Neena Mathew and Shannon Zofkie are first-year Adlerians pursuing doctorate of psychology (Psy.D.) and master of sport and health psychology degrees, respectively, at Adler University’s Chicago Campus.
Alfred Adler’s focus on community life, prevention, and population health is the inspiration for the university’s Social Justice Practicum, known here on campus as the “SJP.” Adlerian psychology emphasizes the human need and ability to create positive social change and impact. By participating in our SJP through the Center for Adlerian Practice and Scholarship — the faction responsible for monitoring our progress — we are gaining firsthand experience working alongside communities to support ameliorative transformation.
Critical to the understanding of socially responsible practice is an emphasis on individuals in the context of society and on social justice defined in terms of equity of resources. Interest in populations, for example, is consistent with social responsibility because it is concerned with people affected by social constructs, habits, practices, and policies — and therefore unequally able to access resources.
Through our SJP, we are spearheading a project called “Generations.” We are tasked with mapping Adler University graduates to identify where they are in their careers, and how they instill Adlerian theory in their practices. We recently facilitated three separate Skype calls with members of the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology (NASAP) to gain insight on how they stay connected with Adlerian organizations.
In our interviews, we also solicited society members’ opinions and advice on what we can do, as a university, to keep our graduates engaged in organizations like NASAP.
Some of the suggestions we received included:
- Begin by getting involved in local Adlerian organizations where cost is low, and build up to joining national ones;
- Offer supplemental online training sessions to create continuing education and networking opportunities;
- Participate in state Adlerian and NASAP conferences;
- Become members of NASAP;
- Establish a mentoring program to remain connected with fellow Adlerians;
- Offer alumni incentives to stay connected and engaged with Adlerian organizations; and
- Encourage existing students to join Adlerian organizations prior to graduation.
As we continue — and ultimately, complete — our SJP, we look forward to discussing these ideas and learning more about the many Adlerians hard at work in communities all over the world.