Rudolf Dreikurs (1897-1972) was born in Vienna and was an accomplished musician, though he never performed professionally, composing songs, and playing piano, viola, violin, and cello. He served as lieutenant in the Austrian army in World War I. After the war, he began his training in medicine and met Alfred Adler, becoming increasingly convinced by his Individual Psychology approach.
He arrived in Chicago in 1937, shortly after Alfred Adler died, but he took up Adler's work at Hull House, where he also lived. He fostered community psychiatry, leading community child guidance centers and working with schools. He wanted to develop a pragmatic method to encourage misbehaving children to become more cooperative. For example, he suggested that teachers should use encouraging words with students whether or not their work was successful. Dreikurs promoted group dynamics and group psychotherapy, as well as music therapy. Among his books are: The Challenge of Parenthood (1958) and Psychology in the Classroom (1968).
In 1952 he founded the Institute of Adlerian Psychology in Chicago which is today's Adler University, the oldest independant psychology school in North America, which has over 1,200 students.