Unity and Self Consistency of Personality

The third tenet of Adlerian theory is: Personality is unified and self-consistent.

In choosing the term individual psychology, Adler wished to stress his belief that each person is unique and indivisible. Thus, individual psychology insists on the fundamental unity of personality and the notion that inconsistent behavior does not exist. Thoughts, feelings, and actions are all directed toward a single goal and serve a single purpose. When people behave erratically or unpredictably, their behavior forces other people to be on the defensive, to be watchful so as not to be confused by capricious actions. Although behaviors may appear inconsistent, when they are viewed from the perspective of a final goal, they appear as clever but probably unconscious attempts to confuse and subordinate other people. This confusing and seemingly inconsistent behavior gives the erratic person the upper hand in an interpersonal relationship. Although erratic people are often successful in their attempt to gain superiority over others, they usually remain unaware of their underlying motive and may stubbornly reject any suggestion that they desire superiority over other people.

Adler (1956) recognized several ways in which the entire person operates with unity and self-consistency. The first of these he called organ jargon, or organ dialect.

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