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Ontario Society of Adlerian Psychology

Gemeinschaftsgefuhl ~ Advancing Adlerian Psychology in Ontario Through Social Interest, Sense of Belonging, Community Feeling and Equality


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Social Interest in Children

by Charmaine McIntosh | on June 05, 2021

Social Interest is innate with the potential to be developed. Adler believed that healthy individuals have a high social interest. “As Adler modified his view of social interest, it became an essential component of the healthy personality. Crandall (1980) suggests that social interest influences a person’t attention, perception, thinking, and overt behaviours as these related to cooperation, helping, sharing, and contributing” (Ostrovsky, Parr & Gradel, 1992, p. 220).

So the question is, How can we help children to develop social interest; thus, facilitating emotional health?

Social Interest Children

A lack of social interest can cause an individual to experience feelings of loneliness; but, an increased social interest contributes to a sense of belonging. Parents and teachers can provide encouragement, nurturing and be a role model of social interest. If you are a teacher, help your students practice social interest in the classroom such as helping another student. If you are a parent, help your child practice social interest at home like learning responsibility by contributing to chores. If you work with children in any other capacity, promote the practice of social interest. For example, sports, volunteer work, boy scouts and girl guides.

Social interest remains throughout life. It becomes differentiated, limited, or expanded and, in favourable cases, extends not only to family members but to the larger group, to the nation, to all of mankind.” (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956, p. 138).

In today’s society, children continue to face bullying, racism, and discouragement. Social interest can help increase cooperation, confidence, engagement in activities, contribution to society, mutual respect, and a good mental health … it provides individuals with courage. Take a moment to think about how you can help children cultivate social interest.


  1. Ansbacher, H.L. & Ansbacher, R.R. (Eds.). (1956). The individual psychology of Alfred Adler: A systemic presentation in selections from his writings. New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers.
  2. Ostrovsky, M., Parr, G., & Gradel, A. (1992). Promoting moral development through social interest in children and Individual Psychology, Vol. 48, No. 2., 218-225

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Equality and Social Justice Matters

by Charmaine McIntosh | on March 27, 2021


In our society we see inequality and injustices every day.  It is the responsibility of each individual to promote equality and social justice.

What is Equality?

The Canadian Human Rights Act states, “all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.”1 

What is Social Justice?

There is no one definition. Lewis et al. as cited in Kennedy and Arthur (2014) defined social justice as a “perspective grounded in the belief that every individual has the right to quality education, appropriate health care services, and equal employment opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, and other individual characteristics” (p. 188). 

The issues of inequality and social injustice permeate our society and impact our mental health and wellbeing - they matter! We need to have awareness so that we can honour, value and respect the diversity of people and take action for equality, social justice and mental wellness. 

1. Government of Canada. Canadian Human Rights Act R.S.C., 1985,c.H-6. acts/h-6/FullText.html 
2.  Kennedy, B.A. & Arthur, N. (2014). Social justice and counselling psychology: Recommitment through action, Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 48(3), 186–205. article/view/61013 

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Providing Help and Guidance

by Charmaine McIntosh | on March 02, 2021


"Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance.  They may be in such a condition of mind that a word spoken in season will be as a nail in a sure place.  Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again.  What is our influence over these fellow travellers?"

By Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 348

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