Individual Psychology


Compensation, mastery of the environment, birth order, fantasy life and its relation to life goals. Adler eschews the chaotic unconscious for the self's dream for significance and correcting one's past blunders through turning the tables, but will our hero/heroine's story emphasize social interest, or succumb to pettiness, avoidance and/or using others?

Style of life

Takeaway: Social consciousness is good, self-centeredness is bad

Despite being from Freud's time, Adler forgoes sexual pathogenesis of neuroses and structures of the mind. They're replaced with a personal fantasy narrative (guiding fiction) based off early life events, one's striving to overcome limitations through adaptation (compensation), underpinned by a style of life based on social usefulness.

Mistaken styles are styles of life that are detrimental or neglectful to society. The ruling type are aggressive enforcers and busybodies who dominate other's; authoritarian. The getting type pathologically depends on others. Avoiding types detach from society and retreat into themselves in a schizoid fashion. Compare to Fromm's escape mechanisms or Horney's neurotic trends.

Developmental theory

Takeaway: Spoiling kids is bad


Care must be taken to avoid pampering children, which can give them a sense of entitlement. Neglect of children can cause children to lack trust in others and believe the world is a cruel place.

Earliest recollection

1921: The Neurotic Character

Enhanced diagram of Adler's figure from The Neurotic Constitution (1921)


  • Community feeling
  • Compensation
  • Birth order
  • Avoiding type
  • Guiding fiction aka Fictions, Fictional goal, Fictional finalism
  • Early recollections
  • Getting type
    compare to Moving toward in Karen Horney's Theory of Neurosis
  • Masculine protest
  • Inferiority feelings
  • Inferiority complex
  • Ruling type
    compare to Authoritarianism in Frommian Psychology, Moving against in Karen Horney's Theory of Neurosis
  • Pampering aka Spoiling
  • Neglect
  • Organ inferiority
  • Socially useful type
  • Style of life
  • Striving aka Striving for superiority, Self-perfection, Perfection, Significance
  • Social interest
  • Superiority complex