Category Archives: Goals

The Dialectic of the Soul

The philosophic foundation of Adlerian psychotherapy lies in its dialectical understanding of the soul in the world. This is expressed by Gustav Emil Mueller, who probably had no connection with Adler or his movement, in his book Dialectic: a way into and within philosophy.

An action is always perceived as being purposive. It is characterised by meaning or intending something beyond itself. Tell me what you believe in, what you strive for, and I can tell you what you are. An action begins with a feeling of discrepancy between my wishes and the situation. If my wishes are frustrated by an obstacle I am compelled to take a look, to form a clearer perception of the obstacle, whereupon I build my plans to remove or alter the obstacle in order to suit my desire. … The soul is perceived in its actions as individuated. Individual means unique and indivisible. You cannot separate any action of feeling, desire, thinking, dreaming, and so forth, from the self which is inseparable from them as their unity.

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The Soul in Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, therapy of the soul, requires as its basis an understanding of the soul.
The Soul is singular in that it is both a part of the natural world of causation and a creative power exerting influence on and in that world. The soul is in the world of physical determination and in the world of self-determination, telos.
When our goals change a realignment begins. This is the real basis of psychotherapy, counselling, coaching, training and education. For the psychotherapist it is fundamental: the client, every client can change, providing that he can see the world and himself within it with different eyes. This new view changes the view of what is required and thus changes the client’s goals.

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