Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology in Light of Classical Persian Literature


This paper aims to present a tentative analysis of the possible commonalities and differences between Adlerian individual psychology and classical Persian literary texts of the pre-modern period written by mystics Abu Saeed Abu al-Khair, Jami, Saadi, and Rumi. The authors put forward the suggestion that modern psychological approaches, especially those dealing with education of children, might be rooted in the teachings of Iranian mystics. In mysticism and classical Iranian literature, like in Adlerian psychology, much attention is given to human nature in its entirety and personality development. The analysis focuses on such core aspects of Adler’s theory as the feeling of inferiority and the striving for recognition, the influence of family and social environment on personality development and lifestyle. It is shown that, like Adler’s individual psychology, classical Persian texts stress the importance of the social aspect in the child’s development but while Adler believed in the freedom of choice and people’s creative power to change their personality structure (lifestyle), the classical Iranian authors emphasized the existence of a certain “true nature” that cannot be influenced by education or social environment. These findings can inspire future research into the possible connections between the holistic personality theories in modern psychology and the philosophical thought in classical Persian literature.

Author Biographies

Fayruza S. Ismagilova, Tashkent State Pedagogical University named after Nizami, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Fayruza S. Ismagilova’s research interests are primarily in the following three areas. The first area is work experience as a competitive advantage in the labor market. She is interested in when, how, and why an expert’s work experience ceases to be of interest to the employer and what efforts an expert should undertake to save their experience as a competitive advantage in the labor market. The second area is managerial decision making, e.g., what typical decision-making stereotypes and cognitive biases may be considered obstacles to improving managerial and professional performance. The third area is the effectiveness and efficiency of professional performance. Eight research grants supported Fayruza S. Ismagilova’s investigations. Her main research results include 16 papers in journals indexed by SCOPUS and WoS, and invitations to work as a visiting lecturer and researcher at universities in France, Germany, Slovenia, and Uzbekistan (currently at the Kimyo International University in Tashkent).

Nazyar Khamenehei, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Nazyar Khamenehei is Master Student, Department of Psychology, Ural Federal University. Her research interests lie in three major areas: contemporary psychological concepts; child psychology; analysis of Sufism literature and its impact on today’s human behavior and psyche.

How to Cite
Ismagilova, F., & Khamenehei, N. (2023). Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology in Light of Classical Persian Literature. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(1), 213–223. doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.1.226
Research Notes