n 1937, a young Abraham Maslow was having dinner in a New York restaurantwith a somewhat older colleague. The older man was widely known for his earlierassociation with Sigmund Freud, and many people, including Maslow, regarded himas a disciple of Freud. When Maslow casually asked the older man about beingFreud’s follower, the older man became quite angry, and according to Maslow, henearly shouted that
this was a lie and a swindle for which he blamed Freud entirely, whom he thencalled names like swindler, sly, schemer. . . . He said that he had never been astudent of Freud or a disciple or a follower. He made it clear from the beginningthat he didn’t agree with Freud and that he had his own opinions. (Maslow, 1962,p. 125)
Maslow, who had known the older man as an even-tempered, congenial person, wasstunned by his outburst. The older man, of course, was Alfred Adler, who battled throughout his pro-fessional life to dispel the notion that he had ever been a follower of Freud. When-ever reporters and other people would inquire about his early relationship withFreud, Adler would produce the old faded postcard with Freud’s invitation to Adlerto join Freud and three other physicians to meet at Freud’s home the following Thurs-day evening. Freud closed the invitation saying, “With hearty greetings as your col-league” (quoted in Hoffman, 1994, p. 42). This friendly remark gave Adler sometangible evidence that Freud considered him to be his equal.However, the warm association between Adler and Freud came to a bitter end,with both men hurling caustic remarks toward the other. For example, after WorldWar I, when Freud elevated aggression to a basic human drive, Adler, who had longsince abandoned the concept, commented sarcastically: “I enriched psychoanalysisby the aggressive drive. I gladly make them a present of it” (quoted in Bottome,1939, p. 64).During the acrimonious breakup between the two men, Freud accused Adler of having paranoid delusions and of using terrorist tactics. He told one of his friendsthat the revolt by Adler was that of “an abnormal individual driven mad by ambition”(quoted in Gay, 1988, p. 223).
Overview of Individual Psychology
Alfred Adler was neither a terrorist nor a person driven mad by ambition. Indeed, his
presents an optimistic view of people while resting heavilyon the notion of
that is, a feeling of oneness with all humankind. Inaddition to Adler’s more optimistic look at people, several other differences made therelationship between Freud and Adler quite tenuous.First, Freud reduced all motivation to sex and aggression, whereas Adler sawpeople as being motivated mostly by social inﬂuences and by their striving for supe-riority or success; second, Freud assumed that people have little or no choice in shap-ing their personality, whereas Adler believed that people are largely responsible forwho they are; third, Freud’s assumption that present behavior is caused by past ex-periences was directly opposed to Adler’s notion that present behavior is shaped bypeople’s view of the future; and fourth, in contrast to Freud, who placed very heavy
Adler: Individual Psychology