The Opening Path

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Introduction to Logotherapy

“Nevertheless Say YES! To Life”


“Nevertheless Say YES! To Life”

This is the Title of the German edition to Victor Frankl’s book, which we in the United States have come to know as “The Search for Meaning” The full title is “Troztdam ja sum leben sagen. Ein psychologist die konsentration slager erlebt”. We can translate it “Nevertheless say yes to life. A psychologist experiences the prison camp”.

It is one thing to say yes to life. It is quite another thing to lose your mother, your father and your new spouse and still to say yes.

Frankl created logotherapy—a fourth school of psychoanalysis -- in Vienna before World War II. However, it is forged into something powerful in the prison camps of Nazi Germany. In the truest sense, Logotherapy offers a way out of suffering.

Frankl separated himself from the negative view of Freudian analysis which focused on individual pathology and created something which he called existential analysis.

Existential analysis aims to expand the realms of authenticity, freedom, choice, meaning and creativity; it serves existential ends with psychological means.

Frankl approaches emotional distress by using tools to increase creativity.

He also focuses on authenticity, by offering choices to people addressing suffering by looking at how they see it, what meanings does it create for them. He is the author of the idea that when you cannot change a situation, think about how you can change your attitude or your response to this situation.

Finally Frankl uses freedom address the therapeutic goal of decreasing emotional distress. He are outlines the possibility that there are choices that we can make in any situation. So much of our distress comes from feeling that we are out of control. In logotherapy, Frankl finds a way to assist the individual in taking control.

Despair, constriction, and disassociation are subjective states that correspond to states of being and as such can be addressed as both illness and existential reality. In despair, a person often feels as though they have no power and no choice. In constriction, there is an impasse that prevents a person from seeing all aspects of a situation, and in disassociation a person simply removes from their sight or memory and important aspect of reality.

Frankl’s work addresses these three differently than Freud who interepreted these as defense mechanisms. In other words Freud interpreted these common reactions to stress negatively. Frankl, on the other hand, moves to offer solutions rather than condemnations. He opens possibilities as a good existential psychologist does.

Life as Frankl knew holds much suffering. How we deal with this, respectful to the difficulty that humans face is the heart of Logotherapy.

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Deutsch: Viktor E. Frankl: Die Psychotherapie in der Praxis.Eine kasuistische Einführung für Ärzte. Wien: F. Deuticke 1947, Sammlung H.-P.Haack, Foto H.-P.Haack. --H.-P.Haack (talk) 15:06, 7 December 2009 (UTC)