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Adlerian therapy, developed by Alfred Adler (1870–1937), is an encouragement-focused counseling approach that focuses on prevention and education rather than merely remediation, mental health rather than mental illness, and clients’ strengths, assets, and abilities rather than their weakness and disabilities. Early in his career, Adler was a colleague of Sigmund Freud, but his theory and practice of counseling evolved over time into an integration of cognitive, constructivist, existential-humanistic, systemic, and psychodynamic perspectives. Consequently, it is difficult to situate Adlerian therapy in one theoretical category (e.g., psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, or cognitive).

Scholars have suggested that Adler’s most important contribution may have been his influence on other theoretical approaches. Adler’s influence has been acknowledged by—or his vision traced to—neo-Freudian approaches, existential therapy, person-centered therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapies, reality therapy, family ...

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