Home » Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)

Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)

AdlerAdler was born just outside of Vienna on February 7, 1870. Alfred Adler was born the second of six children in Penzing, Austria on February 7, 1870, the son of a Jewish grain merchant. Sickly as a child, he did not walk until age four because of rickets; at age five Adler developed pneumonia and was diagnosed as unlikely to survive. He did recover, but was so profoundly shaken by the experience that he resolved to become a doctor himself someday in order to help the suffering caused by such illness and disease.

After graduating with a medical degree in 1895 from the University of Vienna, he began his career as an ophthalmologist, but soon switched to general practice in a less affluent area of Vienna near an amusement park and circus. Working with people from the circus, Adler was inspired by the performers’ unusual strengths and weaknesses. It has been suggested that Adler began to develop his insights on compensation and inferiority during this time.

Alfred Adler was a physician, psychotherapist, and the founder of Adlerian psychology, sometimes called individual psychology. He is considered the first community psychologist, because his work pioneered attention to community life, prevention, and population health. Adlerian psychology emphasizes the human need and ability to create positive social change and impact.

Adler’s theories of personality development, especially his belief that the most basic human drive is the striving from an initial state of inadequacy, or what he termed “inferiority”, toward “superiority”, or self-actualization. Adler’s work stressed the importance of nurturing feelings of belonging and striving for superiority. He held equality, civil rights, mutual respect, and the advancement of democracy as core values. He was one of the first practitioners to provide family and group counseling and to use public education as a way to address community health. He was among the first to write about the social determinants of health and of mental health.

Adapted from:  NNDB, http://www.nndb.com/people/256/000097962/

Adler University, https://www.adler.edu/page/about/history/about-alfred-adler


  1. Monique dos Santos says:

    I founded very interesting.. I don’t think that is important, but it is necessary. In our lives we need achieve superiority within ourselves,
    so that we are not accommodated with the same things on a daily basis and to argue against people who already have superiority in a bad way within them.


  2. Yasmin says:

    Adler believed that the feeling of inferiority played a big role in a person’s personality and that behavior was shaped by goals throughout life.


  3. Sayomi says:

    Adler’s work brought attention to community health, individual psychology, and the feeling of inferiority people sometimes harbor. His work is important in the field of personality psychology and general psychology as his work helps people understand the individuals mind,personality and the individual in social settings.


  4. lillyanamayo says:

    I agree with Alfred Adler’s belief that humans strive towards superiority since we are all born with a sense of inferiority. As children, we are told that we are not equal to adults and that we do not know any better (giving us this feeling of lowliness.


  5. Harman P Singh says:

    i don’t agree with the idea humans are motivated by social interest and the desire to advance the welfare of others.


  6. Melissa Morillo says:

    I find it very interesting that he works with circus performers, leading to his interest into psychology of peoples weaknesses


  7. Debbie Ross says:

    Adler, founder of Adlerian psychology aka individual psychology which is of human need and the ability to create positive social change and impact. We all strive for superiority and inferiority. A very knowledgeable man working as an Opthamologist and Psychotherapist and becoming a physician of General Practice who after such an ordeal at such a young age has managed to continue to increase his knowledge of social health and mental health.


  8. Lydia Li says:

    I think Alder’s theory plays a major part in today’s society because a lot of people strive to be “above” or “superior” to everyone else when in reality, money, materialistic/designer things, etc. doesn’t define who you are or where your place is in society


  9. andreachavezlopez says:

    He was the founder of Alderian psychology and used his childhood illness to find his career and help others.


  10. Kamilla DeFreitas says:

    i found it very interesting that he worked with circus performers, leading to his interest into psychology of peoples weaknesses and strengths and his ideas on human growth within the environment.


  11. JingRen says:

    Just imagine how strong Alfred Adler was since he was a child. Although he was diagnosed as unlikely to survive, he recovered and became a great psychology theorist. He had greatly contributed to society.


  12. cindyv85 says:

    Adler achieved his childhood dream of becoming a doctor and help others. Then he expended his willingness to learn to Psychology and mental health.


  13. sheyla4801 says:

    I agree with his theory, depending on our mindset we can be however we want .


  14. ezitterk says:

    i understand his explanations of how a low self esteem, inferiority, can be transform from inside out into a success


  15. JESSICA BRUNS says:

    I agree with his theory. In my opinion we can be however we want. All depend about our mind. Superiority and Inferiority is very important in our life. The way that we accept ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Abdi Abera says:

    Alfred Adler is psychologist who found the Adlerian psychology. Growing alone affect his personal change. Specially, having the disease called rickets help him to think and learn about health to help those who have a problem with health and rickets. having rickets pushed him to help his community.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Kiana Jeanniton says:

    I agree with Adler’s theory; I think that people feeling like you are needed and like you belong is important to your self-actualization. He experience with the circus helped him realized what he wanted to do with his studies.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Clarisse Noubissi Tchemwe says:

    Adfred Adler pioneered attention to the community life , prevention , and population health because he was think his work will help people who has the same disease as him when he was younger.


  19. Olivia Filipowich says:

    I don’t understand how striving for superiority can be the same core value has equality, civil rights, etc etc. But his theories have to do with the human need to be a part of social change.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. sherryrem26 says:

    Alfred Adler sickness as a child gave him the strength to achieve his childhood dreams, of becoming a doctor in order to help others who may suffer from the same illnesses as he had.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. kdhernandez11 says:

    He is considered the first community psychologist in Vienna.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. tatiana walker says:

    i’m glad that he used his past to motivate himself, i believe that it gave him a better point of view of other people’s illness


  23. eguerrieo says:

    The illness as a child must have been incredibly traumatic to serve as such great motivator for his community geared studies.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. anthonymansi001 says:

    Stressed the importance of nurturing feelings and striving superiority.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Fernando L Sousa says:

    the father of the inferiority complex, also was the first to conceptualize 1 on 1 therapy

    Liked by 1 person

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