributions.

Adler’s work is fundamental to the professions and practices of school psychology, school counseling, the community mental health movement and parent education. As a dynamic and vital view of human development, IP continues to grow and thrive in a changing world.

Our non-profit counselling clinic, The Adler Centre, was founded in 1973 on the Adlerian principles of social justice, individual healing, education, holism, and community need.