Victor Emanuel Frankl
Victor E. Frankl, MD was a Viennese psychiatrist who formulated what is referred to as the third major school of psychiatric theory developed in the first half of the nineteenth century. He was not a formal student of Sigmund Freud, but was an enthusiastic follower of his work. He did study directly under the supervision of Alfred Adler, the founder of individual psychotherapy. He began to develop his own hypothesis and philosophies regarding mental illness in the late 1920s.
Dr. Frankl's interest was to look at suffering, mental illness and disease from the perspective of what keeps a person mentally healthy rather than following Freud's theory, that man's pursuit was to find pleasure, or Adler's theory, that man's pursuit was for power over his environment.
The answer to many of his questions was found in a simple explanation. Man is different from other animals by means of his spirit and man remains emotionally healthy through the process of finding the meaning in his suffering and life's struggles.
In Dr. Frankl's concept of the "tragic triad" of human existence, he refers to pain, death and guilt. Suffering itself is a facet of Frankl's tragic triad, and is elemental in how we respond to each of the three. Before being forced into Nazi prison camps during the holocaust, Dr. Frankl had already developed his theories, which later became known as Logotherapy. Dr Frankl choose the Greek words for spirit - NOOS - and LOGOS - meaning, to describe what he found to be the important parts of his theory. During the three years in the death camps, where he saw his wife and mother gassed to death and his father die of starvation, Dr. Frankl validated his theories amidst the worst suffering known to mankind in this century.
According to Dr. Frankl, it is not what happens to us that matters so much, rather it is how we respond to what happens that is significant. Logotherapy guides people toward understanding themselves as they are and as they could be, and toward finding their place in the social environment. Logotherapy points out that life does not owe us happiness, it offers us meaning. It offers us the opportunity to do something with our lives. If an individual pursues happiness, he will never find it. Happiness comes only as a by-product of having done something meaningful with one's life.
Some basic tenets of Logotherapy are as follows:
- Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
- A human being is an entity consisting of body, soul and spirit.
- People have a will to find meaning in life.
- Life has a demand quality to which people must respond if decisions are to be meaningful.
- The spirit within us is our core of health and contains our will to find meaning, our goal orientation, and our capacities for choice (beyond the instinct), love (beyond the sexual), imagination, abstract thought, artistic creativity, religious faith, self-discovery, and transcendence.
- Logotherapy views the search for meaning as central to human existence.
Throughout the duration of each of the programs at InnerWisdom, we assist the individual in exploring the different types of experiences he has encountered, and how his suffering can lead him to an insight or a healthier lifestyle. When the client is able to perceive the strength and meaning in his suffering in past experiences, he is more willing to endure suffering in the future. It is through this understanding of suffering and the fact that it is a naturally occurring process in all people, that the question of "why me" can be answered and resolved, and the suffering element eliminated.
Suffering is an attitude based in the belief that one is not worthy. When one is able to see how suffering has changed him, he is able to influence his future. Logotherapy helps to illuminate the way forward, step-by-step. No one can change his past, but Logotherapy emphasizes that we are neither slaves to the past nor victims of it. What can be changed is the present while simultaneously influencing the future. We all have limitations, but we also have freedoms within those limitations.
|CARL GUSTAV JUNG|
|VICTOR EMANUEL FRANKL|