Dr. Carlson and Dr. Kjos held a discussion on Adlerian theory. Dr. Kjos interviewed Dr. Carlson, who is an Adlerian therapist, and then later viewed a video Adlerian theory with Dr. Carlson demonstrating a counseling session with a divorced woman named Gina. During interview with Dr Kjos, along with many comments, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) explained Adler had a positive view of individuals and he perceived them as having control over their fate. This video was originally taped at Governors State University in 1997.
Adlerian theory resonates with me as it defines psychological health as connected to one’s social interest. This idea is quite illuminating as it suggests relating and caring about others is a contributing factor to wholeness. In a video, Carlson ( Psychotherapy.net, 2008) explained Adler did not focus on the individual as other European theories tended to do, but much more on the world and possessing social interest. As mentioned earlier, social interest refers to relating, caring for others in the community, and having pro-social pursuits. Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) also noted Adler’s approach contained an orientation towards the future, rather than the past with the exception of exploring the past in terms of identifying patterns of behavior. Another aspect of Adlerian theory that resonates with me concerns Adler’s notion of the family constellation. Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008.) in the video explained this refers to the child’s psychological position, or birth order in the family, and most important of all, the impact on the child’s beliefs in terms of self in relation to the world. Dufrene (2011) pointed out the counseling process is such that “the counselor develops a relationship through empathy and encouragement.” (p. 108). In addition, Dufrene (2011) clarified Adlerian theory teaches that for an individual to experience growth they must be invested in the transformation of their faulty beliefs. Adler’s innovative approach to what he termed early recollections led to what Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) clarified as being a person’s understanding and approach to life.
In the video, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) works effectively to build rapport with Gina early on in the tape (25:06). Although this is not an Adlerian intervention per se, it is helpful in creating a trusting relationship with Gina. Later, in the video, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) begins to undertake focus on Gina’s family constellation ( 25:44) which includes her birth order, or psychological position and how her beliefs were impacted as a result. Gina reveals she is the oldest of her siblings. In the video, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) asserts he would like to ask her questions ( 28:05) about her family. He asks Gina to reflect back to when she was 12 (28:30). This intervention, with early developmental experiences is effective in helping individuals understand their most central beliefs, as Dufrene (2011) noted. Gina begins to describe herself and reveal details (29:50) of having been steady and stable at age 12. In the video, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) asked Gina to describe her siblings (30:01) and concluded that her first set of siblings had more to do with her development than the two that came ten years later. (30:54.) Using early developmental experiences can lead to these kinds of insights and hence, it is effective. In the video, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) deepened his insight by saying her siblings were actually instrumental in making Gina the person she is today, and in her choice of becoming a mother (32;43) as Gina played the role of caretaker with her siblings (especially the ones born ten years earlier than the later set of siblings). Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) in the same segment (32;43) using early developmental experiences makes the connection that Gina’s behaviors as the oldest child transferred to her adult life in the form of having high aspirations, and trying to please others. This was an accurate profile of Gina as an adult. The intervention, Role in the family that Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) used in the video (32:58) to gain more insight about Gina, proved to be effective as she disclosed more about her behavior in her present life. Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) in the video, also uses an exploration of family values to see how her parent’s values played a role in her development. (35:44). This proved to be effective and gave Gina the space to discuss her parents in depth (38:27). What came to the surface pertained to the theme of feeling unappreciated being prominent within her family, and coloring their lives in negative ways. It’s a helpful intervention where Gina makes progress by acknowledging the feelings of being unappreciated (40:20). Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) led Gina to reflect on which parent she was most like, and this worked well as it gave her a chance to learn more about herself. (49:43).Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) employed early recollection and asked Gina to identify patterns in her early recollection (55:17). Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) pointed to the pattern that emerged in which whenever there was conflict or problems, Gina felt along and had to look out for herself. Finally, Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) in the video, helped Gina gain insight related to how the way she was raised interfered with her marriage. (1:00:51).
Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) expanded my understanding about aspects of Adler’s interventions such as early developmental experiences and the role they play in helping clients get a clear grasp of their beliefs related to self and the world. Using Gina’s experience to illustrate how powerful early developmental experiences are in constructing one’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, demonstrated that Adler’s intervention is beneficial towards self- reflection and exploration. In terms of assisting clients in figuring out areas of their lives that would otherwise be incomprehensible, for example the underlying causes of Gina’s divorce, early developmental experiences provide insight as Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) demonstrated in the video. I gained insight into how to use early recollections (which fall into the same realm as early developmental experiences, I think.) as a way to learn valuable material about the client. It was remarkable how Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) helped Gina come to terms with her life’s themes via early recollection. Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) shared with Gina that whenever there was conflict in her life, Gina felt alone and there was nobody there to support her, hence she developed an independent, controlling way of handling the world and felt as if she had to take charge of the details of her life alone. Gina admitted her attitude may have led to the demise of her marriage. Carlson (Psychotherapy.net, 2008) unearthed incredibly relevant material to serve as a catalyst for Gina’s eventual growth and transformation.
Dufrene, R.L. (2011). Adlerian theory. In D. Capuzzi & D.R. Gross (Eds.) Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions (5th ed.). (pp.77-94.) Alexandria: VA: American Counseling Association.
Psychotherapy.net. (Executive Producer). (2008). Adlerian theory [Video].
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases