Birth of Psychologist Alfred Adler

Birth of Psychologist Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler
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Alfred Adler is born in Rudolfsheim, Austria. Adler will be an early associate of Sigmund Freud, but he breaks with Freud in 1911. The principle difference between Adler and Freud is that Adler will reject the idea that sexual feelings and sexual repression are the primary motivations of human behavior.

Alfred Adler argues that feelings of inferiority, mostly subconscious, combined with compensatory defense mechanisms (like overcompensation) are the primary forces behind behavior - especially behavior of the pathological sort. Adler's theory of individual psychology stresses the need for superiority and the development of a strong ego.

For Alfred Adler a psychologist must try to discover the root causes of a patient's feelings of inferiority and help them eliminate the defense mechanisms. Adler is responsible for the coining and popularity of the phrase "inferiority complex," a reference to the combination of feelings of inferiority and accompanying defense mechanisms.


Alfred Adler, USC Newsfilm

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