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Difference Between Adler and Freud

Adler Vs Freud

Who is Adler and who is Freud? Alfred Adler, an Austrian medical doctor and psychotherapist, turned out to be closely linked to Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychiatry who popularized theories of repression, defense mechanism and the unconscious mind. Having founded individual psychology, Adler also teamed up with Freud and his other colleagues to fortify the psychoanalytic movement.

Sigmund Freud, also an Austrian, is a neurologist by heart. Being proud of his accomplishments, Freud firmly believed in one of his supposed greatest contributions to psychology–the theory on dream analysis and that human dreams hold many secrets to his subjective nature. Even if this claim seemed to have little bearing back then due to its untestable nature, many Freudian followers today continue to support him especially with the advancements in nerve cell analysis and the study of neural pathways.

Despite being known as a cocaine user and having several health issues, Freud’s ideas and theories still live on to this date like his concepts on repressed thoughts and the role or nature of one’s conscience to his own mental health.

On the other side of the coin, Adler is said to be the first big figure from Freud’s group to formally break away and form his own school of psychotherapy. Despite this move, he still respected Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis even if the latter had denounced his ideas as being too opposing to his own theories. His school of thought later played a crucial role in the field of psychology as he influenced several notable figures such as Albert Ellis and Abraham Maslow (the proponent of the ever popular Hierarchy of Needs).

Adler also believes that man must be understood as a complete whole–a holistic being–not some segmented parts theorized by Freud as the id, ego and super ego. Nevertheless, the Freudian principle on the fragmented human being remained the dominant thought for understanding human psychology. Adler still followed many of Freud’s earlier assertions (i.e. the development or creation of one’s personality from his or her own childhood experiences).

Adler also became popular for his concept of inferiority complex, which seems to have a direct effect on one’s self esteem and overall mental health. He also supported the works of Nietzche, while Freud disliked the idea of reading anything from Nietzche. Surprisingly enough, Freud seemed to have embraced some of Nietzche’s ideas later on in his more recent publications as the concept of the death drive (one’s innate desire to die) and the drive to live.

1. Freud is an Austrian neurologist while Adler is more of a medical doctor and psychotherapist.
2. Adler stresses more on understanding the person as a whole being, whereas Freud, on the fragmented view of an individual’s ego, super ego and id principles.
3. Freud initially disliked the principles of Nietzche unlike Adler who had been an avid supporter.


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