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Posted: September 4th, 2022

Comparison of Freud, Mahler, and Adler theories Assignment

W‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍rite a three page paper comparing Freud, Mahler, and Adler. Compare and contrast the developmental models of Freud and Mahler, and then contrast these two developmental theories with Adler’s theory. Be sure to also address the following:

A brief description of each theory. Which perspective appeals to you more, and why? What are some ways the Adlerian approach can be applied to ‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍group counseling?

What are some advantages of using a group format with this approach? What concepts from these psychoanalytic approaches do you see as being potentially useful in your work as a nurse psychotherapist?

Describe. Why should the nurse psychotherapist understand developmental theories for application in clinical practice?

-Sample Answer Guide-
Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, and Alfred Adler were all prominent figures in the field of psychoanalysis during the early 20th century. Each developed their own distinct theories on human development and behavior, which have had a lasting impact on the field of psychology and mental health treatment.

Freud’s psychoanalytic theory is centered around the concept of the unconscious mind, which he believed plays a major role in shaping an individual’s behavior and personality. He proposed that early childhood experiences and relationships with primary caregivers have a profound impact on an individual’s later development and behavior.

Mahler’s developmental theory, known as the separation-individuation theory, emphasizes the importance of the mother-child relationship in the development of the child’s sense of self. She proposed that a child goes through a series of stages in which they must separate emotionally from their mother in order to fully individuate and develop a sense of self.

Adler’s individual psychology theory emphasizes the concept of social interest and the influence of birth order on personality development. He believed that individuals strive for superiority and strive to overcome feelings of inferiority, and that this drive is shaped by an individual’s early childhood experiences and position within their family.

Personally, I find Adler’s perspective on the role of social interest and birth order in personality development to be particularly appealing. I believe that his emphasis on the importance of an individual’s unique life experiences and the way in which they strive to overcome feelings of inferiority provides a valuable perspective in understanding human behavior.

In terms of group counseling, the Adlerian approach can be applied by focusing on the common goals and experiences of group members, encouraging individuals to support each other in their strive for superiority, and helping group members to develop a sense of social interest.

Using a group format with this approach has the advantage of allowing individuals to learn from and support each other as they work towards their goals. Additionally, group members can provide valuable feedback and perspectives that may not be available in individual counseling.

As a nurse psychotherapist, I see concepts from Adler’s individual psychology theory being particularly useful in understanding and addressing the unique challenges and experiences of each patient. Additionally, understanding developmental theories can help the nurse psychotherapist to better identify and address potential issues in patients’ early childhood experiences that may be impacting their current behavior and mental health.


Avigdor, R. (2022). Birth order and personality: A meta-analytic overview. Journal of Individual Psychology, 68(1), 1-22.
Gabbard, G. O. (2017). Long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy: A review of the evidence. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 205(4), 266-274.
Mahler, M. S., Pine, F., & Bergman, A. (2018). The psychological birth of the human infant: Symbiosis and individuation. Basic Books.

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