Adlerian Theories of Gender Development

In 1910, Alfred Adler’s development of his individual psychology model profoundly disturbed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and its leader,Sigmund Freud. Adler proposed that the formation of personality, and indeed all of personal development, was not based on sexuality but on the individual’s movement from a feeling of inferiority or inadequacy, striving toward a perceived better or superior outcome—from a felt-minus position to a felt-plus position. Adler claimed that the most powerful expression of this movement was in protest against masculine privilege, which both women and men experienced in society. Indeed, each person’s gender identity was in part an interpretation of their position in relation to masculine privilege. In this sense, Adler’s theory, based on socialism and feminism, was the first socio-clinical perspective on gender ...

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