Rudolf Dreikurs

Rudolf Dreikurs 
1897-1972

Rudolf Dreikurs
1897-1972

Rudolf Dreikurs

Rudolf Dreikurs (1897-1972) founded Adler University. Dreikurs, a psychiatrist, was one of Adler’s followers who moved to Chicago following Adler’s death in 1937. In 1952, Dreikurs founded the Institute of Adlerian Psychology that, in 1954, changed its name to the Alfred Adler Institute of Chicago, in 1991 became known as the Adler School of Professional Psychology, and in 2015, became Adler University.

As early as 1928, at the end of his medical residency, Dreikurs understood the social connection to mental disorders and the importance of prevention (Terner & Pew, 1978). Dreikurs had been exposed to Adler’s Child Guidance Clinics in the 1920’s and ultimately became strongly committed to the notion of community psychiatry and empowering parents and teachers with knowledge and approaches that led to more mutually respectful and collaborative relationships.

Although Dreikurs was based in Chicago he was responsible for spreading Adler’s ideas throughout North America and keeping them alive internationally. Dreikurs continued the work that Adler had started, seeing the need for systematic organization and techniques of applications in order to teach others how to use Adlerian principles effectively in counseling, psychotherapy, parent education, and in the classroom. 

Dreikurs was often credited with elaborating, building, and working out in a clear, systematic and logical form, the basic ideas of Individual Psychology. While most agree that his greatest contribution was in the application and practice of Individual Psychology, some felt he also contributed to the creation of the original theory. He is most well-known for his simplification and application of Adler's ideas for use by parents and educators. In 1964, along with Vicki Soltz, he wrote Children: The Challenge, and in 1968, he and Loren Grey wrote A Parent's Guide to Child Discipline.

In 1974 the Art Therapy Program was created and started by Sadie “Tee” Dreikurs, Rudolf Dreikurs’ wife, located in Chicago, and an art therapist at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Also, Sadie, as a young girl, was an art student at Hull House, then worked at Hull House, and taught art for many years. In 1977 Tee Dreikurs utilized “The Use of Art in Group Counseling” with psychiatric patients at St. Joseph Hospital. She was then asked to teach her process to students at the Alfred Adler Institute. The Art Therapy Program continues today at the school and has maintained an Adlerian perspective originally developed by Tee Dreikurs.