Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Adler, Alfred

  • Melissa K. SmothersEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_7


Alfred Adler (1870–1937) was an Austrian psychiatrist and recognized as one of the fathers of modern psychotherapy. He was born in Vienna in 1870 and decided at an early age that he wanted to be a doctor in order to “fight death.” He was the second child in a large family and suffered from numerous illnesses as a child. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna and preferred not to treat a client’s symptoms in isolation, but rather considered the whole person, including their social setting.

In 1902, Adler was asked to join a weekly psychoanalytic discussion circle and became an active member in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society; other notable members included Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung. However, after 9 years, he and about a dozen other members split from the society over theoretical differences. He went on to form the Society of Individual Psychology, which emphasized the role of goals and motivation in people’s behaviors. Adler developed his theory of Individ...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adler, A. (1924). The practice and theory of individual psychology (trans: Radin, P.). New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, A. (1938). Social interest: A challenge to mankind (trans: Linton, J. & Vaughan, R.). London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar
  3. Adler, A. (1972). The neurotic constitution: Outline of a comparative individualistic psychology and psychotherapy (trans: Glueck, B. & Lind, J. E.). Freeport: Books for Libraries Press. (Original work published in 1912).Google Scholar
  4. Adler, A. (1979). Religion and individual psychology. In H. L. Ansbacher & R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.), Superiority and social interest: A collection of Alfred Adler’s later writings (pp. 271–308). New York: Norton. Original work published in 1933.Google Scholar
  5. Adler, A. (1998). What life should mean to you. Center City: Hazelden. Original work published in 1931.Google Scholar
  6. Mansager, E. (2000). Individual psychology and the study of spirituality. Journal of Individual Psychology, 56, 371–388.Google Scholar
  7. Noda, S. (2000). The concept of holism in individual psychology and Buddhism. Journal of Individual Psychology, 56, 285–295.Google Scholar
  8. Ratner, J. (1983). Alfred Adler. New York: Frederick Ungar.Google Scholar
  9. Rizzuto, A. M. (1979). The birth of the living God: A psychoanalytic study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Watts, R. (2000). Biblically based Christian spirituality and Adlerian psychotherapy. Journal of Individual Psychology, 56, 316–328.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences, School of Education, Department of Educational PsychologyMount Mary University, University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA