By Way of Introduction…

Published June 23, 2018, The NASAP Newsletter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

Hello to all who are reading this first installment of a new column: a discussion about going deeper into understanding Adler. His theory and his therapy. But I’ll start with a little backdrop.

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It was great to be with our North American colleagues in Toronto after having spent many years away from the annual NASAP conference. The nine years away were largely due to geography and our professional practice. Geographically, in 2008 Jane and I married and began the Swiss chapter of our lives together; practice-wise, we spent a number of years studying Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy (CADP) which includes annual workshops in Bellingham, Washington, and getting back to North America annually for a second professional conference just wasn’t feasible at the time. Although our NASAP membership never lapsed we stayed more active in the international Adlerian scene over these years. Now that our studies are completed, our depth-practice established, and our Swiss training institute taking off, we have the wherewithal to be active again in NASAP.

This year we offered a poster presentation on CADP in Toronto and participated in other ways as well. At the bookstore we made available to students a couple hundred CADP off-prints; a set of Henry Stein’s 4-volume series on CADP practice was given to Linda Page for the Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto; and a foursome of different CADP texts (volume one of the Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, the Clinicians’ Guide and two volumes from Dr. Stein’s CADP series) drew healthy bids for the silent auction (and we hope they made the high-bidder happy). That was a prelude, and now we’re intending to share further here in the Newsletter.

At one level, the idea of going deeper into Adler is not at all controversial. Most who read the commonly available Adlerian literature with an eye to its application long to find ways to get his insightful perspectives across in their clinical, coaching or parenting session. But on another level, we find the invitation to study Adler deeply seems to provoke some level of controversy. Perhaps some are just reticent to look deeper into Adler’s theory, period. Perhaps they believe they have gotten as much as they can from their Adlerian collection of professional readings. Some others have taken several courses – even certificate studies – and feel the Adlerian-angles have been exhausted for them and there is little more to learn.

The intention of this column is to dispel the idea of exhausting Adler’s contribution. I intend to offer a new look at the depth and breadth of what Adler has still to offer. By depth we mean a full presentation of his psychodynamic, humanist theory and by breadth, the broad application of creative and kind interventions across several modalities of therapy. Until we can demonstrate CADP at the next NASAP conference in Tucson, I hope this column will help you get to know how Adler’s depth and breadth can offer the nourishment some feel is missing in their current practice. Not everyone feels this, I know; but quitea number do and it is these interested, hungry practitioners that may find the column of interest.

Over the next six issues or so, I will explore topics such as:

  • What is meant by “classical” in CADP?
  • What does “dissolving” the life style means therapeutically?
  • What is the difference between philosophical and clinical “constructs” of Adler’s theory?
  • What is the “depth” orientation in Adler’s therapy?
  • If Adler offered more than a cognitive theory and yet rejected psychoanalysis, what do psychodynamics look like from an Adlerian perspective?
  • What are some of the historically-rooted differences between Adler’s and Dreikurs’ theory development?
  • I hope you see that the depth approach could open a new dimension for understanding Adler and that you will find the column of interest.