Psychoanalysis and the Adlerian theory are some of the most influential existing psychological theories, and both are used by therapists and counselors in their practice. After briefly explaining the crux of both theories, this paper considers the similarities and differences between them.
We will write a custom Essay on Psychoanalysis and the Adlerian Theory Comparison specifically for you
301 certified writers online
According to psychoanalytic theory, individuals, to a large extent, are influenced by their unconscious self, which includes their past experiences; the currently existing psychological problems are viewed as rooted in the repressed emotions and unresolved issues of the past (Cooper & Dryden, 2016). Psychoanalysts, therefore, attempt to assist their clients by bringing out some unconscious material, mainly childhood experiences, and work with it, reconstructing, discussing, and analyzing it, to help the client reach wholeness and self-realization (Cooper & Dryden, 2016; Corey, 2013).
On the other hand, the Adlerian theory accepts the assumption that the acts and motivations of individuals are caused by social factors, but that people are responsible for their own beliefs, actions, and feelings, and that their actions are motivated by their aims for the future rather than influenced by their past (Corey, 2013). Adlerian therapists focus on helping individuals become aware of and change their erroneous beliefs about the self and the others, and thus, transform their life for the better (Corey, 2013).
It is easy to see that both theories attempt to identify some psychological nuances of an individual that cause him/her to act in a wrong way, and to help the person to more fully realize themselves (Corey, 2013).
However, while psychoanalysts believe that people’s problems are rooted in their past psychological trauma, Adlerians state that problems of individuals originate in wrong views and resulting wrong behaviors. Also, psychoanalysts, believing that the unconscious is the main source of one’s actions, view one as not fully in control of oneself, whereas Adlerians state that one is responsible for their opinions and actions. In addition, while psychoanalysts are convinced that actions of people are caused by their repressed past experiences, Adlerians consider future goals to be what prompts them to act in particular ways (Corey, 2013).
On the whole, both psychoanalytic and Adlerian theories are used by modern therapists. Despite the differences between the theories, both of them have proven to be successful if used in the practice of psychotherapy (Corey, 2013).
Cooper, M., & Dryden, W. (Eds.). (2016). The handbook of pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. Croydon, UK: CPI Group.
Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.