This academic year, the Adler School celebrates the 60th anniversary of its founding, based on the revolutionary ideas of Alfred Adler: that our health relies on our community life and connections, and socially responsible practitioners must advocate for the conditions and systemic changes necessary to achieve health, for the well-being of all. In 1952, Adler’s associate Rudolf Dreikurs came to Chicago and established the Alfred Adler Institute to train practitioners to apply this approach to mental health. Sixty years later, as the Adler School, we came together to reflect on this at “Sixty Years of Social Interest: The Adler School’s Legacy and Responsibility Moving Forward,” an anniversary colloquium Oct. 26 at Chicago’s Goodman Theater.
Adler School Co-Founder Harold Mosak, Ph.D., who continues writing and teaching at the School today and celebrates his 91st birthday on Monday (Oct. 29), spoke about the School’s beginnings. He also spoke of his longtime dream that it would someday offer a doctoral program.
In 1987, the School began its Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program begins with an entering class of 24 students. Today, it is among the Chicago Campus’ most successful programs, training clinical psychologists as socially responsible practitioners—with a Vancouver Campus program to start in fall 2013, as Canada’s first comprehensive practitioner-oriented Psy.D. program.
“Two-thirds of my life has been in association with this School,” Dr. Mosak told the audience, which included his fellow School Co-Founder and Board Trustee Bernard Shulman, M.D. “My walk is slower, my voice is fainter.
“[But] it’s been a wonderful journey…. I want to thank all of you for sharing it with me,” he said, to a standing ovation from the audience of Adler School alumni, students, faculty, staff, trustees and friends.
Dr. Mosak also spoke of Co-Founder Rudolf Dreikurs’ conviction that “if this were to be a better society, it would be through teachers.” Conversation among the panelists and audience several times during the colloquium came back to this statement, and how the Adler School and its practitioners apply that philosophy to new areas: public policy, sports psychology (including one graduate who is a psychologist for a Major League Baseball team), and many others.