Alfred Adler (1870-1937) suggested that behind everyone's behaviors and experiences there is less motivating drive or force. This motivating force is forever looking to achieve perfection. He was fascinated by the question of what force drives and motivates individuals to propel forward against all manner of circumstances. Because no two individuals are alike, he called his theory the "Individual Psychology." The ultimate image of perfection is the "ideal" that everyone desires. However, this image, which Adler fondly called "fictional finalism" is attained through an individual's attempt to realize his/her full potential. His idea of "striving for perfection" or "striving for superiority" means that every individual is striving for an "ideal" which determines its progress and development. "Superiority" is the state towards which human action is directed and is always motivating the action. Putting all these together then, "striving for superiority" is driven by the all inspiring fundamental action towards the realization of "fictional finalism." Adler's personality theory can be used to assess and treat certain issues through tests and assessments giving explanations about people's attitudes and behaviors ("Adlerian Therapy," 2015). This paper is aimed at identifying how Adler's Personality Theory works through assessing particular problems and behaviors while utilizing the treatment plan for this assessment.
The treatment plan is for a child who is acting out at home; disobeying, having temper tantrums, and hitting the other siblings. The plan will incorporate the Adlerian concepts and techniques in the assessment of the child's problems. Adler believed that it was imperative to become intimately familiar with an individual's social context by exploring factors such as lifestyle, birth order, and parental education. Adler believed that every individual strives for belonging and feeling significant ("Adlerian Therapy," 2015).
Birth order can comfortably come up with some explanation for the explanation of these behaviors. A firstborn may have positive life outcome expectations because of cultural sentiments such as decision making in the family. Second (middle) born children are born into situations of competition and rivalry which may lead to an inferiority feeling in a child. Every member of the family pampers the last born on the other hand. Adler believed that overabundance of sibling role models could lead a child to feel over pressured ultimately leading to laziness coupled with a defeatist attitude (Schustack & Friedman, 2005).
The child has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a persistent pattern of inattention that interferes with development and functioning. Lack of attention from family members leads to temper tantrums.
The goal of the treatment is for the child to gradually eliminate the maladaptive behavior of tantrums by 75% when at home and in public places. It also aims at helping the child develop proper social skills that will enable him/her to properly relate and engage with other children which are important in developing the child into a responsible adult.
The objectives of the treatment plan are basically to ensure that a child with ADHD can get the proper attention necessary to ensure that he/she does not get tantrums and also, to enable the child to be able to deal with temper tantrums when they arise. Another objective is to solidify the family unit so that the child is not blamed for any breakup or family problems that the family may be experiencing at the time. It also helps to identify reasons that may trigger ADHD in the child and the measures to ensure that these are kept at bay.
The treatment plan will use the following methods and stages as pertains to Adlerian therapy: Engagement where a relationship with the therapist is established, assessment of patient's personal history emphasizing on birth order of the child and early childhood memories, insight which is looking into your own life from another perspective and reorientation which sees the therapist suggest particular steps that can be taken after therapy which reinforce new learnt insights. It may lead to one learning more about him/herself and the potential he/she holds.
The treatment can be helpful in helping the child learn to handle the ADHD and also the family (especially the siblings) to be able to understand that it is a disorder and they should learn to understand their sibling and child. The treatment is effective and is bound to be successful in the end.
Adlerian Therapy. (2015). Counseling Psychology, 76-95.
Schustack, M. W., & Friedman, H. S. (2005). Psychological Testing, Overview. Encyclopedia of Social Measurement, 185-192.
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