Kimberly Ledwa — Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Kimberly Ledwa
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Adlerian Psychology, or Individual Psychology, is a psychological approach dedicated to the understanding of persons and to the enhancement of the human experience. Created by Alfred Adler, M.D., Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D., and many others, this theory is based on the recognition of the following concepts:
  • Holism: The unity of the individual in thought, emotion, action, and mind/body is recognized in understanding the individual. Each person is responsible for their own behavior, able to make choices, and capable of changing behavior.
  • Social interest/social embeddedness: We are social in nature with each person's behaviors understood according to the social context. Each person needs equality and to be a full participant in the learning process.
  • Teleology: The dynamic striving towards goals of security, belongingness, significance, and success is found in each of us. Each person will seek these goals based on his/her understanding of their world, themselves, and others.
  • Phenomenology/lifestyle: Each person creates a blueprint for living that is based on their creative understanding of self, others, and the world. This self-created frame of reference and philosophy of life drives beliefs and choices. Each person will move from a perceived inferior position to what is perceived as better.
Dysfuncion is understood as arising from "mistakes" made in the lifestyle leading to exaggerated feelings of inferiority that is compensated for through the creation of heightened goals of personal superiority. Social disharmony results from this superiority-inferiority relationship dynamic and violates social equality, Adler's ironclad principle of social living.

Mental wellness is achieved through an alignment with the human community. Strength and purpose are realized through cooperation, mutual respect, encouragement, and contribution.

This model incorporates empathy, collaboration, education, and encouragement. It leads the individual toward liberation through an understanding of his/her lifestyle and how it both facilitates and impedes effectiveness. It leads the couple, family, and group toward relationships of social equality and mutual respect. It assists all humankind toward the realization of each person's inherent value and place in the unending process of creating a more perfect world community.

Adlerian counseling is a strength-based approach that is simultaneously Holistic, Psychodynamic, Family Systems, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Humanistic/Existential. From Adler's theories, other models have emerged that support his approach: Client-centered therapies, the Ecological Model, Feminist Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Solution-focused Brief Therapy, Reality Therapy/Choice Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Reprocessing Therapies (i.e. EMDR and Lifespan Integration), and Strength-based/Empowerment Models.

This summary includes information gathered by Steven A. Maybell, Ph D., Wes Wingett, Ph.D., and P. Tremblay.

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