Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory

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15 April 2016

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Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory
Adler chose to teach and practice over getting organized and presenting a well- defined systematic theory, making his written presentations difficult to follow. More research needed to support the effectiveness of the theory. Limited use for clients seeking immediate solutions to their problems and unwilling to explore childhood experiences, early memories, and dreams. One of its strengths is that it is a therapy for everyone in the society and its practitioners do mind about what kind of generation is coming that will inherit in a comprehensive ecological sense and one of its weaknesses has been fairly an amazing amount of family gathering and lifestyle information that is typically collected. Advantages of Adlerian Theory

It can be used for numerous issues and disorders.
Uses encouragement.
It is phenomenological.
it does not consider people to be predisposed to anything.
Applicable to diverse populations and presenting issues
Disadvantages of Adlerian Theory
Difficult to learn (e.g., making dream interpretations)
Works best with highly verbal and intelligent clients. This might leave out many people who do not fit that category. Might be too lengthy for managed care.
Adlerians do not like to make diagnoses

Two Strengths

One of the strengths of the Psychodynamic Approach is that it provided a valuable insight into how early experiences or relationships can affect our adult personality. One of the examples of this is that fixations can be caused at the Oral Stage of psychosexual development such as being separated from the primary caregiver too early or having feeding difficulties. These fixations can then lead to psychological problems centred round eating or drinking. Supporting evidence for this strength was carried out by Jacobs at al (1966) using Rorschach inkblots to compare the orality of smokers and non-smokers. It was found that smokers emerged as being significantly more oral.

Another strength of the Psychodynamic Approach is that it is the first approach to try and attempt to explain mental illness in psychological terms and has had an enormous influence on the understand and treatment of mental disorders. An example of this is Psychoanalysis and Dream Therapy which aims to make the unconscious material conscious so it is easier to deal with as Freud believed that dreams showed our hidden thoughts and wishes. Evidence to support this was carried out by Sandell (1999) who studied the symptoms of 756 patients before and after three years or state-funded psychoanalysis and found that patients had significantly fewer symptoms after the therapy.

Two weaknesses

One of the weaknesses of the Psychodynamic Approach is that most of Freud’s is based on findings of case studies, single individual where cases are often unique and there are problems with generalization.

Another weakness of the Psychodynamic Approach is that Freud did not take into account cultural variations. Most of his research was done on white, middle class people. Every class and culture of people have differ ways and values, so his findings cannot be generalized to all cultures.

11 Strengths of Psychoanalysis
1)Offers an in-depth perspective (i.e., transference, countertransference) that emphasizes exploring the origins of psychopathology

2)The focus on developmental considerations

3)Most of the models address sexuality (except self psychology, which sees sexuality as a drive derivative—secondary to narcissistic concerns).

4)Freud brought gender issues to the fore with notion of “penis envy”.

5) The notion of “repetition compulsion” transcends theory, often drawn by several models as a central concept. 6)Gabbard—Many people do not respond to medications or brief therapy—Some people want to derive deeper meaning about themselves beyond symptom reduction.

7) The
notion of “unconscious” begins to explain behavior that we are unaware of.

8) There is biological research that supports some of Freud’s claims (“divided brain” studies).

9)The focus on relationship (particularly by object relations) 10)Self psychology understands psychopathology in terms of “dysregulation states”, which has been confirmed through neurobiological literature.

11)The universality of defense mechanisms and their use across theories. 6 Weaknesses of psychoanalysis:

1)Psychoanalytic jargon serves to confuse rather than clarify concepts.

2)Some of the ideas (penis envy, Oedipus) are outdated in terms of our contemporary world, and it is questioned by some theorists/practitioners whether these concepts are clinically useful.

3) The approach lacks a theory of intervention—not enough focus on technique.

4)The exclusive focus on the past can lead to “analysis paralysis” 5)The theory only provides a piece of the pie—often neglecting biological, cultural, and social considerations 6)Too many patients (perhaps psychotic, borderline) are not considered appropriate for psychoanalysis.

Person centeret (itouch)
The therapist Function and role
The existential therapist is primarily concerned with understanding the subjective world of the client and how to help them come to a new understanding and option. The therapy focuses on the client’s current life situations. Existential therapist uses various methods for different clients and different methods at different phases of the therapeutic One of the strengths of the existential therapy is their ability to enable clients to examine the degree to which their behavior is influenced by family, cultural, social conditioning. If personal needs cannot be satisfied or personal goal cannot be realized in interpersonal relations, one may experience frustration, anxiety, or depression (Chen, 2009). Limitations for multicultural counseling

One of the limitations of the existential therapy in the area of multicultural populations is that they are excessively individualistic and ignores the social factors that cause humans problems. Even though clients change internally, the social factors and environmental circumstances such as racism, discrimination and oppression severely restrict their ability to influence the direction of their lives. An example is an African American client who comes from the ghetto and the existential therapist consistently tells the client that he or she has a choice in making his or her life better, when in reality he or she does not. .

Reality therapy (iotuch other)

According to most experts, the main advantages of reality therapy relate to the way it focuses clients directly on solutions to their problems. Reality therapists tend to avoid too much focus on internal issues and things in a person’s past, preferring instead to deal with things that are happening in the present. According to some, the strength of reality therapy can also be its weakness. Some people feel that reality therapists don’t have enough focus on how internal issues and things in a person’s memory can affect present-day behavior, potentially leaving clients with lingering issues.

Additionally, some experts feel that the focus on the consequences of life decisions may make patients feel like they are being blamed for their problems, which could be counter-productive. Reality therapy is generally all about identifying problems, making plans to solve them, and then doing what is necessary to keep clients focused on implementing the plans. In this sense, it is a therapeutic method much more focused on solutions than causes. There may be some attention paid to the reason why a person has a problem, but only as much as is necessary to figure out a workable solution. This focus on plans and solving of problems is sometimes seen as a weakness because experts worry that the focus on psychological issues as a consequence of behavior may make patients feel like failures, potentially hurting their self-esteem. REBT

Another criticism is that this technique would be easy to practice poorly and since the approach is loose, it would be easy to get off track. Some people would even say that all the talking and “disputing” could be better spent “doing” something about the problems. For people who don’t like to talk, this would probably not be the best approach. if the client does not want to be an active participant in changing the way he/she thinks, this method would not be a good fit. Or even if a client is already very skilled in self-reflection, this might be a less useful approach. As for advantages or strengths, REBT is a drug-free approach for people looking for solutions in changing the way they think, not using drug therapy. The results are seen relatively quickly because of the emphasis on the present. The therapist does not need to delve into every bad thing that ever happened.

He/she needs to look at a few activating situations and do exercises about how to change your thinking about these events. another advantage is that once a person becomes well-versed in the technique, he/she can use it anytime if the negative or irrational beliefs appear. When a person is skilled at the technique, there may not be a need to go to a therapist every time. but hard work is the only way to feel better and continue to feel better about yourself. So, we must do the work on a daily basis to help us understand our behavior. Behavioral Therapy

It has a wide variety of empirically supported techniques used by behavioral therapists. Another upside to behavior therapy is it’s availability to a broad spectrum of individuals. the efficiency of behavior therapy has allowed for the patient’s complaints to be addressed more quickly than other forms of psychotherapy. Behavior therapy focuses on techniques to address current problems, instead of trying to get to the internal root of the problem through years of intense therapy or looking through the patient’s long history. LIMITATIONS

behavior therapy has, over the years, sculpted many of their techniques and methods from clinician experience, which is far from the empirical support they claim to have. One of the more serious criticisms that behavior therapy has received it that it is dehumanizing. Behavior therapy is also said to lack the promotion of internal growth in its clients.

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"Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory" StudyScroll, 15 April 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5 October, 2022]

"Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory" StudyScroll, Apr 15, 2016. Accessed Oct 5, 2022.

"Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory" StudyScroll, Apr 15, 2016.

"Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory" StudyScroll, 15-Apr-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 5-Oct-2022]

StudyScroll. (2016). Limitations and Criticisms of the Adlerian Theory. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5-Oct-2022]

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