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Chapter 4: Interpsychic Theories


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Alfred Adler chose the term Individual Psychology. What did he mean?
Alfred Adler chose the term individual psychology for his conception of personality because he was interested in investigating the uniqueness of the person. He maintained that the individual was indivisible and must be studied as a whole.
According to Adler, what motivates us? How did he categorize our problems?
According to Adler, we are motivated by social interest and our primary life problems are social ones.
How did Harry Stack Sullivan believe that the personality of individuals should be studied?
Sullivan believed that the personality of an individual could never be studied in isolation, since we do not exist separately and independently from other persons.
Harry Stack Sullivan chose what term to describe his conception of personality?
Adler had a tremendous influence on Harry Stack Sullivan, whose theory, known as interpersonal psychology, also provides us with insights into how we interact with others.
What was the leading concept of Adler's individual psychology?
A leading concept of Adler's individual psychology is his emphasis on the importance of human culture and society. Human beings, like all living creatures, are driven by certain innate instincts, drives or needs, such as the impulses to maintain life, and to reproduce.
Did Adler believe that humans ever denied or disobeyed their instincts?
Adler felt that human beings tamed their instincts and subordinated them to their attitudes toward the environment. At times, human beings deny or disobey their natural instincts because of their social relations.
Define social interest. How does it express itself?
Social interest refers to that urge in human nature to adapt oneself to the conditions of the social environment. It expresses itself subjectively in one's consciousness of having something in common with other people and of being one of them.
How did Adler believe that social interest emerged?
While common to all, social interest does not automatically emerge, nor does it invariably find constructive expression. It must be nurtured and cultivated.
What did Adler stress as the cause of movement of all living things?
Adler stressed the fact that the movement of all living things is governed by goals. We cannot think, feel, will, or act, except with the perception of some goal.
Define finalism. Who coined the term?
For Adler, the goal that the individual pursues is the decisive factor, and he called this concept of goal orientation the principle of finalism.
Where does the word "fiction" come from?
"Fiction" comes from the Latin root fictio, which means "to invent," "fashion," or "construct."
What are "fictions" according to Adler?
We are unable to have a complete understanding of things as they really are, so we structure our own idea of reality. "Fictions" are an individual's or group's interpretations of the events of the world. In Adlerian vocabulary, such basic concepts are fictional finalisms.
Is a fiction healthy or unhealthy? How did Adler propose to judge a fiction?
A fiction may be healthy or unhealthy. Adler maintained that is is inappropriate to judge a fiction as true or false, right or wrong; rather, the goal should be judged according to its usefulness.
Define the term: the "goal of superiority."
Adler suggested that the psyche has as its primary objective the goal of superiority. This is the ultimate fictional finalism for which all human beings strive, and it gives unity and coherence to the personality.
What desire is involved in the drive for superiority?
The drive for superiority involves the desire to be competent and effective in whatever one strives to do. The concept is similar to Jung's idea of self-realization.
What synonym did Adler frequently use for the word superiority?
Adler frequently used the term "perfection" as a synonym for the word syperiorityy. This term can also be misleading unless we recognize its origin in the Latin perfectus, which means "completed" or "made whole."
According to Adler, what is life motivated by?
According to Adler, life is not motivated by the need to reduce tension or restore equilibrium, as Freud tended to think; instead, life is encouraged by the desire to move from below to above, from minus to plus, from inferior to superior.
According to Adler, where do inferiority feelings have their origin? Are they considered to be deviant?
Inferiority feelings have their origin in our encounter as infants with the environment. Feelings of inferiority are not deviant but are the basis for all forms of human accomplishment and improvement in life.
Explain the term "organ inferiority."
Adler, when practicing general medicine, discovered that many of his patients localized their complaints in specific body organs. Later, Adler broadened the concept if organ inferiority to include feelings of inferiority, whether actual or imagined.
Define the term "masculine protest."
In his early writings, Adler termed the compensation for one's inferiorities the masculine protest. Later he recognized that the alleged inferiority if women was a cultural assignment rather than a biological one.
Define personification according to Sullivan's theories of personality.
A personification is a group of feelings, attitudes, and thoughts that have arisen out of one's interpersonal experiences. Personifications can relate to the self or other persons.
According to Sullivan, are personifications accurate?
Personifications are seldom accurate; nevertheless, they persist and are influential in shaping our attitudes and actions towards others. Moreover, on a group level, they are the basis of stereotypes, or prejudgement s, that frequently hinder our ability to relate to people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
List Sullivan's six stages in personality development prior to adulthood.
Sullivan outlined six stages in personality development prior to adulthood:
1) infancy
2) childhood
3) the juvenile era
4) preadolescence
5) early adolescence
6) and late adolescence.
(They frequently emphasize bodily zones.)

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