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“social interest,”: A key component of Adler’s theory

A key component of Adler’s theory is what he calls “social interest.” He maintains that social interest is an important criterion for a healthy personality. Adler also talks about inferiority and compensation in his theory of personality.

On the basis of your understanding on “social interest,” discuss the following:
-Write about a public figure from popular culture, such as politics, movies, or television.
-Explain how social interest is or was a factor in his or her personality development.
-Explain how factors such as inferiority and compensation are displayed in your subject’s personality.
-Support your responses with examples.
-Cite any sources in APA format.

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Every person develops their personality and aims for perfection in their own specific way called lifestyle. This lifestyle is affected by certain inferiority in the individual’s childhood. When striving to get superiority the individual attempts to cooperate and create a relationship with other people which Alder defined as social interest (Johnson, Patrick, and Smith, 2011). Looking into the life of one of the most popular person Barack Obama we get to see how he related with others and his strive to superiority.

It is clear from his biography that he related well with others for the better good. He became a civil right attorney focusing on cases involving discrimination, equality, human rights and social freedom. He was determined to have justice for other people and also fought for their rights. This led to him winning the Nobel peace prize award for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people (Stein, 2011). Later on when he became the president, he signed many bills into law that were advantageous for the people. One of the main reforms was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obama Care. This program was meant to help with medical costs for people with limited resources and low income. All this shows how committed he was and valued a good relationship with others.

Talking about his childhood Obama said “That my father looked nothing like the people around me – that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk – barely registered in my mind.”He described his struggles as he tried to adjust to his multiracial heritage (Stein, 2011). According to Alder every child encounters inferiority as they are surrounded by more capable adults, making them strive for superiority. On the other hand, not every child will develop the inferiority complex as most of them get to compensate appropriately (Radwan, 2017). In his book, Dreams from My Father, Obama speaks of the importance to find “solutions to the puzzle of being a black man” (Stein, 2011). He made his realization that it does not matter where you are, you just need to dig deep enough as a community is always there. Being black was a concern for Obama in his early adult life which caused inferiority aspect to him.

Despite the inferiority, he got to compensate correctly and strived for superiority to a point of rising to being the president of the United States of America. Having a self realization, a sense of self responsibility and striving to better ones life is key to having a healthy relationship with others.


Johnson, P., & Smith, A. J. (2011). Social interest and differentiation of self. Professional Issues in Counseling.

Stein, D. (2011). Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father and African American Literature. European journal of American studies, 6(6-1).

Radwan,M.F . (2017). Inferiority complex (Alfred adler’s theory) retrieved from: https://www.2knowmyself.com/Inferiority_complex_Alfred_adler

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