Individual psychology is the name of the school of personality theory and psychotherapy developed by Alfred Adler (1870-1937), a Viennese general-practice physician turned psychiatrist. The term "individual" has a dual implication: It implies uniqueness (each personality exists in a person whose distinctiveness must be appreciated); also, the personality is an indivisible unit that cannot be broken down into separate traits, drives, or habits which could be analyzed as if they had an existence apart from the whole.
The essence of a person's uniqueness is his or her style of life, a unified system which provides the principles that guide everyday behavior and gives the individual a perspective with which to perceive the self and the world. The style of life is fairly stable after about age six, and it represents the individual's attempt to explain and cope with the great problem of human existence: the feeling of inferiority.
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