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October 2021

Identification and movement within three levels of social interest

Journal/Book: Journal of Individual Psychology. 1976; 32: 55-61.

Abstract: Describes the Adlerian concept of social interest in a way that can be used by counselors to facilitate client movement. Three levels of social interest are identified: (1) the egocentric, (2) the altruistic, and (3) an ontological state of transcendence with experiences of perfection. The levels are similar to 3 modes of being in the world ( Umwelt, Mitwelt, and Eigenwelt ) described by C. G. Kemp (1971) and can also be compared to A. H. Maslow's (1954) need hierarchy. A counselor must first help the client solve basic needs for survival and safety before moving to a higher ( Mitwelt ) level where a therapeutic relationship is possible. At this stage, Adlerian psychotherapy may help the client identify past mistakes and reorient goals. The Eigenwelt level of social interest is characterized by a self-actualized person. Through the use of creative arts or music therapy, a therapist may develop an existential relationship that provides a meaningful therapeutic bond and facilitates further growth.

Note: identification of egocentric vs altruistic vs ontological levels of social interest; facilitation of client movement

Keyword(s): Psychotherapeutic breakthrough; social behavior; motivation ; psychotherapeutic processes


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