The family constellation of Adler’s Individual Psychology|My course tutor

Posted: March 4th, 2023

Respond to the Classmate’s Discussion as you would in a face-to face class by stating why you agree with their discussion, asking questions and stating your point of view.

Discussion (Stevie)

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As I was reading through Chapter 8 of the text this week (Erford, 2017), I thought about my twin nieces. They’re around kindergarten age right now and one of them is having a very difficult time with her emotions. She is naturally more sensitive than the other, which is not a “bad” thing at all, but is a challenge for my sister and brother-in-law in how to navigate it. About a year or so ago when they were closer to preschool age, my sister had to put two dogs down. One was very old and they watched her decline over time, so her death wasn’t a surprise, but the other died before his time and it was more sudden. He had a cancerous tumor that my sister tried to stop the spread of by having to remove one of his legs (she’s a vet), but it was too late by the time they realized he had cancer. They did their best to talk with the twins about it, but poor things had to add grief to their limited emotions and too soon. They were also coming out of COVID and being told they couldn’t interact with others or even play on the playgrounds because they could get sick. And then hearing about people dying. I feel so much for kids that went through COVID lockdown and not being able to fully understand. The more sensitive twin has been having issues ever since. She developed strong fear and intense separation anxiety thinking her parents could die when they left her presence, even if they went to the other room. And they hadn’t started school yet, so they had at least one parent with them at all times. It was heartbreaking and they didn’t know how to help her. At the same time, she developed a stutter, which was hard for my niece and I think caused some anger. Since, my sister has put her in counseling as well as speech therapy and those seem to be helping. She no longer has a stutter, but now she’s got some intense anger that is coming out in some interesting ways that seem somewhat outside of the “normal” range for a kid that age. Her parents are being very patient with her, but I can tell they’re frustrated. I feel for all of them. By what the book says about children at that age already pushing boundaries and having to learn to regulate more complex emotions on top of sort of forced trauma, grief, and fear, I couldn’t imagine.

I’ve always thought Adler’s view on birth order was interesting. I don’t think it completely applies to my sisters and I to a “t” (except for maybe the middle/second child… it describes her pretty well, ha), but I was interested in what his view of twins were having my nieces in mind, so I looked it up. The website I found says that the birth order can sort of be determined by who was born first, but that twins typically organize themselves by their place in the family and can alternate between birth orders (Fiero, 2020). I actually am not sure who was “born” first with the C-section my sister had, but I know for a fact that she and her husband don’t respond to them in that way. They try to do everything equally for them and don’t impose birth order onto them. Anyway, I



thought that was interesting and it sort of makes me curious if the more sensitive niece is having some issues because she’s trying to figure out her place in the family. I’m not sure though.


Erford, B.T. (2017). An advanced lifespan odyssey for counseling professionals (1st ed.). Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning Fiero, P.P. (2020). Does birth order affect twins? VeryWell Family. to an external site.

Respond to the Classmate’s Discussion as you would in a face-to face class by stating why you agree with their discussion, asking questions and stating your point of view.

Discussion (Dave)

The family constellation of Adler’s Individual Psychology. This is something I’ve noticed in my three children. My oldest is more responsible and organized, my middle child is also competitive, and my baby is more affectionate and gets exactly what he wants. I agree with (Stone) that when I see children acting out and doing things to get attention, I ignore their negative attention and focus on their positive actions.

I am the oldest and most organized, as well as the highest achiever, while my sister, the middle child, strives to be unique, but my brother is the baby, and believe me when I say he gets exactly what he wants, when he wants it. When an older sibling dies, I believe the child next to them will adopt the oldest characteristics, and so on with the siblings. I recall the Brady Bunch Show, particularly Alice. I’ve also had instances where people who are considered family are not actually family. My aunt welcomes children into her home because she believes that raising children requires a village. She adores children and raises them as if they were her own.




In terms of your nieces, it sounds like they have been through a lot in a short amount of time, especially with the added stress of the pandemic. It’s great to hear that they are receiving counseling and speech therapy, and it’s important for parents to be patient and understanding with their children as they navigate complex emotions. One thing that stuck out to me in your post was the intense separation anxiety that one of your nieces developed. This can be a common response to trauma or stress, and it’s important for parents to provide a safe and secure environment for their children. It’s also important for children to learn coping skills and strategies for managing their anxiety, which is where counseling can be very helpful.

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