20th October 2017 

Adlerian books

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Four key texts by Adler | 'Top 5' essential books about IP | List of recommended Adlerian reading (with mini-reviews) | Other relevant books we like | See bottom of page for BAT Library


Four key texts by Adler


Guide to Adlerian books #01Written for the general public, these classic examples of Adler's popular books from the 1920s & 30s are published in modern translations by Colin Brett with excellent introductions that place the original works in their historical and cultural context. Reissued by Oneworld Publications in 2009 (for details click the links below to Oneworld's website).
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Understanding Life: An Introduction to the Psychology of Alfred Adler
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What Life Could Mean To You: The Psychology of Personal Development
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Social Interest: Adler's Key to the Meaning of Life
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Understanding Human Nature: The Psychology of Personality

Adler's lifespan took him from 'Old Vienna' to New York in the 'Jazz Age', and the enduring vigour of his future-oriented psychology is evident in each of these modern translations. Reading any of these books is a good way to access his original depth of thinking about the individual in society. If you choose only one, Understanding Life (first published in 1927) is probably the most comprehensive, but they are all worth studying.


'Top 5' books about IP


Guide to Adlerian books #02
Adler For Beginners by Anne Hooper, Jeremy Holford & Kathryn HyattI
A Primer of Adlerian Psychology by Harold Mosak & Michael ManiacciI
IP: Theory & Practice by Guy Manaster & Raymond CorsiniI
The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler eds. H & R AnsbacherI
Adlerian Psychotherapy by Ursula Oberst & Alan StewartI

These five titles are a suggestion for starting an Adlerian library. See more details on each of them in the main 'Recommended' list below or click here to download the 'Top 5' list with mini-reviews (PDF).

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Recommended Adlerian reading
Arranged alphabetically by author/editor

Latest additions:
Learning Couples by Zivit Abramson (ASIIP 2014)I
Perchance to Dream by Leo Gold (ASIIP 2013)I
Adlerian Psychology as a Learning Theory by Steve Slavik & James W Croake (ASIIP 2012)I


Guide to Adlerian books #03Learning Couples
Dr Zivit Abramson (ASIIP 2014)

An important and substantial addition to the Adlerian literature on working therapeutically with couples. Dr Abramson explores the meaning of the 'hidden contract' entered into by couples, and describes ways to help the partners in the relationship help themselves to change it, using the insights and methods of Adlerian psychology.


The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A Systematic Presentation in Selections from his Writings
Heinz Ansbacher & Rowena Ansbacher, Eds. (Harper 1964)

A review of this seminal book in Contemporary Psychology stated: “Adler’s ideas have gone into the mainstream of contemporary thought and have become the accepted clinical common sense of our time. In this process they have often lost the tag of his name, but they are operating widely to achieve the mission that was closest to his heart.” The Ansbachers were Adler’s most dedicated editors as well as untiring proponents of IP, and were committed to organising his diverse papers into a coherent whole. This invaluable example of their work – which includes their astute commentaries on Adler’s writings – should be on every Adlerian’s shelf. Back to 'Top 5' list


Guide to Adlerian books #04Counselling & Psychotherapy: An Integrated, Individual Psychology Approach
Don Dinkmeyer & Len Sperry (Prentice Hall 1999, 3rd ed.)

Aimed primarily at students of counselling, the three major sections of this chunky book are Theory, Skills & Strategies, and Applications. There are chapters on counselling children, older people, couples and families. Perhaps due to this broad scope, it does occasionally feel a bit lacking in depth. Very good chapters on personality development and psychopathology. Surprisingly there is no mention of gender or sexuality. Otherwise a very well-organised and highly accessible resource for trainees.



Children: The Challenge
Rudolf Dreikurs with Vicki Soltz (Plume 1992)

First published in 1964, never been out of print and has sold well over half a million copies. With the passing of the decades inevitably some aspects of the writing do feel a bit ‘sixties’ but what stands out is the rigorous common sense and compelling logic of Dreikurs’ approach. Full of stories of family life every parent (and child) can easily relate to.


Psychodynamics, Psychotherapy and Counselling
Rudolf Dreikurs (Adler School of Professional Studies 1982)

Like Dreikurs' Social Equality (see below), this is a seminal work on the practice of Adlerian therapy.


Social Equality: The Challenge of Today
Rudolf Dreikurs (Regnery 1971)

This classic text, all about democratic principles and practice in Adlerian work, is unfortunately out of print; as a collector's item it is seldom available through Amazon at a reasonable price. Try www.abebooks.co.uk where you might find a slightly tatty copy for about 15.


Guide to Adlerian books #05Psychological Fingerprints: Lifestyle Assessment & Interventions
Daniel Eckstein & Roy Kern (Kendall Hunt 2002)

A large-format book with a huge range to match its size. It's also got a big price – about 50. For that kind of money you would expect a really exceptional compendium of all the things you would ever want to know about the core Adlerian concept of Lifestyle, plus innumerable tried and tested techniques to explore it constructively and therapeutically alongside clients. This book seems to deliver. It is thoroughly detailed yet accessible (although there are several typos and grammatical errors, and there is no index) and includes charts and questionnaires and a wide variety of tools and models to bring into play. There is an especially comprehensive chapter on different ways of working with Early Recollections.


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Guide to Adlerian books #06You Are What You Remember
Patrick Estrade (Perseus/Da Capo 2008)

Subtitled “A Pathbreaking Guide to Understanding and Interpreting Your Childhood Memories”, this is a friendly yet sophisticated self-help text by a French psychoanalyst who trained in Berlin and gives full credit to Adler for the methodology he uses in the book. Its distinctly European tone and cultural references make it a welcome addition to the predominantly North American contributions in the field.



The Freud-Adler Controversy
Bernhard Handlbauer (Oneworld 1998)

Charts the rise and fall of their remarkable relationship and explores the theories which united and divided the two men.
An absorbing, thoroughly researched study which ends with a balanced contemporary view of the painful split and its repercussions. Handlbauer, a German clinical psychologist, takes an admirably impartial position on the conflict, and skilfully evokes the powerful personalities of Adler and Freud.


Guide to Adlerian books #07Perchance to Dream: Dream Work in Four Movements (Language, Symbolism, Interpretation, Therapy)
Leo Gold (ASIIP 2013)

For more info, go to ASIIP Publications


Guide to Adlerian books #08Adler For Beginners
A Hooper, J Holford, K Hyatt (Writers & Readers 1998)

Entertaining and informative 'documentary comic-book' vividly presenting Adler’s ideas within the context of his early life, his personal development and medical career, his marriage to the socialist-feminist Raissa Epstein, the break with Freud, and his remarkably influential legacy. The text contains the odd misprint, and some of the illustrations are daft, but these do not detract from the value of the book. A great starting point if you know little or nothing about Adler and Individual Psychology. Even if you are already familiar with Adlerian psychology, this book is a colourful reminder of the sociopolitical context in which Adler’s personality made such a huge impact. Back to 'Top 5' list


Guide to Adlerian books #09Religion and Spirituality in Psychotherapy: An Individual Psychology Perspective
Thor Johansen (Springer 2010)

The author methodically examines the common themes of IP and the major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism), arguing that many of Adler’s theories run parallel to the religious understanding of human nature. Johansen takes the view that since Adler placed social connectedness at the centre of his theory, its goals are consistent with any religion that seeks to improve the conditions of humankind. Perhaps because from this perspective religious faith itself is not seen to be problematic, almost no reference is made to contemporary controversies around sexualities and gender politics, and oddly the subject of death barely occurs in the whole book. However, the case examples of doing therapy using IP with individuals of different faiths are useful illustrations of the importance of diversity awareness. If you are looking for a depth psychology analysis of religion from an Adlerian perspective, this book is not it, but it does certainly provide a solid foundation for further exploration.

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Guide to Adlerian books #10Metaphor Therapy: Using Client-Generated Metaphors in Psychotherapy
Richard R Kopp (Brunner Mazel 1995)

Open this book and the metaphors start to flow instantly – the text constantly reminds the reader how metaphorically saturated our language is. Kopp, a professor and clinical psychologist in California, describes how to work creatively with the richness of clients’ metaphoric imagery. He presents a careful methodology, explains how this considerably enhances therapeutic work – especially in change-oriented therapy – and gives several step-by-step case examples. He also looks beyond Adlerian psychology to Eriksonian hypnotherapy, CBT and neuropsychology.


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Guide to Adlerian books #11Raising Kids Who Can
Amy Lew & Betty Lou Bettner
(Connexions Press 1990)

The subtitle “Using Family Meetings to Nurture Responsible, Co-operative, Caring and Happy Children” says it all. The authors are skilled exponents of Adlerian and Dreikursian psychology and draw on loads of experience (Bettner brought up 19 children – 4 of her own and 15 fostered). Full of solid good sense. A modern classic.


A Parent’s Guide to Understanding and Motivating Children
Amy Lew & Betty Lou Bettner
(Connexions Press 2000)

Another excellent little book to give/lend to clients who are involved in the care of children. The ideas in it are realistic, accessible, practicable, clearly written without dumbing down or condescension. Probably the best account of the Adlerian ‘Crucial C’s’ model.



Individual Psychology: Theory & Practice
Guy J Manaster & Raymond J Corsini (Adler School of Professional Psychology 2009)

Both authors did some of their training with Rudolf Dreikurs (1897-1972) who worked with Adler, so they are steeped in the history of IP as well as being highly experienced practitioners of it. It is perhaps typically Adlerian of them to include a chapter frankly recounting the personal challenges involved in writing the book together, making their co-operative contribution all the more enjoyable. They generously communicate their deep understanding of both the theory and practice of Adlerian psychology with plenty of stories, jokes, and illustrative metaphors, and provide two case studies plus several research abstracts. A rich resource. Back to 'Top 5' list


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Guide to Adlerian books #12How You Feel Is Up To You
Gary McKay & Don Dinkmeyer (Impact Publishers 2002)

A highly practical tool-kit of a book by two leading Adlerian psychologists, all about transforming your feelings from liabilities into assets. Very much on the cognitive-behavioural side of IP. Packed with self-assessment and self-discovery exercises, the whole book is imbued with a vigorous ‘can do’ approach to emotional and relational problems, echoing Adler's bold motto 'Anyone Can Learn Anything'. An optimistic and often humorous self-help manual, and also a creative resource for counsellors looking for ‘homework’ ideas for clients.



A Primer of Adlerian Psychology: The Analytic-Behavioral-Cognitive Psychology of Alfred Adler
Harold Mosak & Michael Maniacci (Brunner-Mazel 1999)

A very readable and comprehensive book by two Adlerian clinical psychologists working in Chicago. This slim but impressive volume packs a lot of practical philosophy and vital theoretical learning into 170 pages. Well organised with students in mind, includes chapter summaries and points for reflection, full references, a glossary, annotated bibliography, and (unusually) a critique of IP. A ‘must have’ for any student of Adlerian psychology. Back to 'Top 5' list


Guide to Adlerian books #13Adlerian Psychotherapy
Ursula Oberst & Alan Stewart (Brunner Routledge 2003)

Subtitled "An Advanced Approach to Individual Psychology", this book gives an account of the evolution of classical Adlerian theory, re-examines the principles from a contemporary international perspective, and then discusses how IP can be developed further. The authors, who take a strongly integrationist and constructivist approach, bring IP right up to date and highlight its theoretical and practical relevance in a postmodern world. The section on the relationship of Adlerian therapy to other psychotherapeutic approaches is particularly valuable and intellectually stimulating. As well as chapters on family therapy and child guidance, there is research material and a case study. Highly recommended. Back to 'Top 5' list


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Guide to Adlerian books #14Adlerian Psychology as a Learning Theory
Steve Slavik & James W Croake (ASIIP 2012)

"Slavik and Croake have written a splendid review of Adlerian theory and learning theory, especially as it applies to the development of skills and values associated with the Life Style of the individual and the acquisition of new behaviours required in therapy. Their work emphasises the importance of individual differences in the acquisition of new skills and behaviours and its impact on motivation for new learning." (John Newbauer, from the book cover.)


Adlerian Group Counselling & Therapy
Manford Sonstegard & James Bitter (Brunner Routledge 2004)

[Review being re-written]



Guide to Adlerian books #15The Quest to Feel Good
Paul R Rasmussen (Routledge 2010)

A brilliantly conceived book all about emotions – their origins and purpose and how we use them. Emphasising Adlerian theory as an holistic 'psychology of use' and combining its basic principles with Theodore Millon's evolutionary theory of personality, Rasmussen (a professor of psychology and an Adlerian-trained therapist) has merged research and scholarship into a rich text aimed at the general reader as well as therapy professionals. His technical method of describing the process of 'feeling good' via his diagrammatic 'Z-Factor' model might not appeal to everyone, but there is such a lot of fascinating stuff throughout the book, especially on physiology and neuroscience, that it probably doesn't matter! The chapter on IP is superb in itself. There are also good appendices, especially one summarising the adaptive purpose of emotional expression. Strongly recommended.

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Guide to Adlerian books #16Encouragement Makes Good Things Happen
Theo Schoenaker (Routledge 2011)

This is the first English translation (by R John Huber, Jutta Street and Sandra Lose) of the best-selling German book Mut Tut Gut by Theo Schoenaker, a Dutch therapist who has lived in Germany for many years and founded the Adler-Dreikurs Institute there. Written in an engaging and conversational style, the book explores the negative consequences of discouragement on the individual and on society as a whole. It then discusses what encouragement is, why it is important in people's lives, and how individuals can encourage both themselves and others. Several exercises are included to help guide mental health professionals in 'encouragement training'. A book of wisdom, written from the heart, which is surely where all 'feelings of community' originate.


Guide to Adlerian books #17The Psychology of Courage: An Adlerian Handbook for Healthy Social Living
Julia Yang, Alan P Milliren, Mark Blagen (Routledge 2010)

Deeply imbued with thoughtful Adlerian optimism and an egalitarian ethos, this collaborative book also conveys a strong spiritual sense. Professor Yang has a Taiwanese heritage and so it’s apt that she reminds us that in his day Alfred Adler was called “the Confucius of the West”. It is also observed how similar many of Adler’s ideas are to the philosophical system espoused by Socrates, and one of the great contributions made by this handbook is the abundance of examples of Socratic thinking and questioning. The middle part of the book explores courage in relation to the Life Tasks, and in the final section it delivers a finely tuned set of IP tools for helping to facilitate courage via counselling and other helping relationships – not least through Socratic dialogue of course. Overall, this handbook is an excellent example of Adlerian psychology in action.
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