A 100-Year-Old Psychological Concept to Help Find Belonging

If you haven’t heard of Alfred Adler, it’s time.

Alina | Psychodynamic Psychology
Mind Cafe


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Loneliness has become a risk factor for early death and tremendously decreases the quality of life of way too many people. Meanwhile what most of us long for is a sense of belonging, being part of a community, to find our tribe.

Alfred Adler was one of the three great psychoanalysts¹ of the last century next to Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung. He developed a school of psychodynamic thinking called “Individual Psychology” and in contrast to Freud and Jung, his thinking was incredibly pragmatic and practical.

Don’t let the name “Individual Psychology” confuse you, though. Adler put a huge emphasis on interpersonal relationships. For Adler, the goal of interpersonal relationships is the so-called “Social Interest” (“Gemeinschaftsgefühl” in the German original).

What Does “Social Interest” Mean?

Awareness of Belonging to a Community

Social interest is the awareness that you belong to a community. With community Adler doesn’t just mean your immediate family or town but he means all of existence. Everything from when time began stretching all the way into the far future, including everything…