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Middle child

This child often feels left out since the first and second has already team-up. This child may adopt the “poor me” attitude and creates problem to gain attention. In problematic family, however, the middle child may become the peacemaker, the person who holds things together.

Youngest child

The youngest is often the baby of the family and becomes the centre of attention. He may be pampered and spoilt. He has to strive and become at least as good as the others ahead of him. Youngest children tend to develop in a unique ways, different from the older siblings.

Only child

The only child shares some characteristics with the oldest child since she is also the centre of attention and strives to become the best. She is also pampered and spoilt. She may crave being in the spotlight all the time, even with those outside her family. She may have problems sharing or cooperate with people of her age, yet get along well with adults.

           Figure 2.3: Birth Order and Its Influence in Personality Development


The goal of Adlerian counselling is to help clients develop a healthy, holistic lifestyle. This is achieved through an equalitarian relationship between the counsellor and the client. Clients are assisted in identifying, exploring, and disclosing mistaken goals and faulty assumptions associated with feelings of inferiority. These feelings might result from any negative effects of birth order, negative family environment or lack of social interaction and correction of the faulty lifestyle, goals, and assumptions.

Ultimately, the counsellor will help the client foster social interest and start contributing to society, overcome feelings of inferiority and acquire a sense of equality with others, modify clients’ views and goals, and change clients’ faulty motivation. Within clients’ lifestyle encourage clients to be brave enough so that they are able to explore, identify or confront any fears, perceptions or issues that have been burdening them. In a condition full of positive regard and empathy, clients become increasingly willing to change and grow. As clients become more fully functioning, they will have greater acceptance of their self. In conclusion, clients are ultimately responsible for their own lives.

The role of the counsellor is to diagnose, teach, and model the desired behaviours. The main task of the counsellor is to assess clients’ level of functioning by gathering information on their family constellation, including the birth order, the parents, siblings and others living at home. Clients’ early life experiences are also explored. The counsellor then interprets clients’ situations, putting assumptions on clients’ areas of problems that need to be worked out.


Adlerian counselling follows FOUR phases of therapy:

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