Adlerian lifestyle assessments
Learn about Adlerian lifestyle Assessments and why we behave and think the way we do. What are early recollections and what do they tell us?
Adlerian Lifestyle Assessments
Adler was an early psychologist who focused much of his work to understanding children and their social and behavioral development. He believed that much of our personalities and beliefs (or lifestyles as Adler termed them) were developed through the experiences we have early in life and more importantly, how we perceive and understand those experiences. Adlerian life style assessments are structured explorations into different aspects of your life. They are composed of an extensive series of questions aimed at identifying the way you understand the world and your underlying values.
Adler believed that most of the personality or lifestyle was developed by age five. By this age most of us have established some basic understanding of our world and how we fit in it. While we continue to grow beyond this point, we generally interpret our experiences based on our preconceived beliefs. This explains how many people and even family members can go through a similar experience and interpret it completely differently.
Lifestyle assessments explore your family of origin; your birth order; early memories; your beliefs about gender, achievement, significance, and belonging, and more; and help to identify what makes you YOU. But again these things only matter based on the way they affect you.
Consider the following: Do you know someone who can’t take a compliment? Maybe they discount all the positive things people say to them and only believe the negative? Or maybe you know someone who is always worrying and expecting the worst? Or maybe you’ve met someone who despite very difficult life circumstances, always seems to be optimistic and believe they can turn things around. Each of these represent different types of beliefs that compose a person’s lifestyle.
With a trained Adlerian therapist you can discover aspects of and better understand your own lifestyle. Only through understanding and insight can you change aspects of your lifestyle that are hindering you.
Why do we behave the way we do?
Adler believed that all behavior was goal directed, we are just not always aware of our goals. This makes sense when you observe children. Why does a four year old scream to get a toy? Because this has worked for him in the past to get his way. Why does a teen dye their hair crazy colors? Because she wants to feel noticed and this has shock value for her parents.
But what about adults and our emotion- driven behavior? Why might someone feel anxious for example? It’s possible that behaving in an anxious way or communicating with others about anxiety in the past has led to others offering help and caretaking. In this way the goal of the anxious behavior might be to seek help and comfort. This of course is just one possibility, it all depends on the individual’s lifestyle. In the words of Adler, “everything can also be different.”
On a deeper level if you’ve ever asked yourself, “why did I do that?” or “why did I say that” there are probably underlying beliefs that could be discovered based on your natural desire to feel secure, significant, and belong. These are core goals that we all share, but we try to achieve them through different means based on our individual convictions.