Marina Bluvshtein

Marina Bluvshtein, director of the Center for Adlerian  Practice and Scholarship at Adler University, presented  Adlerian psychology, and specifically the psychology of belongingness to SIUE.

Marina Bluvshtein, the Director of the Center for Adlerian Practice and Scholarship at Adler University, presented Adlerian Psychology and the psychology of belongingness to SIUE, marking the second time Adlerian Psychology has been discussed on campus since 1968 when Rudolf Dreikurs presented it.


During the lecture, Bluvshtein talked about the importance of belonging, the origins of the ideas of Alfred Adler and Dreikurs as well as how Adlerian Psychology differs from other branches of psychology.


Adlerian Psychology, named after Alfred Adler, focuses on psychotherapy and the effort people make to make up for inferiority they find and see in themselves, which to Bluvshtein represents a lack of belongingness. 


In comparison to the other branches of behavioral psychology, Bluvshtein said Adlerian Psychology differs in how it looks at values. 


“Adlerian Psychology is values first, and it’s first and it’s last and it’s everything in between. We don’t do it without values,” Bluvshtein said.


In describing belongingness, Bluvshtein said that belongingness should not be looked at through conventional means or through the literal definition of the word, but as something more.


“The true Belongingness is a feeling of oneness with the one who is the least like you, who is the least familiar to you, who is the least comfortable perhaps to sit next to you,” Bluvshtein said. “The ultimate belongingness is not just indivisibility between you and the [person] next to you, between you and your family or you and you city, your town, class or university, but ultimate belongingness — it is indivisibility between you and humanity,” Bluvshtein said.


Bluvshtein said a lack of belongingness is present in mental illness, personality disorders and social issues, including depression.


“Impaired sense of belongingness is visible on many levels depending on the type or severity of depression. You might see a person’s elevated degree of entitlement, leading to control, subordination [or] punishment of other,” Bluvshtein said. “In psychotic illnesses, we see a lack of belongingness in hostility and isolation, an extreme feeling of inferiority, coupled with childhood indulgence and trained exclusivity.”


Being a first generation immigrant and coming to the U.S. as a refugee, Bluvshtein said belongingness has a personal meaning for her as well.


“I was not born into this culture [and] I was not born into this country, so it was not a birthright. So ... I think it was me looking for a way to belong in a socially useful way,” Bluvshtein said.


Grant Andree, director of Arts and Issues, was one of the people who organized the lecture and said one of his biggest takeaways was Bluvshtein’s comments about support groups.


“I like the point she made where [she said] ‘Don’t just find a support group, make a support group. Don’t just find somebody to get help, help somebody,’ where you're taking action,” Andree said.


For being the first in-person event like a lecture since the start of the pandemic, Grant said the seats filled up almost completely and he was happy with the turnout.


Senior psychology major Thomas Goodbrake of St. Louis, Illinois, said the introductory story about courage and finding light to keep going was one thing that will stick with him from Bluvshtein’s lecture because of his own experience with courage to come back to college after nearly a decade break.


“I have decided to take a step into the waters of academia away from a very successful career monetarily, but not spiritually or personally, so I can definitely identify with her first opening story and that’s one of the key elements of wonderful public speakers,” Goodbrake said.


Goodbrake said he hopes that everyone else during the lecture took away the same messages and inspiration as he did.


“This is exactly what I needed — this is exactly what we all needed and I believe tonight anyone who had the pleasure of getting one of the 122 available seats — I hope they take away first and foremost a greater sense of belongingness and the understanding the courage that it takes to turn the noun into the verb, to go out and step into the darkness and that light is something I hope sticks with everybody who heard these words tonight,” Goodbrake said.


Bluvshtein will be on campus until this Friday and will be speaking in various classes throughout the week as well as being a part of a NASAP tap talk on theoretical orientation tonight at 7 p.m.

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