Inferiority and compensation from Adler's times up to the present day: a cultural perspective


Poster session presented at the XXIII S.I.P.I. National Congress – “The network of the compensatory functions in the Adlerian theory and practice”, Milan, 2012.

The full article is available for download in Italian only.

Summary. This paper proposes a cultural reflection about this question: how the Adlerian model of psychic dynamism – that is based on compensatory dynamics that occur between inferiority and superiority and, with respect to the concept of limit, between possible and impossible – could represent an actual explanatory hypothesis and could be more meaningful to understand the nature of both some social phenomena and inter-and intra-individual dynamics, with respect to the Freudian model, that is based on the conflict pleasure/frustration and norm / transgression? We would suggest that some socio-cultural changes, that have occurred in the last century, may have contributed to make the Adlerian model more effective for the comprehension of actual reality, with special references to the different influences that the two psychodynamic movements have taken in this historical period.

CD_075_Milano_Aillon-Simonelli




Inferiority and compensation. Considerations on a fundamental symbol in western culture


Poster session presented at the XXIII S.I.P.I. National Congress – “The network of the compensatory functions in the Adlerian theory and practice”, Milan, 2012.

The full article is available for download in Italian only.

Summary. The considerations developed in this poster can be summarised as follows: firstly, the symbol of Christ on the cross, a religious symbol per se, is read using other keys to interpretation (psychodynamic, literary, sociological and philosophical) on an Adlerian basis; this highlights that the basic dynamics is always the inferiority/superiority dialectic. Secondly, the symbols “cross” and “crossing” – very rich in meaning and present in several cultures – are analysed; the definition of a genetic phenomenon as a crossing-over brings us back to Adler’s brilliant intuition of the psychological and biological world of human beings as based on an inferiority/compensation dynamics, as if these two forces were “crossing” for survival’s sake. Finally, this poster suggests a possible formalisation of the way in which compensation and inferiority operate, by drawing a xy Cartesian coordinate system on which normal and pathological psychological manifestations are placed.

CD_075_Milano_Maiullari-Marasco e altri




Logos and mythos: inferiority and compensations in a psychoanalytic discussion


Paper presented at the XXIII S.I.P.I. National Congress – “The network of the compensatory functions in the Adlerian theory and practice”, Milan, 2012.

The full article is available for download in Italian only.

Summary.  Science has been able to rise and develop in ancient Greece because its philosophes did not report anything to the deity. Religious beliefs, myths and superstitions have however also later tried to influence the science that, when she has been able to resist such influences, gave the best results, as was the case with Adler that, so he gave full meaning to the Kantian psychology.

CD_075_Milano_Marasco




ART AND CULTURE: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: the "creative-self" and the music of joy


046_Arte e Cultura

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Summary. The adaptation of the child Mozart to his father’s need of realization, the resulting affective lacks and the heavy activity of musician he has to assume from his childhood, contribute to radicate a deep doubt to be loved simply as a man. The feeling to be undervalued, the resulting state of doubt and inferiority, originate the wish to rise to reach that compensation and perfection witnessed by his music and which manifest themselves though the ability to sublimate from his sufferings producing a music of joy.




Climbing and descending: mountaineering and individual psychology


049_Giuseppe Saglio_Marinella Mazzone_ITA

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Summary. Looking upon mountain as an absolute, archetypal symbol, as an image of the world and the trascendence, as a link between heaven and earth, our mind recalls the mountain which frightens and enchants, the mountain which has to be beheld, which as to be climbed. The ensueing images are joint whith the attraction and the tendency up-wards: climbing can be regarded as the coming of the myth of the hero and the compensation for inferiority feelings, as the course of the statement and of the fictitious dissolution of the limit, but also as the knowledge of the finite, as the achievement and consciousness of the feeling of imperfection and of vulnerability; likewise the expe-dition and being on the rope may become the image of the social interest and the sense of belonging to humankind. Mountaineering is thus the metaphor of the knowledge of the world and of the individual man research and strain towards life, practice revaling the unknown, deep experience about the fiction, about the impassable boundary wich everybody finds within himself.




The limit and the courage. In front of, beside, inside inferiority


066_Carmela Canzano_ITA

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Summary. The encouragement is the basic method followed by the formation Adlerian psychotherapist. Encouragement is a way to interpret and to face the physical and psychological distress and it is based on a some foundamental points: the meaning of courage, knowledge-evaluation of the limit, the distinction between objective and subjective inferiority, and the construction by the therapist of his own courage, and the empathic understanding of the kind of discouragement of the patient and the kind of courage he wants and can access. In the relation with the patient, to find a new courage together, we must not avoid or fight the inferiority, but approach it, feel it, evaluate it differently, transforming emotions which are related to it. To changing the point of view on imperfection can encourage an agreement with the self and the understanding with the others, generating creative incentives for personal use.




Sterility symdrome: the inferiority complex and its compensation


069_Rossella Ardenti_ITA

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Summary. Sterility is an organic inferiority condition which often involves psychological disorders in the  bio-psychic unity of the individual. The empathetic listening to the sterile person’s background has  allowed to discover in their life-style a number of psychological behaviours which are relevant to  infertility. This multitude of psychological discomforts involved in the emotional-affective-relational  sphere in the life-style of a sterile person is defined as Sterility Syndrome.




From death in the family to the inferiority feeling


069_Chiara Marocco Muttini_ITA

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Summary. The individual is the result of different factors, either biological, psychological, social or cultural, which all contribute to shape the lifestyle with behaviors which can be either brave or coward with respect to how aggressiveness is expressed. The experiences of the first years of life have a lot of significance during the process of evolution of the individual, and consequently the behavior of the parents and the response to the needs of the child are crucial. Every dysfunction in the process of compensation of the inferiority feeling leads to different psycho-pathological expressions. The effects on the lifestyle are  also the results of those educational unconscious messages which are induced by existential situations,  critical also for the adults involved in the education process. Three cases of minors who have lost the  father are highlighted in the personal contribution; the educational behavior of the mother has led to  a lack of resilience or vice versa a positive compensation of the inferiority feeling. The difference in  the effects of the death is linked to the process of encouragement arising both from the affection  demonstrated to the child and the faith in the resources of the child himself.