Jung’s Early Statement on Adler’s Type
In Psychological Types (1921), Jung makes the following statements on Adler’s type:
“Freud would like to ensure the undisturbed flow of instinct towards its object; Adler would like to break the baleful spell of the object in order to save the ego from suffocating in its own defensive armour. Freud’s view is essentially extraverted, Adler’s introverted. The extraverted theory holds good for the extraverted type, the introverted theory for the introverted type.” (§91)
In other words, according to Jung, Adler is an introvert and Freud is an extrovert.
Jung’s Later Statements on Adler’s Type
However, it soon appeared to onlookers that Adler wasn’t really an introvert in any meaningful sense. (And certainly, Adler wasn’t afraid to have his ego consciousness overwhelmed by the force of external objects in the way that is so characteristic of Jungian introverts.)
Later in life, in 1941, Jung addressed this question in a private letter to Robert Loeb (to our knowledge, Jung never strove to correct his prior assertion of Adler as an introvert in public, but this could well be because of the fact that Jung’s later public work didn’t deal with typology). Here Jung says the following of Adler’s type:
“I discriminate between the ordinary ego-consciousness of the man and his creative personality. Very often there is a striking difference. Personally a creative man can be an introvert, but in his work he is an extravert, and vice versa. … Adler, whom I met as a young man, being of my age, gave me the impression of a neurotic introvert, in which case there is always the doubt as to the definite type. … Freud as well as Adler underwent a change in their personal type. …
Adler, I suppose, was never a real introvert, therefore as soon as he had a certain success he began to develop an extraverted behavior. But in his creative work he had the outlook of an introvert. The power complex which both of them had showed in Freud’s personal attitude, where it belonged. In Adler’s case it became his theory, where it did not belong. This meant an injury to his creative aspect.” (Jung: Letters, vol. 1, Princeton University Press 1973, p. 301).
So here at this later date, Adler-the-man is extroverted, while Adler’s theory is introverted. As in the case of Freud, Jung thought that Adler had changed his type, or possibly that he had gotten his assessment of Adler wrong the first time around. We leave it to the reader to decide.
However, later still, in 1955, Adler was introvert again, when Jung was asked about it in an interview.
C.G. Jung, quoted in C.G. Jung Speaking p. 257, Princeton University Press 1987:
Interviewer: “You’re an introvert … and Adler?”
Jung: “Adler is equally introverted.”
So to sum up Jung’s statements on Adler’s type:
- In 1921: Adler is an introvert
- In 1943: Adler is an extrovert
- In 1955: Adler is an introvert again