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Posted December 1, 2004

Book: Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy: Method of Choice in Ecumenical Pastoral Psychology
Author: Ann V. Graber
Wyndham Hall Press, Lima, OH, pp. 6230

An Excerpt from the Foreword:

Ann Graber has written a study that can add a new chapter to our understanding of psychotherapy and its place in Western culture. The story of Sigmund Freud is well known, along with his founding with Alfred Adler of the psychoanalytic movement in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century. What is not so well-known is the role played by another Viennese psychotherapist, Viktor Frankl, whose life spanned almost the entirety of the 20th century. It is true that Frankl is known to many readers from his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, (1959), the gripping story of is survival in Nazi concentration camps. But not equally well known is the school of psychotherapy that he found which was validated by that harrowing experience. In the midst of his overwhelming suffering he had an insight into the creative capacity of the human spirit in time of crisis that Freud and the early members of his psychoanalytic circle had not directly explored.

Freud, who had been trained in the medical world of Vienna, looked into the depths of the psyche of his patients and discovered there a dynamism by which the psyche — with the aid of a guide — could heal itself. In a parallel way, but drawing from a higher level, Frankl, in the midst of excruciating suffering looked deep into the human spirit and discovered there the courage not only to survive, but to live life on a higher spiritual level. It was this experience of awakening to the power and transcendence of the human spirit that has energized Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy movement that Ann Graber describes in this book.

An Excerpt from the Book:

A therapeutic encounter with a disheartened client can be summed up as follows:

A discouraged mother, worn out and overburdened with rearing children, felt she was a total failure. When she was asked to name a worthwhile goal she had achieved at some point in her life, she couldn’t think of anything. It was pointed out to her that she was obviously well educted; she then straightened in her seat and began to tell of her long and difficult road to earn a master’s degree; how slow and arduous and – in retrospect – very meaningful it had been. With that realization, she began to see herself in a different light . . .she had succeeded in fulfilling her cherished dream to educate herself. Hope was kindled that she just might be in the long arduous phase of child rearing right now, and that eventually she would be able to look back with pride and joy, and see this as a time when she responsibly fulfilled a major life task – one day at a time. This realization restored her courage to go on.

The above examples all fit into the category of creativity – giving of oneself. To be creative implies having the courage to act on a creative impulse and bring it responsibly to its fruition. The pursuit of something that is personally meaningful will result in fulfillment, in finding meaning.

Table of Contents:

1. Historical Overview

2. Philosophical Roots of Franklian Theories
Educational and cultural influences
Greek philosophy
Aufklarung (German Enlightenment)

3. Logotherapy and Religion
Franklian nomenclature
Religion and psychology
Frankl’s position on religion
Logotherapy’s compatibility with religion
Ecumenical and cross-cultural appeal of logotherapy
Common problems brought to pastoral caregivers

4. Basic Concepts of Logotherapy
Fundamental tenets of logotheory
Freedom of will
Will to meaning
Meaning of life
Dimensions of human existence
Wholeness Model of integrated dimensions
Help from the noetic dimension
The noetic unconscious
The intuitive conscience
Self transcendence

5. Meaning-Centered Orientation of Logotherapy
Toward a consciousness of responsibility
Meanings and values
Ultimate meaning, meaning of the moment
Demand quality of life
Ways of discovering meaning: the meaning triangle
Reflections on the meaning triangle

6. Primary Methods of Logotherapy
Fundamental assumption: the therapeutic relationship
Summary of logotherapeutic premises
Techniques employed in logotherapy
Paradoxical intention
Socratic dialogue
The dereflection group
Which technique do I use?

7. Examples of Logotherapeutic Interventions
Application of logotherapy in inescapable suffering
The tragic triad: people in despondency
The case of Lucy
The neurotic triad: people in despair
Katies’ despair
Existential vacuum: people in doubt and confusion
The case of Fr. Joseph

8. Of Special Interest to Pastoral Caregivers
Provide comfort where cure is not possible
Existential/phenomenological intervention
The logoanchor technique
Application of the logoanchor technique
Pastoral trauma intervention
A case study on trauma intervention
A word about after-care
Vital elements in logotherapeutic treatment planning
Pitfalls to avoid

9. Relevant Inclusions and Comparisons
American school of psychology
The Psychoanalytic movement in the US.
Behavior therapy and behaviorism
Humanistic-existential psychology
Transpersonal psychology
Other noteworthy comparisons
William James (1842-1910)
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
Relevance of logotherapy in today’s health care climate

10. Conclusion