- Diversity and Social Justice: Applying Theory and Adapting Practices
This special issue was born over a luncheon during the NASAP Annual Conference in Minneapolis in 2016. As we three coeditors talked about Adler’s theory and underrepresented individuals, we realized that not much had been published recently (or ever, with regard to certain populations) and that the theoretical tenets were highly relevant to multiple aspects of diversity and social justice. Discussion brought out questions of how well the theory, techniques, and assessment tools captured those experiences of diverse populations and how those needed adaptation to be more sensitive and relevant.
Practitioners of Individual Psychology cannot ignore how social and political realities affect their clients’ and students’ lives. Social justice and diversity issues are not at the margins of our work; they are very much at the center. A recent example of how the larger cultural and sociopolitical climate might have an impact on our clients’ well-being is that one of the editors of this special issue, Dr. Bengu Erguner-Tekinalp, decided not to attend the 2017 NASAP conference in Canada, as she did not want to take a risk in her international travel as a noncitizen and immigrant from a majority-Muslim country. Although her country was not an identified country in the United States travel ban, she did not feel safe to travel. A simple policy change affects individuals in many unexpected ways. A person with many privileges such as skin color, gender and sexual identity, and socioeconomic status may still feel marginalized, unsafe, or not belonging because of one part of identity. Even an identity that is not as salient for an individual may become a marker for a sense of marginalization. As belonging is one of the core tenets of Individual Psychology, Adlerians do not have the luxury to ignore the social, cultural, and political realities that make belonging difficult. [End Page 1]
As a constructivist, humanistic, existential, postmodern, feminist, systemic, and culturally sensitive theory, Individual Psychology is strongly positioned to provide a theoretical framework for understanding, identifying, and addressing diversity and social justice issues. The articles in this special issue discuss various multicultural, diversity, and/or social justice topics from an Adlerian perspective and examine the practices and concepts in a cultural context. The special issue took the position of intersectionality and had an inclusive viewpoint on the definition of culture.
Chavez, Moore, and McDowell educate readers on the distinctive experiences of Mexican American communities and show us how to tailor treatment of parenting-reorientation using Adlerian theory. Chatters and Zalaquett’s empirical study demonstrates success in integrating acceptance of others on the basis of social interest with bullying and prejudice reduction in pre- and postoutcome analyses. Johnson-Migalski and O’Connor Drout use a case study of a White rural woman facing shoulder injury to illustrate how Adlerian theory integrates into the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health for treatment recommendations and social justice practice. Day’s article provides a case of a coaching relationship using early recollections as metaphors with an African American woman. The coaching process described in the article focuses on both individual and systemic dynamics, providing practical applications to coaches as well as therapists working with marginalized populations. Lemberger-Truelove presents the results of a phenomenological study exploring belonging, striving, and lifestyle among Black women. Intersectionality of identities is at the core of her research, and as such, the article discusses the ways Black women deal with gendered racism and how Adlerian theory can promote resilience. In their empirical study, Akdogan, Aydın, and Eken explore the contributions of inferiority feelings on attachment styles of college students in Turkey. They discuss the research results in the cultural context and gender role expectations in the Adlerian perspective. Their article offers evidence for the cross-cultural applicability of Adlerian theory and provides future research directions for cross-cultural explorations of inferiority feelings. Harless and Stoltz present a case study showing the utility of early recollections in career counseling with a high school student from a low-socioeconomic-status family. Because...