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Neurotic Character as Device

Published January 2020, The NASAP Newlsetter (Connection), Erik Mansager, PhD

Adler spoke a lot about the neurotic character over the course of his therapeutic career. It is a rich and complex construct; one whose dynamic is still helpful to our work today even though the term “neurotic” has morphed into useful and not-so-useful connotations.

Encouragement in Action

Published May 18, 2020, The NASAP Newlsetter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

Creative power and active encouragement belong together!

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_Fj2aHoxzg]

Maybe you have examples in your own life of the ingenuity and stick-to-it-iveness of this little one. Isn’t ingenuity a version of creative and tenacity a show of courage?

We professional helpers need a flexible and deeply rooted creativity ourselves to seek out the specific root of our client’s discouragement – their distorted inferiority feeling. We need to understand the discouragement in an empathic manner by taking in the wholeness of the individual – which will include what lies beyond or beneath the discouragement: that original core of courage with which they addressed initial feelings of inferiority!

Therapeutic Encouragement

Published March 16, 20120, The NASAP Newlsetter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

The stuff of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy (CADP) is never a fixed formula applied to clients. This goes for therapeutic encouragement as well. While there are general guidelines about the process, the specific application must be re-invented for each of our clients. Their personal effort needs to be inspired to grow and then to be compared with their old activities. Seeing their current development compared to where they have been in the recent past offers encouragement to sustain their growth in the new direction.

So, how does therapeutic encouragement happen? Is it a technique or an art? Is encouragement found in a rich list of memorized sayings that are at the ready and strategically applied? Does a permanent smile on a counselor’s face or readiness to offer a pat on the back encourage personal and interpersonal growth? Adler suggests the origin of encouragement is more elusive. It originates in authentically caring interactions between the therapist and client. If our clients can begin to feel our care as a sense of equality, they can extend it to the new tasks in front of them.

Creative Power

Published February 7, 20120, The NASAP Newlsetter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

Twenty years ago now, Leo Gold and I (2000) took a closer look at the construct “life tasks” and the Dreikursian expansion from 3 to 5. This opened a wide-ranging theoretical discussion as we questioned whether expansions (including to 7, 10 and more) were theoretically coherent and clinically helpful. A consensus of sorts was developed in culminating the discussion (Mansager, et al., 2002).

That was a fresh opener for analyzing the place of Dreikurs in modifying Adler’s theory, therapy, and training approaches. It wasn’t the first time. As the recent article, “Respecting Differences” (2019), points out, Jane Griffith and her late husband, Robert L. Powers, had explored theoretical variance between Adler and Dreikurs quite thoroughly back in the 1980s. Nonetheless, the recent article has begun a deeper look at these modifications and discrepancies.

The position Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy (CADP) represents is of encouraging counselors and therapists to study the original Adler again – in a thorough and creative way. We believe there is much of Adler that has been overlooked by the systemization that Dreikurs initiated and on which Dreikursian literature expounds.

In this installment, I’d like to consider another of Adler’s constructs: “creative power.” What is it and how does it apply to Individual Psychology?

Just to Clarify…

The following article was mailed out as an addendum on December 19, 2019 to Nov/Dec NASAP Newsletter after having been inadvertently omitted. Included here are NASAP Newsletter editor Candace Sneed's comments.

Hi again Adlerian friends!
Please be advised that, within the transitioning of editors, a wonderful and well-loved column did not make it into the December newsletter.  In order to remedy this mistake, I offered to send out Erik Mansager's Adler in Depth and Breadth column separately - to which he graciously accepted the editor's apologies and separate distribution.  I hope you will forgive we editors for the faux pas and that you will greatly enjoy this wonderful contribution to our newsletter!
Kind Regards, 
Candace Sneed, NASAP Newsletter Editor

Days before Henry Stein and I were invited to write for next year’s special issue of The Journal of Individual Psychology – celebrating the 150th anniversary of Adler’s birth – Henry was contacted by a seasoned clinician who had a question about Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy (CADP). The clinician had been stymied by the way the authors of Adlerian Psychotherapy (2018) had described CADP and asked Henry if it was accurate:

This approach is a long-term treatment that is similar to psychoanalysis and is the form of Adlerian psychotherapy practiced in many European countries. (p. 23)

Henry and the clinician spent fruitful time discussing the concern, and this column gives an opportunity to share those deliberations.

CADP isn’t European, psychoanalytic, or exclusively long-term.

Alfred Adler, the Man, as Seen by a Student and Friend

Published September 1997, Individual Psychology, Vol. 53, No. 3, the University of Texas Press. By Rowena Ansbacher.

How intriguing, and how useful, is the memory of a first meeting apt to be! It reminds one of the significance attached generally to one's "early recollections" by Adlerian­ Psychology. My first contact with Dr. Adler was at the end of my senior year at Barnard College, in New York, in the spring of 1927. This was probably during his first lecture tour in the United States, a time when he was a most eagerly pursued bringer-of-light-from-Vienna. For me, a psychology major who was to have the good for­ tune of spending some time with my family in Vienna the following year, the thought of making contact with so famous a figure from there was most exciting. I was al­ready planning to study at the University of Vienna, and my revered psychology professor at Barnard College, Harry L. Hollingworth, had encouraged me to do so and had also spoken well of Adler.

Growing the Dialogue

Published June 15, 2019, The NASAP Newlsetter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

It was this same time last year that “Adler in-Depth (and breadth)” first appeared in The NASAP Newsletter. The column has intended (= aimed) to reawaken the spirit of Adler’s whole-theory and therapy among current Adlerian practitioners. At the 2018 NASAP conference in Toronto we re-introduced the idea of Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy (CADP) to NASAP in little ways: a poster presentation, published articles were made available, and CADP books were distributed among several students and offered for the silent auction. Just this month in Tucson, at the 2019 NASAP conference, we were a little more present with three workshops being offered during the main-conference.

The attendance at each was heartening – even when the attendees didn’t agree with all that was presented, they were respectful, candid and interested in the dialogue. I’m happy to say the CADP discourse seems to be well-underway. The following are what I consider some highlights at each of the workshops.

An Adlerian Renaissance

Published April 10, 2019, The NASAP Newsletter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

Ahead to Adler? Ahead to Adler!

Including this issue, for six NASAP Newsletters I’ve shared ideas about Adler as a depth psychologist and the impact of his theory on depth psychotherapy. As I write this installment, I hope that the information presented has been accessible, stimulating and useful.

The point of the column has been to introduce readers to another way of looking at Adler, his theory, and his therapy. This isn’t a new way – but one that has been around since he was providing therapy himself.

Moving Ahead to Adler

Published February 18, 2019, The NASAP Newsletter (TNN), Erik Mansager, PhD

Many thanks to those who sent comments about the last column. I think these observations are representative:

I might quibble with your term “clinical constructs.” I would call the subject of your article “dynamics” or “psychodynamics.” I have said to my students for a long time that IP has a unique and exciting set of psychodynamics, starting, in my mind, with teleological movement.

I really like what you have done here. You provide a model for a case conceptualization. In my practice I try to share a case conceptualization with the client and work together with them as therapy progresses.

I certainly agree that ours is “a unique and exciting set of psychodynamics”! For now, let me use that as a segue to the subject of “depth” in Adlerian psychology.