AGS News | May 2019

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President's Corner

I am amazed at the transition from the stark winter landscape to the lush green forest at our new location, and can’t believe we‘re almost at the end of our first year at the new Adler Graduate School campus.


A student reinforced this realization, speaking about how much they love the new building, light, openness, and space conducive to studying. They went on to tell me that they’ve noticed a positive change over the last year, supporting the reason why they came to Adler Graduate School in the first place - to make a difference.


This student is a first generation immigrant, refugee, speaks five languages, and is motivated to help others that have experienced trauma. Their involvement as a student is not only important for themselves, but for their community. I was struck by their passion and commitment while also realizing that this is who we are as a college community, steeped in the values of dignity, respect, equality, courage, purpose, belonging and social interest.


Reflecting on the past year and how far we’ve progressed, we have: moved to a new building, hired full time faculty, migrated to digital graduation portfolios, continued to assess learning outcomes, adjusted our mission to include our Adlerian values, continued to implement our Institutional Effectiveness Plan (educational excellence, diversity, Adlerian values, and sustainability), and are preparing for our accreditation visit with the Higher Learning Commission, as well as investing in programmatic accreditation.


As we approach graduation and the 50th year as a learning institution, I look forward to cultivating an Adlerian organization that continues to embody these values and to observe what the next generation of our graduates will do to make the world a better place.


Alumnus Spotlight: Lucas Aguirre

People & Culture Development Manager


Lucas is an Adlerian Studies Alumnus, and a People & Culture Development Manager. He works for a large food company in California, supporting roughly 100,000 employees worldwide.


His main focus is on Social Interest, connecting the people of his organization and community. Since his graduation in 2018, he’s used his education to help others contribute over 4000 volunteer hours to their community, establishing multiple programs alongside a variety of organizations. 


“It’s a big thing when people contribute to their communities. It increases compassion and wellness within both.”


These outreach programs not only encourage Social Interest - they’re also providing Lucas with an opportunity to test Social Interest’s correlation to mindfulness and productivity. With several KPIs, scales, and traits established, he and his organization will soon be able to turn data into information that can revolutionize their approach to Social Interest in the workplace. “I enjoyed the Adlerian focus of the program. It was incredible to gain insight on Adler’s philosophy while working with instructors who were engaged and involved.”


Interested in Applied Adlerian Psychology? Contact: Marcie Skoglund, Assistant Director of Admissions | 612-767-7097 | 

Is it ADHD or Misbehavior?

By Sue Brokaw


Parents often express confusion regarding their child’s behavior. If the behavior is due to ADHD, they may be hesitant to discipline their child for it.


Misbehavior is planned. The child decided to misbehave. It is deliberate. Children with ADHD don’t want to misbehave but there are things that they struggle to do, and it looks like misbehavior. If you ask your child to bring his history book home from school and he doesn’t do it, is that misbehavior? Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t.


Take a common problem associated with ADHD: forgetfulness. Children with ADHD have a poor short-term memory, so information goes in one ear and out the other. If your child says that he forgot, it could be very true. On the other hand, if your child hates history and doesn’t want to do it, he may say he forgot in order to avoid doing the homework.


Here is what you can do: always try strategies first. If your child refuses to do the strategy, she is misbehaving. Because she can’t remember, there must be a strategy or a plan that assures that she will remember. Have her put a reminder on her phone that will pop up right at the end of the school day. If she doesn’t do it, the behavior was planned and deliberate. When agreeing to the reminder, you can point out that she will have a choice to either do as the reminder requests or decide not to do it and have a consequence such as no phone use for the rest of the day. She will be motivated to follow through to avoid the consequence.


When you ask your son to take out the trash and he says that he will do it later, don’t expect it to be done. He may forget to do it. If he is busy doing something, he won’t want to do it right away. So, either ask him to do it immediately when he is not busy or tell him that he needs to take out the trash and ask when he will do it and how he will remember to do it. He can put a reminder on his phone. He will like the fact that you let him decide (within reason) when he will do it. If he doesn’t do it when he gets the reminder, it is misbehavior.


Your son might not turn in his homework – is that misbehavior? Why would he do the work and refuse to turn it in? That doesn’t make sense, clearly, he forgot! Ask the teacher if she can send him his homework. He can send it back right after he finishes it. Many schools now have students do their homework online and it can be very helpful to those students that have ADHD.


Some children are oppositional. They have argued and disobeyed consistently since the age of two. That has nothing to do with ADHD; that is misbehavior. If that describes your child, you should seek counseling to help you improve the child’s behavior.


All the things I’ve outlined here could also be true for adults with ADHD. Sometimes they don’t remember and sometimes they simply don’t want to do it. Investigate which it is.


Accreditation and Assessment Corner

Solange Ribeiro and Nicole Randick


This month we want to highlight HLC accreditation criterion 3.B.6, “faculty and students contribute to scholarship, creative work, and the discovery of knowledge to the extent appropriate to their programs and the institution’s mission”, as well as goal 1.1.4, “to employ highly qualified staff, faculty and administrators”, and goal 2.3: “to demonstrate Adlerian Principles through community activities” of our institutional effectiveness plan. Next month we will be highlighting the contributions of our part-time faculty.


Who are our faculty and where can they be found when not at AGS? Here is just a sample of how full-time faculty members contribute to the profession and to their communities.


Amy Foel and Doug Pelcak provide significant service to the community by running the School Counseling Service Center, which provides human resources and training to underserved area schools. In addition, they just presented the program Resilience & Suicide Prevention: Adlerian Approaches Using Evidence Based Research at the Minnesota School Counseling Association Conference, on April 27.


Asha Dickerson is the Southern Region Representative for the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, President-Elect of the American Counseling Association of Georgia, and the recipient of the 2019 Trailblazer Award for Counselor Workforce Development. The award will be presented at the National Board for Certified Counselor’s Bridging the Gap Symposium on May 24. She will be the keynote speaker for the Bridging the Gap Awards and will be presenting the content session "Villains, Victims, and Criminal Masterminds: Using Cartoons and Comics to Help Children Understand Trauma" at that same symposium.


Craig Balfany has a number of upcoming presentations. At the NASAP conference, in May, he will present a content session titled “Exploring cultural self-awareness through doll making: An insightful tool to create movement towards multicultural competence.” In June, you will be able to find him presenting a professional development workshop at the VONA Center for Mental Health; in July he will be accompanying three Art Therapy students to ICASSI; and in October he will be co-presenting 4 programs at the American Art Therapy Association National Conference. You will be happy to know that one of his presentations will be a co-presentation with two current Adler students, Rebecca Urban and Leah Baird; the title of their presentations is “Studio E: Epilepsy Art Therapy Program, Eight Years of Healing Through Art”.


Erin Rafferty-Bugher will be presenting the session Healing Native American Urban Youth at the 2019 American Art Therapy Association Conference, taking place October 30 to November 3 in Kansas City, MO. Her co-presenter, Pat Welch, M.A. A.T, is a recent AGS graduate. She will also be presenting the content session “An Integrated Approach: Individual Psychology, the Medicine Wheel and Creativity”, which will examine the relationship between Individual Psychology and the Indigenous Medicine Wheel teaching, at 2019 NASAP Conference in Tucson, AZ.


Jill Sisk is “Taking Adler to the Streets" on Thursdays with Evelyn Haas and John Reardon by visiting community agencies (e.g. Zuhrah Shriners; Yellow Brick Road daycare), to offer free presentations to their members, parents, and employees on Adlerian topics of interest. She can also be found periodically in Jamestown, ND, where she is a member of the Board of trustees for the University of Jamestown.


Judy Voight co-presented at the Minneapolis School Counselors meeting with Doug Pelcak and Amy Foell on “Anxiety and Depressive Disorders in Children” in November, 2018. She contributes to the community by serving dinner at the Union Gospel Missions and packing meals for Feed My Starving Children. She has walked n the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for 15 consecutive years and has individually raised $8,000 for breast cancer research by walking 60 miles over the course of three days in two Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3 Days Walks.


Letitia Browne-James is the Current Treasurer of the Association for Multicultural Counseling & Development (AMCD), a division of ACA, Immediate Past President of The Florida Association for Multicultural Counseling & Development (FAMCD), a division of Florida Counseling Association (FCA), and FCA’s Ethics and Professional Practice Committee Chairperson, as well as FCA’s 2019 Traumatology Symposium Coordinator. She is currently running for the position of FCA’s President-Elect. She is the 2019 recipient the NBCC’s Inaugural Excellence in Clinical Mental Health with Underserved Populations Award, which she will receive at the 2019 NBCC Foundation "Bridging the Gap Symposium: Eliminating Mental Health Disparities" in Atlanta from May 22-24. At the symposium she will also give a presentation showcasing the work she does to help persons from underserved and marginalized communities.


Meg Williams contributes to the community by being a Girl Scouts leader, providing consultation and advocacy to individuals with disabilities, and by being a member of the District 622 Advisory Committee


Nicole Randick recently published the article, Exploring the job duties that impact school counselor wellness: The role of RAMP, supervision, and support, in The Professional School Counselor (December, 2018). You can also find a fun experiential activity, The Wellness Tree, she co-wrote with Solange Ribeiro in the upcoming book, Social Justice and Advocacy in Counseling: Experiential Activities for Teaching, which is coming out in June 2019. She will be co-presenting with Solange Ribeiro on the topic of technology in education at the 2019 Association for Humanistic Counseling National Conference, in Bloomington, MN. She will also be co-presenting at the 2019 American Art Therapy Association Conference, in Kansas City, MO. Her presentations focus on working with grieving adolescents and adolescent identity formation.


Solange Ribeiro focuses her service to the profession on serving as a CACREP site-visit team member, doing an average of one visit a year to programs seeking accreditation. On June 1st, you will be able to find her co-presenting with Nicole Randick at the 2019 Association for Humanistic Counseling National Conference, in Bloomington, MN. The title of this presentation is “Technology and Relationship: Virtual Battle”


Art Therapy Corner: Connecting The Community Through Creativity

Story By Kristen Miller, Sun Sailor


In honor of Dementia Awareness Month, Open Circle's academic outreach program allows students to share the healing and life-enhancing experience of art therapy with seniors. Click or tap the button to read more about the program, dementia, the students, and the participants in the Original Sun Sailor article.

Read the Full Article


Writing Center Corner

The Adler Writing Center sponsors a student writing contest each month.  Students - watch your Adler email for a prompt, write a paragraph, and send to  Check your Adler email.  See below the prompts and the writers that have won each month. 


Featured Entry

By Amy Riedel | Prize: Two tickets to MN Orchestra Performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony

“What is one of your favorite kinds of music that soothes you and reaches your soul and why?”


Music is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others.  When we take in music, we are receiving an offering from the journey of another person.  When we give music, we are offering our vulnerabilities to strengthen others.  Music envelops a connection on a spiritual level that is unbreakable; one song can bring us back to a specific moment in time that can make us laugh, and cry, and be thankful. 


I have been blessed with the gift of music all my life.  My grandmother was a music teacher who later travelled to Thailand and brought back a beautiful instrument.  She organized a revolutionary choir with this instrument called the Unkalung.  She learned to compose the music for the instrument along with the choral chords.  The Unkalung Choir travelled internationally and my grandmother was able to touch the lives of so many with this unique sound.  She included me in many of her Christmas concerts in Madison, Wisconsin and I began my love of performing.  I would later go on to earn a full-tuition scholarship at the University of Wisconsin for music writing and performance. 


I also developed a love for recording music and had the chance to create songs with many incredible artists, including Grammy Award winning artist Sean Paul and LIfe-Time Grammy Achievement Award winner Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC.  Music took me to places I never thought I would be able to go.  I travelled to Jamaica, and Los Angeles, and sang at the Apollo with a choir.  I was blessed to have the chance to sing and perform at the National Boys and Girls Club Keystone Conference in Dallas, Texas as well as share music and love with students at University of North Carolina-Charlotte on inclusion and equity. I was also given the opportunity to share the stage with incredible youth performers at Summerfest, and I opened for several artists at the Taste of Madison. 


For me, music is a love language.  It is a lasting connection.  I can think of no better way to bridge our differences and come together than through music.  I do not have one specific type of music that soothes my soul because many styles of music reach me and through the music, I am able to connect with others.  Whether it is out dancing with friends, or singing in church, or listening to music before bed, I appreciate music in all forms and the way it creates connection.  I embrace many forms of music, and they all soothe my soul.  Music has always been a healer and an incredible gift in my life.


A Classic

By Rocky Garrison, Ph.D.

Reference: Plewa, F. (1936). Psychic difficulties. International Journal of Individual Psychology, 2(1), 114-126.

Author Information

Franz Plewa (1903 -?) took part is the Association for Individual Psychology Physicians (AIPP) in Vienna. Beginning in 1929 he was appointed Assistant Director at the Clinic for Nervous Diseases at the Mariahilfer, an educational counseling center. He worked closely with Lydia Sicher, who was appointed Director of the clinic when Adler left Vienna for the United States. In 1934 he was elected chairman of AIPP. He emigrated to England in 1939, where he ran a clinic in the Kennington district in London. After immigrating to the United States, he became chief of the welfare and counseling services in Boystown, Nebraska.


Plewa (1936) begins by asserting that no style of living prepares a person for everything and that people experience psychic distress whenever this lack of preparedness is encountered. The shock of this experience activates inferiority feelings, perfection, “… a goal towards which a person aspires in his [or her] effort to escape his [or her] imperfection” (p. 115), and protective measures in order to overcome the felt vulnerability.  He insists that these psychic difficulties are universal and not necessarily neurotic. While inferiority feelings are universal many people are “… unable to consider ‘inferiority’ a universally human characteristic but believe it to be distinctive of his [or her] individual nature” (p. 118).


Plewa (1936) uses a legal analogy to discuss the process of understanding distress, asserting that a person should be considered healthy until proven neurotic. He goes on to identify three necessary attributes of a neurosis. First, evidence of a lack of preparation for a task of life in the childhood of the person and of shock effects and symptoms in the person’s current functioning. Second, a lack of understanding of the personal meaning or impact of the situation that revealed the lack of preparation, the exogenous factor. Third, a pattern of using the symptom(s) to obtain the help of others, attain superiority and/or compensate for the felt inadequacy. He presents a case that has two of these three attributes and then defines some goals for psychotherapy in cases of psychic difficulties.