History of ASIIP

Originally compiled by

Helen Anderson (1915-2007), Rita Udall (1918-2006), and Paola Prina (.


The first contact Alfred Adler had with the UK was in Oxford, where in 1923 he attended the seventh International Congress of Psychology and gave a lecture in German on Individual Psychology. He returned to Oxford University in 1926 before his first visit to the USA, and again in 1936. Soon after his first visit, a group was formed in London called ‘the Gower Street Club of Individual Psychology’, which later became known as ‘the Adler Society’. Unfortunately this society became tainted with political bias and between 1928 and 1930 its medical members broke away and formed the Medical Society for Individual Psychology.

Adler made a special visit to London in 1931 and removed his name from the former ‘Adler Society’. Thanks to the Medical Society and its association with the International Society (now the Association) for Individual Psychology, the Adlerian movement in Great Britain continued to develop. Later on a new group started in London with Adler as its President.

Not long afterwards, on 28 May 1937, Adler died in Aberdeen while on a lecture tour. His daughter Alexandra succeeded him as President. After the war and protracted discussions to find possible ways forward, a new society was eventually formed in the summer of 1952, with Dr Neil Beattie as its Chairman (our current President is his daughter, Dr Lilian Beattie). This was the ‘Adlerian Society of Great Britain’, now known as the ‘Adlerian Society UK and Institute for Individual Psychology’ (ASIIP).

The society formed in 1952 was linked by affiliation with the ‘Medical Society’, with Dr Neil Beattie as its Chair. From this time public lectures began to be held in the Friends Meeting House in central London. They took place monthly from October to June – a tradition which continues to the present. Now they are held in Conway Hall, also in central London, where Adler
gave three lectures in 1936.

Around this time, Paul Rom initiated a newsletter. He was its first editor until his death. It was initially produced ‘on behalf of the International Association of Individual Psychology’. Later on, the UK society started its own newsletter, which continues to this day with four issues a year. In the late 1940s, a residential weekend began to be held annually. This tradition also continues and since the early 1970s until 2009 it was held at St Hilda’s College in Oxford (pictured). In recent years, residential Spring Conferences have been held in Bath, Bristol and Birmingham.

It took a long time to progress from fostering interest in Adler’s work to getting organised training under way. The growth of the Adlerian movement in the UK owes a great deal to the teaching and training of the late Professor Manford ‘Sonsty’ Sonstegard. He first addressed the UK Adlerian Society in 1974, and returned to train the following year and subsequent years, later settling in this country, and serving as President of ASIIP until his
death in 2009.

“History judges human actions according to the degree of human solidarity which is expressed in them. Without exception, those deeds and events are regarded as great and valuable which are saturated with social interest, thus promoting the welfare of the whole. Lack of social interest, always dut to an increased inferiority feeling, drives the individual into neurosis of crime, and groups and nations toward the abyss of self-extermination”
 Alfred Adler New York Times interview 1925

President and Vice Presidents of the Adlerian Society UK

Dr. Lilian Beattie -President

 Dr Karen John, and Anthea Millar, 
Vice-Presidents

ASIIP Council Members

Janina Bell, Chair (Bucks)

I have been an active member of the ASIIP Council for several years and I am keen to continue my involvement as ASIIP looks to future developments. I am particularly interested in supporting the membership of ASIIP to bring Adlerian Psychology to a wider audience in the UK, both through training and CPD events. I have previous experience of voluntary involvement as a school governor and professional experience in education and social care. I hold a diploma in Adlerian Counselling and currently I have a small private practice. I have a special interest in parenting support. I am a tutor with Bucks Adlerian Training and Bottisham Village College, Cambridge.

Magnus Irvine, Vice -Chair (Essex)

I am committed to the theory and practice of Adlerian Psychology, and want to continue to be a part of ASIIP’s work to promote this encouraging approach through support of its members. I currently work as a Psychotherapist and Supervisor within the NHS and in private practice, and am the proud father of 3 lovely children. I completed my Adlerian Diploma in 2014 and have a Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Therapeutic Counselling from the University of Hertfordshire and a Postgraduate Diploma in CBT from the Royal Holloway.

Peter Novak, Treasurer (Bucks)

Before retirement, I spent 35 years working as a civil engineer. During my career I have had experience of managing project budgets and reporting financial expenditure. I first became interested in Adlerian Psychology over ten years ago. I subsequently completed two years of training and have completed the Advanced Certificate in Adlerian Counselling. During the last year I have attended Café Adler and other CPD events in order to maintain my interest in Adlerian Psychology. I have been ASIIP’s treasurer for over three years and would like to continue with this role. As a strong believer in Adlerian values, I feel my experience will continue to allow me to support the work of the ASIIP Council.

Jill Reynolds, Membership Secretary and Book Archives, (Bucks.)

I qualified with a diploma in Adlerian Counselling in 1999 and became an ASIIP trained supervisor and Accredited Adlerian counsellor in 2007. Having completed a two-year apprenticeship under the guidance of Lilian Beattie in Aylesbury in 2000, I took on the post of year tutor. Currently, I am the administrator and core tutor with Bucks Adlerian Training. I have an Open University degree in Psychology and post-graduate adult education teaching qualifications. I have a private counselling and supervision practice in Buckingham, and am a full member of The Adlerian Society and Institute for Individual Psychology (ASIIP), The British Psychological Society (BPS) and The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (MBACP). I have been a member of Council and the Institute for many years. I am also a Trustee with the Adlerian Sanctuary Trust and am on the organising committee of the UK Adlerian Summer school.

Stephen Allsopp (Wales)

I came to Individual Psychology quite early on in my counselling training, via the Adlerian Society of Wales; although the approaches I was training in did not incorporate Adlerian theory, I immediately felt that Adler’s ideas had great relevance to the skills I was learning, and considerable resonance with my own ideas about therapy. Having taught on the Certificate in Adlerian counselling for some 11 years, I have found that the process of preparing and teaching the course has been a remarkable way of absorbing the philosophy and theory of Individual Psychology, and I have become a passionate advocate for the Adlerian approach in addressing many of my clients’ difficulties, as well as incorporating the same ideas into training and personal development in other areas apart from counselling, such as business coaching and wellbeing. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute something to the development and progress of Adlerian Psychology in the United Kingdom.

Alex Marsden, Regional Liaison (Wales)

I am experienced Adlerian therapist and trainer working in west Wales. I am enthusiastic about promoting any methods which increase self-awareness and personal evolution, I believe the world is ready for change but that in reality society can only change at the level of the individual. For this, effective techniques and methods are needed. At a time when the survival of our species requires cooperation based on self-knowledge, the theory, techniques and holistic vision of Alfred Adler would seem to be invaluable. We are at a point in time when the continuation of his work in Britain is hanging in the balance and if it is possible to make a difference, I would like to be part of that change. I am passionate about Adler’s methods. I am articulate, creative and also have personal experience of a diverse range of personal development methods and movements. I would like to see ASIIP grow and prosper particularly in its capacity to promote the ideas of Alfred Adler. For this task I think that we need to strengthen our capacity to create sustainable educational programs, courses and seminars. It is only through creation of future Adlerian practitioners that the long-term influence of Adler can be assured in the UK.

Claire DeShon, Conference coordinator Web Developer (Essex)

I currently offer private counselling and am also a co-founder, service manager, and director for ‘Sunflower Community Project’ which is a non-profit organisation, working with those in the realm of Mental Health. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Psychology, ASIIP Diploma in Individual Psychology, and NVQ in adult group education. I deliver parent support and self-esteem courses both using the Adlerian ethos. The Adlerian model of Individual Psychology is part and parcel of who I believe I am. I have served on the ASIIP council as an active member for the past five years, and I feel that my organisational skills, such as assisting in running the ASIIP Spring Conference, will be of continued use as a Council member. I also offer to look after and update the ASIIP website. I want to continue being on council to move ASIIP forward to embrace the many changes that lie before it in the future, such as moving towards a digital age and promoting the Individual Psychology model to a new generation.

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