Biography: Alfred Adler (1870-1937)
Alfred Adler was a pioneer psychiatrist. Alfred Adler was born in the suburbs of Vienna on February 7, 1870, the third child, second son, of a Jewish grain merchant and his wife. As a child, Alfred developed rickets, which kept him from walking until he was four years old. At five, he nearly died of pneumonia. It was at this age that he decided to be a physician.
He received a medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1895. During his college years, he became attached to a group of socialist students, among which he found his wife-to-be, Raissa Timofeyewna Epstein. They married in 1897 and eventually had four children.
He trained in Vienna, and first practised as an ophthalmologist, but later turned to mental disease and became a well-known member of the psychoanalytical group which formed around Sigmund Freud in the 20th century. His most widely referenced work, Studie uber Minderwertigkeit von Organen (1907, trans Study of Organ Inferiority and its Psychical Compensation), stirred up a lot of controversy. In 1911 he broke with Freud and investigated the psychology of the individual person considered to be different from others. His main contributions include the concept of the inferiority complex and his special treatment of neurosis as the exploitation of shock.
In 1926, he went to the United States to lecture, and he eventually accepted a visiting position at the Long Island College of Medicine. On May 28, 1937, during a series of lectures at Aberdeen University, he died of a heart attack.