Adlerian Therapy: Who Is It For, How It Works, Why Consider It

adlerian therapy

Adlerian Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that was developed by Alfred Adler. It is based on the idea that people are motivated by social interest, and that everyone has the potential to be successful and happy.

In this article, we will explore who Adlerian Therapy is for, how it works, what to expect, and some of the benefits and limitations of this approach. We will also hear from experts in the field. And provide you with resources if you are interested in learning more.

Understanding Adlerian Therapy

adlerian therapy

Adlerian Therapy is a psychological approach that focuses on the individual as a whole. In addition, this therapy also takes into account social and environmental factors that can impact our development and wellbeing. It’s based on the belief that we’re all born with an innate drive to improve our lives and reach our full potential. Thus, the goal of Adlerian Therapy is to help clients reach their full potential and live happier, healthier lives.

Theory of Adlerian Therapy

individual psychology

Adlerian Therapy is based on the theory of Individual Psychology, which was developed by Alfred Adler. According to this theory, our behavior is driven by three main factors:

  • Purpose/goal (what we want to achieve),
  • Style (the way we go about achieving our goals), and
  • Social interest (our concern for others).

4 Pillars of Adlerian Therapy

This Therapy is based on four pillars:

  1. Encouragement: Adlerian Therapists believe that every person has the potential to change and grow. Thus, they provide support and encouragement to help clients reach their goals.
  2. Empathy: Adlerian Therapists strive to understand their clients’ experiences from their perspective. As a result, this helps build trust and rapport between therapist and client.
  3. Respect: Adlerian Therapists respect their clients’ autonomy and ability to make decisions about their own lives.
  4. Collaboration: Adlerian Therapists work collaboratively with their clients to identify goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

4 Stages of Adlerian Therapy

There are four main stages of Adlerian Therapy:

  1. Preparation: In this stage, the therapist and client work together to develop a trusting relationship. The therapist also gathers information about the client’s life history and current situation.
  2. Confrontation: This phase involves identifying and addressing the problems that are causing distress. Expectedly, it can be a challenging process. But it’s also where the most progress can be made.
  3. Working through: In this stage, the therapist and client continue to work together to resolve any remaining issues.
  4. Integration/termination: This stage marks the end of therapy and is when the goals that were set at the beginning are evaluated and achieved (or not).

Types of Adlerian Therapy

There are three types of Adlerian Therapy: child, family/couples, and individual.

  • Child Adlerian Therapy: It focuses on helping children aged 0-12 years old to develop a positive sense of self and cope with life’s challenges in healthy ways.
  • Family/Couples Adlerian Therapy: It is designed to help couples or families resolve conflicts and improve communication.
  • Individual Adlerian Therapy: It is tailored to the specific needs of each client.

History And Development

Adlerian Therapy is a model of therapy that’s based on the theory of Individual Psychology. It was first proposed by Canadian psychotherapist Marlene Winell in the 1990s. However, in the early 1900s, Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler developed Adlerian Therapy. It’s one of the oldest psychological approaches still in use today.

Adler was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, and like Freud, he believed that our childhood experiences have a profound impact on our adult lives. However, unlike Freud, Adler believed that we’re all capable of overcoming our past difficulties and achieving our goals.

Unfolding Adlerian Therapy

adlerian therapy

Who It Helps

Adlerian Therapy is for anyone who wants to improve their lives and reach their full potential. Thus, it can be used to treat a wide range of mental health issues. For instance, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems.

What To Expect

Adlerian Therapy can be a challenging but rewarding process. Thus, it’s important to be patient and allow time for change to take place. Additionally, the therapist will work with you to set realistic goals and provide support as you work towards them.

How It Works

This therapy is a collaborative approach that involves the therapist and client working together to identify goals and develop a plan to achieve them. The therapist provides support and encouragement; while also empathizing with their clients’ experiences. This creates a safe and supportive environment in which change can take place.

Techniques Used In Adlerian Therapy

adlerian therapy

There are many techniques in this therapy. But some of the most common are:

  • Encouragement: This technique helps clients feel valued and supported. Since it involves expressing genuine interest and appreciation for the client’s efforts.
  • Positive Reframing: This technique helps clients see the positive side of situations. For it involves looking at things in a more optimistic way. And finding the silver lining in difficult circumstances.
  • Problem Solving: This technique helps clients identify and address problems head-on. Furthermore, it involves brainstorming possible solutions and choosing the best one.
  • Social Skills Training: This technique helps clients learn how to interact with others positively and constructively. For, it involves role-playing different scenarios and practicing appropriate responses.

Evaluating Adlerian Therapy

adlerian therapy

This therapy is an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health issues. Moreover, it’s particularly helpful for people who want to improve their relationships or achieve their goals.

Benefits of Adlerian Therapy

Some of the benefits of this therapy include:

  • Enhanced social skills
  • Improved coping skills
  • Improved mental health
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Improved communication skills

Common Concerns And Limitations

  • This therapy is not a quick fix and it requires commitment from both the therapist and client.
  • It’s also important to note that Adlerian Therapy may not be right for everyone.
  • Some people may prefer a different type of therapy or may not be ready to commit to the process.

Why Consider It

If you’re looking for a therapist who will support and encourage you to reach your goals, then Adlerian Therapy may be the right choice for you. For, it’s a highly-effective approach that has can help most people of all ages and backgrounds.

Finding an Adlerian Therapist

If you decide to try out this therapy, the best way to start is by making an appointment with a therapist. Since this will allow you to discuss your needs and goals. And also see if this approach is right for you.

How To Find One

There are many ways to find an Adlerian therapist. For instance:

  • The best place to start is by talking to your doctor. Since they can refer you to a therapist who specializes in this approach.
  • You can also search for therapists online or through directories. Such as the American Psychological Association.

What To Look Out For

When searching for an Adlerian therapist; it’s important to find someone who:

  • has relevant experience and qualifications
  • make sure to ask about their training and experience, and
  • look for someone who is a member of the American Psychological Association.

Pursuing Training In Adlerian Therapy

If you’re interested in pursuing training in this therapy, the American Psychological Association is a good place to start. They offer a variety of courses and workshops that can help you learn more about this approach.

Courses Being Offered by APA

The American Psychological Association offers a variety of courses and workshops on Adlerian Therapy. However, some of these include:

  • An Introduction to Adlerian Psychology
  • Adlerian Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice
  • Adlerian Approaches to Couples Therapy
  • Applying Adler’s Principles in School Settings

For more information, visit the APA website. Moreover, it’s a good idea to find a mentor. This is someone who can guide you through the process. And help you learn more about this approach. Furthermore, you can ask your doctor or therapist for a referral. Or search for mentors online.

Hearing From Experts

If you’re still unsure about whether or not Adlerian Therapy is right for you, it may help to hear from experts. However, here are some quotes from people who have experience with this approach. For instance:

  • “Adlerian therapy is one of the most effective therapies I’ve ever used in my practice.” – Dr. William Glasser
  • “Adlerian therapy is a highly effective approach that has helped me reach my goals.” – Karen Horney

Case Study

Adlerian Therapy is an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health issues. In one study, researchers found that this therapy was effective in treating depression, anxiety, and stress.

This study included 100 participants who were experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. Subsequently, the participants were divided into two groups. One group received Adlerian Therapy, while the other group did not.

The researchers found that the group who received this therapy had significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. In contrast to the group who did not receive this type of therapy. Thus, this study shows that Adlerian Therapy can be an effective treatment for mental health issues.


If you have an interest in learning more about this therapy; there are a few books and resources that you may find helpful. For instance:

  • Adlerian Therapy: Theory and Practice by Laura Berk
  • Counseling the Adlerian Way: Nicholas A. Cummings


Adlerian Therapy is a highly effective approach as research and studies show that it helps people of all ages and backgrounds. So, if you’re looking for a therapist who will support and encourage you to reach your goals. Then this therapy may be the right choice for you. However, it’s important to speak with a qualified therapist to see if it’s right for you. This approach can be highly effective, but it’s not suitable for everyone.

A Word From Therapy Mantra

Your mental health — Your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At TherapyMantra, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, workplace Issues, addiction, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.