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Logotherapy Review. “In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”. Provisional Existence.

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logotherapy review

Logotherapy Review

“In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

provisional existence
Provisional Existence
  • Generally, it is the idea of unending suffering, or the belief that one’s suffering is unending. When one feels as if there is no future, no future goal to look to.
  • In regards to the inmates…
    • Shock/denial ex.
    • Apathy/indifference ex.
    • Moral deformity, disillusionment, bitterness, depersonalization ex.
noogenic neuroses vs mental neuroses
Noogenic Neuroses vs. Mental Neuroses
  • Firstly, understand that existential frustration (simply a frustrated will to meaning) is NOT mental but noogenic
  • Basically, the difference reveals that a patient suffering from neuroses often has more CONTROL than they realize
  • Noogenic Neuroses=Neuroses of the Mind
  • Frankl is NOT saying that some people are not in need of professional therapy, but that often these cases are noo-genic and a result of existential frustration, not mental. Any therapy should though, according to Frankl, be combined with logotherapy.
  • Case of the American Diplomat
hyper intention vs paradoxical intention
Hyper-intention vs. Paradoxical-intention
  • Hyper-intention is the idea that by TRYING to avoid something, you bring about the very thing you seek to avoid. In other words, “a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes.”
  • Paradoxical-intention is the treatment of this!
  • For example: If you are an insomniac, you should TRY to stay AWAKE, NOT TRY to fall asleep!
  • Humor is also a part of this! Ex
  • I have lots more examples…
super meaning
  • This may be my favorite!
  • Think of your life like a movie…
  • When watching a movie, does it always make sense to you in the moment? Do you understand the significance of EVERY scene?
  • The answer is probably not! Frankl contends that often in life we do not understand the meaning of each scene, especially scenes of suffering. Often, we don’t understand our suffering until it has passed—or, as is the case here, we can’t understand the meaning of specific “scenes” until the end of the movie, the end of our lives
  • Remember: Logos is deeper than logic!
  • Can an animal undergoing medical testing for cancer research understand? Isn’t it possible that such understanding is beyond us?
  • Example of the Rabbi
tragic optimism optimum human potential
Tragic Optimism & Optimum Human Potential
  • Tragic optimism is easy! It is the response to the tragic triad with an optimistic attitude!
  • Think of Optimum Human Potential as “knocking it out of the park.” Frankl encourages that through OHP we can make the BEST out of our suffering!
  • This is what Frankl has to say about it:
    • (1)Turning suffering into human achievement and accomplishment (2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and (3) deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action (pg139)
categorical frankl imperative
Categorical/Frankl Imperative
  • “Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now!”
  • Basically, the present is past—the past may yet be changed!
  • We’ve all made choices we regret—Frankl maintains that many of these mistakes can be avoided if we STOP and THINK. Consider the repercussions and then never make the mistake to begin with!
  • IT’S ALL ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
noo dynamics
  • Mental health is dependent on a certain amount of tension! (ex. Frankl’s rewriting manuscript)
  • This tension between what one has already achieved and what one still needs to achieve is good!
  • Man does NOT need equilibrium (a tensionless state), but rather the struggle and tension that results from having a goal yet to be accomplished
  • Remember: Man vacillates between the two extremes of distress and boredom—distress is better!
indecent vs decent
Indecent vs. Decent
  • Man has the potential to be decent or indecent
  • Unlike Freud, Frankl maintains that man when stripped to the core is NOT the same, but either decent or indecent
  • The case of Dr. J—does it contradict the theory? I think not: man always has the choice and power to change!
  • However, on a bleak note…what does he have to say about which group holds the majority?
pan determinism vs self determinism
Pan-determinism vs. Self-determinism
  • This is easy!
  • Pan-determinism=BAD
  • This is because a pan-determinist would maintain that outside forces (fate, luck, destiny) ultimately control their life choices
  • Self-determinism=GOOD
  • This is because Frankl wants us to see/understand that we are ultimately self-determining beings—we always possess choice!
collective neuroses nihilism existential vacuum oh my
Collective neuroses, nihilism, existential vacuum…oh my!
  • Man possesses choice, but choice is scary. Man often does what he is told or does what others are doing.
  • More people are in therapy due to boredom as opposed to distress
  • Nihilism is labeled as the collective neuroses of our time—Frankl refers to existential vacuum as a private and personal form of nihilism (emptiness, nothingness—the contention that BEING has NO MEANING)
  • Frankl believes that such widespread conditions as depression, aggression, and addiction have their root in the existential vacuum (think boredom).
  • “Sunday Neuroses” = Feelings of anxiety, boredom, depression, emptiness when faced with work week. Sound at all familiar?
  • Frankl breaks it down into 3 ways for his purposes: 1. existence itself, 2. the meaning of existence 3. the will to meaning
  • What you NEED aside from this for this course:

Human free will

Human nature is chosen through life choices

A person is best when struggling/suffering—this is when their depth and core is exposed (and often stripped down to a decent or indecent core)

Choice can be very stressful!

Personal responsibility—don’t be a cry baby

Life is chaotic and unpredictable—all we can really control is our response

freudian psychology vs logotherapy
Freudian Psychology vs. Logotherapy
  • Future-focused as opposed to retrospective
  • Sometimes the answers are simple and right in front of us (think noo-genic neuroses/existential frustration)
  • Conflicts are often the result of existential problems, not conflict of internal drives and instincts
  • The patient sits upright as opposed to lying down—what he is trying to convey with this image is that the patient adopts more responsibility for their choices (this is how he sums it up)
  • Focus on finding meaning, not driven by pleasure
  • A logotherapist would not be afraid of adding to a patient’s stress—this is often just a reorientation of meaning
  • Therapist is an opthalmologist, not a painter