Dr. Alfred Adler's Psychology for Everyone
The LifeCourse Institute of Adlerian Psychology
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 860-345-3204 Mail: LifeCourse, 3 Mario Drive, Higganum, CT 06441
LEAP: The LifeCourse Effective Action Program
is a structured program for adults (individuals, couples, groups, classes) who want to
understand themselves better, gain more control over their lives, be more effective,
improve their relationships, and set and achieve meaningful goals for their lives. It is
useful for those in or entering psychotherapy, 12-step programs, support groups, marital
therapy, marriage preparation, or marriage enrichment. LEAP is based on Dr. Alfred Adlers Individual Psychology, one of the most
influential forces in modern psychotherapy. Each LEAP session requires preparation using
materials supplied. Central to understanding your Patterns and preparing for each session
is the 300-page LEAP NoteBook, which provides complete instructions and preparation
material, including spaces to keep notes on all the topics in each Patterns session. Each
session follows four steps using the LEAP acronym:
The session pattern is introduced with
detailed explanation of how the Pattern applies to all people in general, why we all
create such Patterns to manage certain parts of our lives, and how people apply the
Pattern not only as children but also as adults. (I've summarized the ten LifeCourse
Patterns briefly, below.)
How, at the start, you learned to fit in to your family's history, ways, values, traditions, etc.
At birth you entered a world and a family already in place. All you could do was try to understand it the best your could and make a place for yourself. The ways you did that still influence you in many ways, through the patterns you created as a child to manage your childhood world.
You entered a family with its own unique traditions and history, its values and definition of "who we are," its private secrets and public boasts, and its attitudes about religion, politics, work and education. It carried unique genetic codes, including inheritable diseases. While these patterns are "in the background," they are basic to who you are. You cannot avoid their influence. You had no choice over who your parents would be, what your ancestors were like, or what genetic difficulties would be passed along to you. So you tried to fit in the best you could with your parents, any siblings already there, grandparents and other relatives all with family influences of their own, and all of which formed a rich and complicated mixture!
How you observed your parents as models of ways you'd be as an adult
In the beginning, as children, we saw in our parents the models of what we would one day be as parents, partners, males and females, providers, etc. In play, we pretended and imitated their moods, actions, posture, walk, words, and more. In this session we look at six roles our parents played which we then rehearsed and now play in our families, at work, with friends, etc. Our parents provided several major roles for us to take on in later life with others:
And they were examples of what it meant to be Human Beings, members of the community of other human beings: going to work, visiting, perhaps being a community leader, worrying about world events, and all the rest. And again, we wanted to be like that when we grew up.
How we learned to behave with others based on our childhood position among our siblings
Adler believed a strong influence on personality is our sibling position. There is the numerical position (oldest, middle, youngest, only, etc.) and psycho-social position (based on sex, illness, talent, looks, intelligence, parental preferences, etc.). From your sibling setting, you created ways to think and behave which you still use with others today.
Adlers best known ideas are the inferiority feelings, and compensation/over-compensation to achieve superiority. We did this with siblings by trying to overcome, dominate, or be superior in a different field. Such actions result in Basic Patterns which, as adults, we repeat with sibling-like others: friends, coworkers or supervisors, etc. The session includes ways to compare yourself to siblings. We look at sibling relationships and how they affect you today in relation to sibling-like adults as well as your actual siblings.
All the other things we experienced in childhood.
This Pattern involves all the other childhood experiences, events, attitudes and behaviors we had as children, and carried with us (as "lessons for life") into adulthood. LEAP can't cover all the zillions of possible childhood events, but here are some common topics:
Play, Playmates, and Games This involves "childs play as the childs work," as through play and playmates we rehearsed how to think and act in various world situations.
Imagination and fantasy Day-dreaming; mental replaying of events in which we act more effectively; how we scared ourselves in the dark, and the like. Stories, fairy tales, and characters Stories that scared, pleased, thrilled us; in which we took imaginary parts; favorite characters (heroes, heroines, villains, ogres, witches, etc.); the feelings of having stories told or read to us; our "favorite" which may serve as a theme to our own lives ("Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Sleeping Beauty," etc.). This includes favorite movies, radio or TV shows, etc.
Toys, Pets, Imaginary friend How we found comfort/reassurance in things ("blanket," "stuffed dog," family pet); things we liked to play with when alone; and the "other self" we developed in imagination with whom to feel competent or powerful, or to try out various ideas before trying them with real people.
Dreams and Nightmares Recurring dreams, nightmares, and "night terrors." Dream themes. The dream as problem-solving while asleep. Childhood dreams continuing into teen and/or adult years.
Family Events Reunions, moves, eating out, fights, illnesses, shopping, and all the rest. Holidays, Trips, Vacations Summertime, weekends, carnival/circus, going places, etc.
Key Specific Events (Early Recollections) Adler believed that a half-dozen easily-recalled specific events in childhood tend to summarize much of ones Life Style. We see them as Lifes Master Questions, our answers becoming our Core Beliefs about the way things are. Each summarizes a Basic Truth for us.
School days Adlerians see the first
day of school as significant. We include classmates, favorite teachers, and favorite
subjects here too. Beginning school is the first significant step from family-as-world to
the world-beyond-family: we see how family ways work with others, what family ways to
change and what to keep; our effectiveness in dealing with strangers. Teen years/high
school Similar to our first school days, this combines the effects of puberty with
pressures to change, conform, be effective, fit in, lead or follow, compete or cooperate,
etc. Just like in our first six years of life! Adolescence is our "last chance"
to revise our Patterns before Adulthood.
Six ways you try to feel significant and attached to others based on ways you used as a child.
Adlerians identify four goals of childhood social behavior aimed at getting close to others and feeling important to them. Rudolph Dreikurs said parents can use them to understand a child's mis-behavior, by watching for a child who seeks Attention, Control, Revenge and who, discouraged at attaining the others, Displays Inadequacy.
In LEAP, we expand on them and re-focus the emphasis: not at mis-behavior, but as important ways we seek feel attached, first in our family, then in other relationships. It is when we dont get enough of what we want (attention, for example) that we may mis-behave by exaggerating our efforts so they become unwelcome by others.
When we dont get what we want or as much as we think we deserve, we may exaggerate our efforts to Belong (something Adler called "compensation" and, when neurotic,"over-compensation"). Failure to Belong leads to discouragement, down-heartedness, isolation, and hopelessness. Success leads to encouragement, a sense of belonging, and hope for the future. From this comes what Adler called courage in striving, the notion that one can persevere and overcome in the face of challenges or obstacles. Adler called exaggerated efforts over-compensation and an increased use of Private Logic to excuse or justify our socially-useless behavior. This may lead us to believe that "Its me against them" and therefore "Whatever I do is OK, so long as I get what I want."
How to be more effective by using your Event-Belief-Response cycle.
Adlerians and others such as Albert Ellis (Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy) and Aaron Beck (Cognitive Therapy) have developed ways to understand the process by which humans deal with events and seek to make effective responses, similar to the Event-Belief-Response cycle.
Put simply, an Event happens,which we perceive at several levels (conscious/non-conscious, objective/subjective, etc.). We then tell ourselves what the event "means" (to us). This is our Belief or "personal truth" about the event. We then make a Response to what we believe about the vent (and not the event itself...this is important!) by a thought, feeling, or action. This is how you are effective (more or less) or ineffective in your life from moment to moment.
One result of a Response is a self-rating of effectiveness That is, how effective were we in our response? (This involves several things, including how we define effectiveness or success, such as what has to have happened as a result of what we did.) This leads us to a level of confidence on which further responses can be based. (That is, based on our past response-effectiveness, how much to we believe in ourselves to be effective in the future.) A low level may lead to discouragement and a feeling of future inability or incompetence; a high level may lead to encouragement and a feeling of future capability and competence. Mastery of ones E-B-R Cycle is a major goal of LEAP.
Your Core Beliefs about Self, Others, and the World
Adler said each person has "Life Tasks" to accomplish. Not to do so successfully results in incomplete, socially-useless living. They are Marriage Community, and Work. In LEAP we expand and rearrange them, and call them the six "core beliefs" which are the foundation of your existence. So when life causes you to doubt, fear, or question, it is to these fundamental Beliefs that you turn for certainty and reassurance, and to maintain continuity throughout your life.
What you believe specifically in these six areas often result from specific events in childhood. Adlerians call them "Early Recollections." they serve as memorable "turning points" or "Ah hah!" experiences in which you said to yourself, in effect, "So THIS is the way the world is!" At our deepest Self, we maintain our core beliefs as they were when we developed them as children. We are reluctant to change them based on new experience or information, because we fear that, if we did, we might become someone entirely different!
How you lead yourself astray from what you say are your goals
We think we know where were headed in life, where we want to go, what we want to achieve. Yet in some ways were our own worst enemy, because we may say we want one thing, but do the things that lead us someplace else. In this session we look at three common ways we lead ourselves astray.
How you describe your Ideal self, Ideal others, and Ideal world to yourself
As children, based on various experiences, we developed Ideal mental images of the way wed like things to be if they were perfect. We may have gotten such images from favorite books, movies, TV or radio programs, friends, siblings, parents. We may have had specific experiences that contributed to these mages. The point is that they are "perfect" and we maintain them throughout our lives as templates against which to measure our actual, real-world experiences. You might think of these images as portraits hung on the wall of your mind. Looking at them in your mental (art gallery" you say to yourself, "This is the way it would be if things were perfect."
Here are several examples of the kinds of mental images we have:
Other such Images include ideal friend, ideal spare-time activity/hobby, in fact practically anything that we think is important, interesting, or worthwhile in our lives! We can even include ideal book, movie, and anything else abut which we have expectations.
How you move through life as an adult, using ways you created to manage your childhood
Despite the effects of Patterns created early in life, we are in a constant process of growth, change, and movement beyond who we are to what we may yet be. You probably manage your life pretty well; youve had many years to practice. In LEAP we look at how you manage growth and change. All involve an important thing that may make us human beings unique, and that is our ability to mentally visualize the way things could be, and then do things necessary to make them happen.
MAP: Your Master Action Pattern
The "Pattern-of-Your-Patterns" that guides your entire LifeCourse
Together, the LifeCourse Patterns form the larger, unified pattern by which you operate your life each day. We call it your Master Action Pattern (MAP). It is your plan-of-action for the rest of your life, based on what your life has been so far. The image is used to suggest how you plan to "get from here to there" on the road of life. LEAP says that, if you want to end up someplace else, youll need to change course. Following childhoods ways can be like trying to find a new place on an old map. which shows old paths and narrow roads where now there are super-highways and short-cuts!
Adler created the term Life Style, the largest and most complete concept in all of psychology, to indicate the entire, unified "whole" of an individuals life. Today the term is used in a more superficial way, so we speak of LifeCourse to mean much the same thing. Adler also created the first holistic psychology and theory of personality. He saw a person as complete and integrated, not separate traits or "psychic parts" (such as Freuds "Ego" and "Id"). He chose the Latin word individuum ("that which cannot be separated") when he named his approach, Individual Psychology.
In the last session, we look at your MAP, suggest revisions to work on, finish anything left from other sessions, and complete work on your Target Task.
Once done with the ten-session workshop, some people continue sessions to apply LifeCourse learnings to other life areas. Blocks of three one-hour sessions are offered at a fee of $100 per block. These sessions more closely resemble traditional psychotherapy, while still based on the LifeCourse Patterns approach.
To take LEAP at home at your own pace
and time . . .
email: email@example.com Phone: 860-345-3204 Mail: LifeCourse, 3 Mario Drive, Higganum, CT 06441