Biography of Famous Psychologists Alfred Adler

About the famous psychologist Alfred Adler, biography and history of the man.


ALFRED ADLER (1870-1937)

Alder spoke of his childhood as an unhappy experience. His early years in Austria were shadowed by the presence of a precocious and respectable elder brother whom Alfred was forever trying to emulate. Even late in life, he said: "My eldest brother is a good industrious fellow--he was always ahead of me--and for the matter of that, he is still ahead of me!" Adler's father was a strong-willed man; his mother was dour and nervous. Adler always felt his mother preferred his elder brother to him; his resentment reinforced her natural coldness, and he tended to stay away from home as much as possible. Young Alfred barely survived a case of pneumonia at the age of five; one of his earliest memories was overhearing the doctor telling his father that his son had no chance of survival. "At once a frightful terror came over me, and a few days later when I was well I decided definitely to become a doctor." He was not a good student; like psychologist C. G. Jung, Adler found mathematics a terrifying ordeal, one that left him with recurring nightmares of failure. But he held to his early resolution to study medicine, and soon became interested in psychology. He joined Sigmund Freud's circle but left it after a few years, thus becoming one of the first to break with the master. Unlike Freud and Jung, Adler never claimed that his theories were the only possible explanation of mental illness or neurosis. He seems to have been one of the healthiest figures in the early days of psychology and psychoanalysis.

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