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Victor Frankl Viktor E. Frankl was one of Europe’s leading psychiatrists and one of the most modern thinkers in the world. During and partly because of his suffering in concentration camps, Frankl validated a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as Logotherapy.
Viktor E. Frankl Born in Vienna, Austria on March 26, 1905 as the second of three children. He died in 1997 in Vienna, Austria, of heart failure. His mother was from Prague and his father came from Suedmaehre. Frankl grew up in Vienna, the birthplace of modern psychiatry and home of the renowned psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. A brilliant student, Frankl was involved in Socialist youth organizations and became interested in psychiatry. At age 16 he began writing to Freud, and on one occasion sent him a short paper, which was published three years later, Frankl earned a medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1930 and was put in charge of a Vienna hospital ward for the treatment of females who had attempted suicide. When Germany seized control of Austria eight years later, the Nazis made Frankl head of the Rothschild Hospital.
Victor Frankl In 1942 Frankl married his first wife, Tilly Grosser. Nine months later, Frankl, his wife and his parents were deported to the Theresienstadt camp near Prague. Even though he was in four Nazi camps, Frankl survived the Holocaust, including Auschwitz in Poland from 1942-45, where the camp doctor Josef Mengele, was supervising the division of the incoming prisoners into two lines. Those in the line moving left were to go to the gas chambers, while those in the line moving right were to be spared. Frankl was directed to join the line moving left, but managed to save his life by slipping into the other line without being noticed. Other members of his family were not so fortunate. Frankl’s wife, his parents, and other members of his family died in the concentration camps.
Victor Frankl On returning to Vienna after Germany’s defeat in 1945, Frankl, who had secretly been keeping a record of his observations in the camps on scraps of paper, published a book in German setting out his ideas on Logotherapy. This was translated into English in 1959, and in a revised and enlarged edition appeared as The Doctor and the Soul: An Introduction to Logotherapy in 1963. By the time of his death, Frankl’s book, Mans Search for Meaning, had been translated into 24 languages and reprinted 73 times and had long been used as a standard text in high school and university courses in psychology, philosophy, and theology.
Victor Frankl In 1947 Frankl married his second wife Eleonore Schwindt, who survived him, as did a daughter, Dr. Gabrielle Frankl-Vesely. Frankl’s postwar career was spent as a professor of neurology and psychiatry in Vienna, where he taught until he was 85. He was also chief of neurology at the Vienna Polyclinic Hospital for 25 years. F rankl received twenty-nine honorary doctorates from universities in all parts of the world. He wrote over 30 books and became the first non- American to be awarded the American Psychiatric Association’s prestigious Oskar Pfister Prize and was a visiting professor at Harvard, Stanford and other universities in Pittsburgh, San Diego and Dallas. x
Victor Frankl Frankl has given lectures at 209 universities on five continents. The U. S. International University in California installed a special chair for Logotherapy- this is the psychotherapeutic school founded by Frankl, often called the “Third Viennese School” (after Freud’s Psychoanalysis and Adler’s Individual Psychology.) The American Medical Society, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have officially recognized Dr. Frankl’s Logotherapy as one of the scientifically based schools of psychotherapy. In a 1991 survey of general-interest readers conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over nine million copies alone in the USA and was ranked among the ten most influential book in America. In 1992, the “Viktor Frankl Frankl-Institute” was created in his honor in Vienna.
LOGOTHERAPY At the core of this theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is search for meaning "Other things being equal, those apt to survive the camps were those oriented toward the future - toward a task, or a person, waiting for them in the future, toward a meaning to be fulfilled by them in the future" (Viktor 2003, 1- 2).
LOGOTHERAPYFrankls approach is based on three philosophical and psychological concepts:
FREEDOM OF WILL According to LTEA humans are not fully subject to conditions but are basically free to decide and capable of taking their stance towards internal (psychological) and external (biological and social) conditions. Freedom is here defined as the space of shaping ones own life within the limits of the given possibilities. This freedom derives from the spiritual dimension of the person, which is understood as the essentially human realm, over and above the dimensions of body and of psyche. As spiritual persons, humans are not just reacting organisms but autonomous beings capable of actively shaping their lives. >>>>
WILL TO MEANING Human beings are not only free, but most importantly they are free to something - namely, to achieve goals and purposes. The search for meaning is seen as the primary motivation of humans. When a person cannot realize his or her "Will to Meaning" in their lives they will experience an abysmal sensation of meaninglessness and emptiness. The frustration of the existential need for meaningful goals will give rise to aggression, addiction, depression and suicidality, and it may engender or increase psychosomatic maladies and neurotic disorders. >>>>
MEANING IN LIFE LTEA is based on the idea that meaning is an objective reality, as opposed to a mere illusion arising within the perceptional apparatus of the observer. >>>>
Love Love is the strongest bond between people and will lead to wonderful inspiration and great sacrifice. Many of the great works of art were inspired by love, including more general love such as of nature or God. Frankl himself used his love of his wife to keep up his spirits and also noticed how other prisoners used their connection with others to stay positive in the face of extremely negative circumstances. >>>>
Work Without work, people easily fall into an aimless existence. Work provides both short- and longer- term objectives and completion of these can result in a deep satisfaction and sense of value. Frankl had the manuscript of a book he had written confiscated. He used this as a spur to re-write the book, using every scrap of paper he could find. >>>>
Suffering Suffering as a source of meaning is both curious and also understandable when it is seen in the light of pain that leads to enlightenment. There is more than one religion in the world that is founded on the suffering of its prophet. A key effect is that with a loss of outer freedom, we often turn inwards and find meaning in places where external cruelty cannot reach. In the manner of the Stoics, we may also reframe suffering as our task, of bearing the cross. and gaining a sense of achievement simply by surviving.
Suffering Frankls concentration camp experiences were no doubt fraught with unbelievable suffering and it is remarkable that he could find meaning. He did note that it was unavoidable suffering that led to meaning, thus obviating self-flagellation or other privation. >>>> Frankl quoted Dostoevski: There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.
Prepared by: JC de Egurrolajeelchristine@i.phTHE END