Presented May 29, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Annual NASAP Convention. Panel Participants: Erik Mansager PhD, Xuan Qu, MA, Diana Sandborn PhD, and Dyanne Pienkowski, MA.
Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapy in Action
Celebrating 150 years of scholarship, community and the variety of Adlerian experience
During our presentation at the 69th annual NASAP convention, we were happy to be able to share our passion for Adler. We weren’t unique in that passion, of course. But our passion does have a certain twist to it that we hoped the audience found stimulating.
Readers are likely a little familiar with the differences between Adlerian schools of therapy which fall roughly into three categories:
- the American mainstream/Dreikursian approach,
- the European mainstream/psychoanalytic approach; and
- the classical-depth approach or CADP
Our task at the conference wasn’t to differentiate among them (although there are some good articles in our journal if you’d like more info). Instead, we wanted to share our own depth-focus within therapy, how we move into “action.” Thus, our presentation title: Classical Adlerian Psychotherapy in Action.
CADP has been around for 40+ years without much notice and is now being more welcomed into the Adlerian community. The Classical Adlerian mission remains to keep Adler’s full complement of constructs alive in the therapeutic process by means of mentor-oriented training. Each of the presenters shared applied examples of their CADP experience.
Our presentation was inspired by The Journal of Individual Psychology’s celebration-edition of Adler’s 150th birthday last year (JIP 76:1, Spring 2020). Dyanne and Erik have collaborated as co-editors on a sequel to that issue (JIP 78:1, Spring 2022). We wanted to see, beside the scholarly articles, whether the depth and diversity of our Adlerian community could be shared. We asked NASAP members to contribute their Adlerian stories—what has moved them most deeply about Adler’s writings, philosophy, application, and their personal healing. In anticipation of the wide-ranging experiences of the various members, we called to mind William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience and entitled the upcoming special issue The Variety of Adlerian Experience.
So, our focus for that issue and our NASAP presentation was on how Adler’s theory and therapy have become a pervasive influence within the varied field of human-caregiving today. In the special issue you’ll find a former military officer whose post-military career is dedicated to fellow soldiers, there is a mother/daughter teaching collaboration described, there are authors’ testimonies to the Adlerian community that helped form them professionally, a story of coming to Adler from the perspective of criminology and another that shares a surprising application of mathematical concepts to Adlerian theory!
But for our presentation, we wanted to bring a variety of stories from the three Classical Adlerian Depth Psychotherapists who appear in the special issue. Our first presenter, Diana Sandborn, shared the experience of discovering and studying Adler just precious, fruitful years prior to retirement. From the other end of the spectrum, we played a video of a self-identified CADP “beginner,” doctoral student, Xuan Qu – who described building her Adlerian identity by feeling imbued with the deep purposes of Adler’s theory. Finally, in the last presentation, Dyanne Pienkowski attested to a professional nourishment that has flourished within a mentorship-network of classically trained Adlerian practitioners.
The presentation gave plenty to think and ask questions about and was followed by a lively Q&A period.