Adler & Socrates: Similarieis and Differences Essay

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ADLER AND SOCRATES: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES By Henry T. Stein, Ph.D. (Originally published in INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol 47:2, June 1991. Copyright 199. Re-published on the Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington web site at This material may not be copied, published, or distributed without the expressed consent of Dr. Stein, e-mail:, tel: (36) 647-5670.) Introductory Remarks Upon discovering the Socratic method in Plato's writings Benjamin Franklin wrote: I was charm'd with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradictions and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter (Binder, 1970). This paper will provide a brief overview of the art of Socratic "style" questioning, as used by Alfred Adler, Alexander Mueller, and Sophia de Vries. Its purpose is to re-awaken a clinical interest in Adler's original, creative therapeutic approach. Adler's Therapeutic Technique Adler's philosophy and theory of personality is well documented in his writings. Adler demonstrated his therapeutic approach; he did not write about it at length. The people who studied with him learned his style of treatment by observing him and absorbing it first hand. He insisted that Adlerian psychotherapy had to be creative, that it could not be made into a system or procedure. Many therapists, students, and university professors are not aware of the original Adlerian approach. One reason is that most of Adler's writings have been out of print for some time and his two most important clinical works, The Neurotic Constitution and The Theory and Practice of Individual Psychology, are very poorly translated. The other reason is that the classical Adlerian technique of psychotherapy has not been comprehensively documented or widely demonstrated. Sophia de Vries. Sophia de Vries is an Adlerian psychotherapist with over fifty years of

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