Sophia J. de Vries was born in Arnhem, Holland on February 2, 1901, the
youngest of four children. She earned her bachelors' degree in education
and a teaching credential in 1919, and then started working with children
who had both emotional and learning difficulties.
Her first introduction to Adlerian ideas was through the lectures of Fritz
Kuenkel, a popular lecturer in Holland, who talked to teachers and parents
about dealing with difficult children.
In 1922, she traveled to Italy where she studied with Maria Montessori.
Returning to Holland in 1925, she married and had two children. Eight years
later, she continued her graduate education in psychology at Amsterdam
University. Her interest in Adlerian psychology deepend when she began
attending Alfred Adler's lectures in Amsterdam.
In 1935 she went to Vienna where she took courses given by Alfred Adler,
Lydia Sicher, Alexander Müller, Rudolf Dreikurs, August Eichorn, and Karl
Bühler. Her study analysis was with Sicher, Adler's first
assistant, and her case supervison was provided by Müller, a close
co-worker of Adler.
While in Vienna, she worked with Charlotte Bühler at the
"Kinderrubernahmstelle," where she studied childrens' physical, mental, and
psychological development. She also participated in many Adlerian study
groups and child guidance clinics, where Ida Loewy and Martha Holub
demonstrated child and family counseling techniques.
World War II interrupted her doctoral studies. The theories of Adler and
Freud were forbidden in Holland--only Jung's ideas were permitted to be
discussed openly. Because she refused to take an
oath of loyalty to Hitler, she was unable to attend the university.
However, she did attend the International School for Philosophy in Holland,
and heard lectures given by Carl Jung, Ludwig Klages, and Ernst Kretschmer.
Although it was dangerous to do so, she continued to practice Adlerian
After the war, in 1945, the Adlerian training group was re-established in
Holland. Sophia was chosen for the Scientific Committee on Adlerian
Psychology and taught courses with Alexander Müller in Amsterdam. In
1948 Sophia immigrated to the United States, settled in Southern
California, and worked closely with Lydia Sicher. She moved to Northern
California in 1952, worked as a case worker for Lincoln Child Center in
Oakland, and continued to teach and develop a private practice.
For nearly twenty years, she served as a mentor and consutant to the Alfred
Adler Institute of San Francisco, offering study groups, case analysis
seminars, supervision, and study-analyses to students. Sophia provided
the insight and inspiration for our institute's dedication to Adler's
original teachings and his diplomatic, creative style of treatment. One of
her great contributions to Adlerian practice was her masterful adaptation
of the Socratic method to psychotherapy.
Her translations of several writings of Alexander Müller and Alfred
Adler provided the foundation for The Adlerian Translation Project,
dedicated to translating, editing, and publishing The Collected
Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, as well as the unpublished manuscripts
of Alexander Müller, Anthony Bruck, and other Classical