Psychology and the Problems of Life

The techniques of Alfred Adler are still popular today in Great Britain. Adler wrote a wonderful book for laypeople entitled “What Life Could Mean To You.” Adler refused to call patients “depressed,” feeling that term to be pejorative and instead referred to them as “discouraged.” Adler observed that “every suicide is a reproach” (of someone or something.) After one lecture in N.Y.C. one student asked Adler “What about God? What do you have to say on the matter of God?” Adler wisely answered “If there is a God I would hope He is pleased with they way I have chosen to live my life.”

Everyone is wise to have regular physical exams and blood work (medical coverage permitting) to rule out easily detected and controlled problems regarding blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, etc. Alcohol and tobacco are very destructive. Few people can use such things in moderation. If one feels the need to “self medicate” then one should seek medical counsel. Practitioners in cardiology and internal medicine are willing to prescribe anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications if asked as long as a patient can get a grip on their life. If someone starts going downhill despite medications then such a specialist is going to step back and insist that they see a psychiatrist and psychiatrists are VERY expensive and usually require a commitment of several years. I am simply a layperson repeating advice I have received over the years from professionals which has served me well.

One of the most powerful techniques Adler employed was to ask “Quickly! What is the EARLIEST memory you have? Say the first thing which comes to your mind?” Adler believed that during our life we PROMOTE something to the role of “first memory” which sets the stage for the direction that our life takes. I spent several weeks in physical therapy and asked that question of four therapists. Each and every one replied something about injuring someone, or being injured. When I explained the rational behind that questioned they all looked quite stunned.

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