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.

To our knowledge, the only European country that has a regular CADP presence is Switzerland, where I offer on-site and distance training at the Alfred Adler Institute in Suisse Romande. We also acknowledge that the therapeutic exemplar and mentor behind CADP is the Dutch European Sophia J. deVries, as well as the Europeans Alexander Mueller and Anthony Bruck, who were also students of Adler (who was himself European, of course ).

Adler was far from psychoanalytic, indeed, was the opposite in many respects. Sophia regularly pointed out overly Freudian English translations of Adler's work, which prevailed at the time. "No, that's wrong," she said about portions of the Glueck and Lind translation of The Neurotic Constitution (Adler, 1917/1926), "that is very psychoanalytic. That is not what Adler meant."

Regarding CADP as exclusively a long-term therapy, the authors of Adlerian Psychotherapy don’t mention the CADP volume, Classical Adlerian Brief Therapy (Clark, et al., 2011) although it was referenced in the 2014 special CADP issue of JIP (70:4).  They do, however, offer a self-description of their approach to Adler that “pieces together Adlerian theory and techniques” (p. 58). While CADP counters such descriptions of Adlerian psychotherapy by its inception, we otherwise identify along with the Adlerian Psychotherapy team as a “contemporary individual, couple, and family therapy that is … short- or long-term depending on the needs of the client” (p. 58).

In another reference to CADP, the book authors share their opinion that:

Most of Adler’s work is reflective of a different era of clinical practice that is not as relevant today. It is more akin to early psychoanalysis or what Henry Stein called ‘classical Adlerian therapy.’ (p. 116)

CADP stands at the polar extreme of this idea. Clearly, Adler lived in another era. But part of CADP's mission is to promote the full understanding of Adler that's required to appreciate his timelessness. Certainly, any congruent practitioner will expand and embellish, or in Sophia's words, "You will make it your own." What matters is preserving Adler's core beliefs and the conceptualizing genius that they allow for. In that spirit, we are committed to sharing the value of CADP.

Adlerian Psychotherapy (2018) further propose that:

Adler’s “core psychological and educational principles … need to continue to be expanded and extended by a new generation of visionaries” (p. 117).

We differ, to some degree, from this opinion about Adler’s core principles. CADP contends that expansions ought to care for the integrity of Adler’s holistic theory – in the sense that Meyeroff (1971) helped us understand.  The descriptions of 3 of the 11 key concepts offered by Adlerian Psychotherapy (lifestyle, basic life tasks, and goals and belonging) include considerable variance with Adler’s original conceptualization. These could be discussed in subsequent columns, but without doubt, the book authors consider such expansion and extensions useful in their form of treatment.

I’ve respectfully addressed some of these expansions and extensions in other publications (see Gold & Mansager, 2000; Manager & Gold, 2000; Mansager & Griffith, 2019).  It is not a concern that others disagree with CADP’s self-understanding. The market place is large and there are many voices to be heard. Still, shared misunderstandings promote neither an accurate grasp of the material nor responsible decision-making that could result from reading it.

So, enough of saying what CADP isn’t. We’re much more committed to sharing what CADP is: Henry experienced Sophia representing Adler's philosophy with 100% personal congruence. She penetrated every difficult case with Adler's original therapeutic constructs, she creatively used the art of encouragement to help clients become their best selves, and she passed on a plethora of documentation. This is why Henry believed her. She was a living link to "what Adler meant," and through CADP, Henry passes on the torch.

Adler, A. (1926). The neurotic constitution. (B. Glueck & J. E. Lind, Trans.). Salem, NH: Ayer. Original translation published 1917.

Carlson, J. & Englar-Carlson, M. (2018). Adlerian psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Clark, T. E., Stein, H. T., Stein, L. J., & Wolf, J. J. (Eds.). (2011). Classical Adlerian Brief Therapy. The Innovative Techniques of Anthony Bruck. Bellingham, WA: The Classical Adlerian Translation Project.

Gold, L. & Mansager, E. (2000). Spirituality: Life task or life process? The Journal of Individual Psychology, 56, 266-276.

Mansager, E., & Gold, L. (2000). Three life tasks or five? The Journal of Individual Psychology, 56, 155-171.

Mansager, E. & Griffith, J. (2019) Respecting differences. Theoretical variance between Adler and Dreikurs. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 75, 216-230.

Meyeroff, M. (1971). On caring. New York, NY: Harper & Row.