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Existentialism

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  • 1. i Existentialism Viktor Emil Frankl SUBMITTED TO: MADAM RABIA SUBMITTED BY: NEHL FARHAT ABBASI SAMRAZ HAFEEZ SYED HASSAN ABBAS ZAIDI KHALID KHAN
  • 2. ii Contents 1. SCHOOL OF THOUGHT …………………………………………………………………………………1 1.1. Existentialism ..……………………………………………………………………………………………………..1 2. Life and Works of Victor E Franckl ………………………………………………………………..2 2.1. The Man…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………2 2.2. Awards and Achievements …………………………………………………………………………...3 2.3. The Psychiatrist …………………………………………………………………………………………...4 3. Theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..4 4. Logotherapy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….5 4.1. Assumptions about Logotherapy …………………………………………………………………………5 4.2. Beginning of Logotherapy ……………………………………………………………………………………6 4.3. Main Tents of Logotherapy ………………………………………………………………………………….7 5. Specific Techniques ……………………………………………………………………………………………..8 5.1. Multi chair technique …………………………………………………………………………………………..8 5.2. The existential Vacuum ……………………………………………………………………………………….9 6. Criticism ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….9 7. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10 8. References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10
  • 3. 1 1. SCHOOL OF THOUGHT 1.1. Existentialism A philosophical outlook that stresses the importance of free will, freedom of choice, and personal responsibility. This perspective emphasizes the unique experiences of each individual and the responsibly of each person for their choices and what they make of themselves. • Absolute Individuality and Absolute Freedom The Existentialist conceptions of freedom and value arise from their view of the individual. Since we are all ultimately alone, isolated islands of subjectivity in an objective world, we have absolute freedom over our internal nature, and the source of our value can only be internal. • The Existentialist View of Human Nature Existentialism is defined by the slogan Existence precedes Essence. This means: o We have no predetermined nature or essence that controls what we are, what we do, or what is valuable for us. o We are radically free to act independently of determination by outside influences. o We create our own human nature through these free choices. o We also create our values through these choices. The Existentialist View (We create our own nature.): We are thrown into existence first without a predetermined nature and only later do we construct our nature or essence through our actions. • The under lying concepts of existentialism o Mankind has free will. o Life is a series of choices, creating stress. o Few decisions are without any negative 6 consequences. o Some things are irrational or absurd, without explanation. o If one makes a decision, he or she must follow through. The decisions you make are whom you are, so decide accordingly.
  • 4. 2 2. Life and Works of Victor E Franckl 2.1. The Man Viktor E. Frankl was 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. 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. 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, Man's 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.In 1946 Frankl became executive director of the Viennese neurological health center and kept this position until 1971. 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. Frankl 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. 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
  • 5. 3 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. His hobbies included mountain climbing, and at 67 he obtained his pilot’s license. Frankl holds the Solo Flight Certificate and the Mountain Guide badge of the Alpine Club “Donauland”. Three difficult climbing trails (on the Rax and Peilstein Mountains) were named after him. His less serious interest was his love for ties; he would admire them through a shop window. 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. Viktor Frankl’s life serves as a reminder to all, no matter how difficult the path may be, choosing to give up, before it has had the chance to fly, only holds the human spirit back. 2.2. Awards and Achievements • 1930- Graduated from the University of Vienna Medical School • 1940-42- Director of the Neurological Department of the Rothschild Hospital • 1946-70- Director of the Vienna Neurological Policlinic • 1985- Viktor Emil Frankl, MD, PhD, was a recipient of the Oksar Pfister (Award presented by the American Psychiatric Association.) • He lectured at 209 universities on 5 continents • The American Medical Society, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association officially recognized Logotherapy as a scientifically based school of psychotherapy • Frankl was considered to be one of the last great psychotherapists of this century, after Freud and Adler. • Founder of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis • Dr. Frankl was a visiting Professor at Harvard, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Dallas • The U.S. International University in California installed a special chair for Logotherapy • Recipient of 29 Honorary Doctorates from universities around the world • 151 books have been published about Frankl and his work in 15 different languages • Statue of Responsibility Award – This Award was named in honor of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl. The late Mother Teresa was a recipient of his award
  • 6. 4 2.3. The Psychiatrist 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. At the core of this theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is search for meaning and the work of the logotherapist centers on helping the patient find personal meaning in life, however dismal the circumstances maybe. He is the father of the Logotherapy, an existential analysis. 3. Theory Viktor Frankl’s theory and therapy grew out of his experiences in Nazi death camps. Watching who did and did not survive (given an opportunity to survive!), he concluded that the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had it right: “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost anyhow.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, quoted in 1963, p. 121) He saw that people who had hopes of being reunited with loved ones, or who had projects they felt a need to complete, or who had great faith, tended to have better chances than those who had lost all hope. He called his form of therapy logotherapy, from the Greek word logos, which can mean study, word, spirit, God, or meaning. It is this last sense Frankl focusses on, although the other meanings are never far off. Comparing himself with those other great Viennese psychiatrists, Freud and Adler, he suggested that Freud essentially postulated a will to pleasure as the root of all human motivation, and Adler a will to power. Logotherapy postulates a will to meaning. Frankl also uses the Greek word noös, which means mind or spirit. In traditional psychology, he suggests, we focus on “psychodynamics,” which sees people as trying to reduce psychological tension. Instead, or in addition, Frankl says we should pay attention to noödynamics, wherein tension is necessary for health, at least when it comes to meaning. People desire the tension involved in striving for some worthy goal! Perhaps the original issue with which Frankl was concerned, early in his career as a physician, was the danger of reductionism. Then, as now, medical schools emphasized the idea that all things come down to physiology. Psychology, too, promoted reductionism: Mind could be best understood as a "side effect" of brain mechanisms. The spiritual aspect of human life was (and is) hardly considered worth mentioning at all! Frankl believed that entire generations of doctors and scientists were being indoctrinated into what could only lead to a certain cynicism in the study of human existence. He set it as his goal to balance the physiological view with a spiritual perspective, and saw this as a significant step towards developing more effective treatment. As he said, "...the de-neuroticization of humanity requires a re-humanization of psychotherapy."
  • 7. 5 4. Logotherapy According to Franckl the original term “Logotherapy” is derived from the Greek word, “logos”, which is defined as “meaning”. The word “therapy” deals with the treatment for disorders and maladjustment. Frankl’s concept is based on the premise that our primary motivational force is to find a meaning in our life. 4.1. Assumptions about Logotherapy The assumptions of Franklian Psychotherapy can neither be proved nor disproved with any certainty. This is also true with all psychotherapies. To see if these assumptions make sense in our lives we must assume that they are true. According to experiences of Logotherapist, these assumptions make sense. These assumptions include: • The human being is an entity consisting of body, mind, and spirit The first assumption deals with the body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (noos). According to Frankl, the body and mind are what we have and the spirit is what we are. • Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable Assumption two is “ultimate meaning”. This is difficult to grasp but it is something everyone experiences and it represents an order in a world with laws that go beyond human laws. • People have a will to meaning. The third assumption is seen as our main motivation for living and acting. When we see meaning we are ready for any type of suffering. This is considered to be different than our will to achieve power and pleasure. • People have freedom under all circumstances to activate the will to find meaning. Assumption four is that we are free to activate our will to find meaning and this can be done under any circumstances. This deals with change of attitudes about unavoidable fate. Frankl was able to test the first four assumptions when he was confined in the concentration camps. • Life has a demand quality to which people must respond if decisions are to be meaningful. The fifth assumption, the meaning of the moment, is more practical in daily living than ultimate meaning. Unlike ultimate meaning this meaning can be found and fulfilled. This can be done by following the values of society or by following the voice of our conscience.
  • 8. 6 • The individual is unique The sixth assumption deals with one’s sense of meaning. This is enhanced by the realization that we are irreplaceable. In essence, all humans are unique with an entity of body, mind and spirit. We all go through unique situations and are constantly looking to find meaning. We are free to do these at all times in response to certain demands. 4.2. Beginning of Logotherapy At the age of 14, Frankl wrote a school paper, “We and the World Process”. In this he expressed the idea that there must exist a universal balancing principle. At age 15, he attended night classes in the people’s college even though he was still in high school. He took courses in applied Psychology and experimental Psychology. This course work motivated Frankl to write to Sigmund Freud. After Freud replied, a correspondence developed. During this time Freud accepted Frankl’s article International Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyze, for publication. However, by the time this article was published, Frankl had come under the influence of Alfred Adler and Individual Psychology At the age of 17, Frankl gave a lecture at the people’s college, for a philosophy seminar. His topic was The Meaning of Life. From this lecture he developed two main points for his future theories. The first was that life does not answer our questions about the meaning of life but rather puts those questions to us, leaving it for us to find the answers by deciding what we find meaningful. The second point was that the ultimate meaning of life is beyond the grasp of our intellect, but is something we only can live by, without ever being able to define it cognitively. After the First World War, there were years of great soul-searching in Austria. Existential questions were on everyone’s mind and they all dealt with the meaning of life. It was at this time that Adler established a school of psychology that searched for concepts that would allow individual freedom. This attracted Frankl and the man who had once followed Freud’s theories began to form new concepts. He became a Social Democrat and in 1925 published Internatinale Zeitschrift fuer Individualpsychologie. Frankl became well known and well liked in this group. He soon began to develop ideas that were outside the traditional framework of Adler’s system of thinking. However, even until his death, Frankl felt an attachment to Adler’s Individual Psychology. The main difference in Logotherapy and Individual Psychology are views concerning the meaning of life In the 1930’s, Frankl developed new concepts and coined new terms. The term Logotherapy was first used in 1926 when Frankl presented a lecture at the Academic Society for Medical Psychology. He later used the term Existenzanalyse, (existential analysis) but this was later found to be confused with Binswanger’s Daseinsanalyse and Frankl went back to the term Logotherapy. With the rise of Hitler, Frankl was taken to a concentration camp. Although he was stripped of everything, during this time he managed to write his book Aerztliche
  • 9. 7 Seelsorge, later published in English as The Doctor and the Soul. This book contained the essence of Frankl’s thoughts and theories. Frankl considered this experience a validation of the concepts on which Logotherapy is based. The three tenets of Logotherapy were tested in the camps. After being released from the concentration camps, Frankl became the head of the neurological department at the Poliklinik Hospital in Vienna. This time proved to be important in the development of Logotherapy. Frankl was able to practice and refine the methods of Logotherapy on thousands of patients. During the fifteen years after his release, Frankl continued to write and in the process refine, polish, strengthen and expand Logotherapy. 4.3. Main Tents of Logotherapy At first glance, Viktor Frankl’s philosophy of Logotherapy would seem a rather pessimistic response to a life marred by the horrors of the Holocaust. After reviewing the basic tenets of his philosophy, however, one can see that he firmly believes in the triumph of the human being. His very first tenet speaks volumes of his belief in endurance, but not just for the sake of survival. He believes that all life has meaning, and that meaning should motivate humans to live and discover that meaning. The human spirit is referred to in the third tenet and several of the assumptions of Logotherapy, but it should be noted that the use of the term spirit is not “spiritual” or “religious.” In Frankl’s view, the spirit is the will of the human being. Frankl espoused that the “spirit” or “will” of a person affects the person’s health, capacity for love, imagination, and, yes, religious faith. The emphasis, however, is on the search for meaning, not the search for God nor any other supernatural existential being. Frankl also noted the barriers to humanity’s quest for meaning in life. He warns against “…affluence, hedonism, [and] materialism…” in the search for meaning. The warning is that some may mistake one of the aforementioned as the true meaning of life. Those who have suffered losses due to circumstance, injustice, or man’s seemingly limitless inhumanity to his fellow man, can attest that the search for meaning is not halted by such losses. In some cases, as with Frankl himself, the losses are the very catalysts to reinvigorate the search for meaning. The following list of tenets represents Frankl’s basic beliefs regarding the philosophy of Logotherapy: • Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. • Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. • We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or a least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.
  • 10. 8 5. Specific Techniques Victor Franckl used the following techniques 1. Empty chair techniques 2. Existential vaccume 5.1. Multi chair technique When you go see a therapist, the office will usually have an extra chair--an empty chair. This chair serves an important function. The "Empty Chair" technique is one of the various ways in which Gestalt Therapy can be applied which is developed and popularized by Victor Frankl. Rationale - When the client expresses a conflict with another person, through this technique, the client is directed to talk to that another person who is imagined to be sitting in an empty chair beside or across the client. This helps the client to experience and understand the feeling more fully. Thus, it stimulates your thinking, highlighting your emotions and attitudes. For example, the therapist may say, "Imagine your father in this chair (about 3 feet away), see him vividly, and, now, talk to him about how you felt when he was unfaithful to your mother." There are innumerable other people, objects (your car or wedding ring), parts of your personality (critical parent, natural child, introversion, obsession with work), any of your emotions, symptoms (headaches, fatigue), any aspect of a dream, a stereotype (blacks, macho males, independent women), and so on that you can imagine in the empty chair. The key is a long, detailed, emotional interaction--a conversation. You should shift back and forth between chairs as you also speak for the person-trait- object in the other chair. This "conversation" clarifies your feelings and reactions to the other person and may increase your understanding of the other person. • Outcome o Cognitive change Through this process, client will come to an understanding about how the imaginary person will be thinking about the same issues. He also learns that whether he was projecting any thoughts on the other person. o Behavioral change Client will come out with new behaviors in the supportive environment of the therapy and then they expand their awareness. More than passively accepting the environment, he will start taking stand on a critical issue and making choices that will result in getting what he wants. o Affective change The client feels capable of dealing with surprises he encounters in everyday life.
  • 11. 9 5.2. The existential Vacuum This striving after meaning can, of course, be frustrated, and this frustration can lead to noögenic neurosis, what others might call spiritual or existential neurosis. People today seem more than ever to be experiencing their lives as empty, meaningless, purposeless, aimless, adrift, and so on, and seem to be responding to these experiences with unusual behaviors that hurt themselves, others, society, or all three. One of his favorite metaphors is the existential vacuum. If meaning is what we desire, then meaninglessness is a hole, emptiness, in our lives. Whenever you have a vacuum, of course, things rush in to fill it. Frankl suggests that one of the most conspicuous signs of existential vacuum in our society is boredom. He points out how often people, when they finally have the time to do what they want, don’t seem to want to do anything! People go into a tailspin when they retire; students get drunk every weekend; we submerge ourselves in passive entertainment every evening. The "Sunday neurosis," he calls it. So we attempt to fill our existential vacuums with “stuff” that, because it provides some satisfaction, we hope will provide ultimate satisfaction as well: We might try to fill our lives with pleasure, eating beyond all necessity, having promiscuous sex, living “the high life;” or we might seek power, especially the power represented by monetary success; or we might fill our lives with “busy-ness,” conformity, conventionality; or we might fill the vacuum with anger and hatred and spend our days attempting to destroy what we think is hurting us. We might also fill our lives with certain neurotic “vicious cycles,” such as obsession with germs and cleanliness, or fear-driven obsession with a phobic object. The defining quality of these vicious cycles is that, whatever we do, it is never enough. 6. Criticism Frankl attempts to re-insert religion into psychology, and does so in a particularly subtle and seductive manner. It is difficult to argue with someone who has been through what Frankl has been through, and seen what he has seen. And yet, suffering is no automatic guarantee of truth! By couching religion in the most tolerant and liberal language, he nevertheless is asking us to base our understanding of human existence on faith, on a blind acceptance of the existence of ultimate truth, without evidence other than the "feelings" and intuitions and anecdotes of those who already believe. This is, in fact, a dangerous precedent, and there is much "pop psychology" based on these ideas. The same tendency applies to the quasi-religious theories of Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow. Frankl, like May and others, refers to himself as an existentialist. Many others with religious tendencies do likewise. They have even elevated Kierkegaard to the honorary position of founder of existentialism -- a word Kierkegaard had never heard. And yet faith, which asks one to surrender one's skepticism to a God or other universal principle, is intrinsically at odds with the most basic concepts of existentialism. Religion -- even liberal religion -- always posits essences at the root of human existence. Existentialism does not.
  • 12. 10 7. Conclusion Even if you (like me) are not of a religious inclination, it is difficult to ignore Frankl's message: There exists, beyond instincts and "selfish genes," beyond classical and operant conditioning, beyond the imperatives of biology and culture, a special something, uniquely human, uniquely personal. For much of psychology's history, we have, in the name of science, tried to eliminate the "soul" from our professional vocabularies. But perhaps it is time to follow Frankl's lead and reverse the years of reductionism 8. References [1]. Frankl, V. E. (1963). (I. Lasch, Trans.) Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. New York: Washington Square Press. (Earlier title, 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism. Originally published in 1946 as Ein Psycholog erlebt das Konzentrationslager) [2]. Frankl, V. E. (1967). Psychotherapy and Existentialism: Selected Papers on Logotherapy. New York: Simon and Schuster. [3]. Frankl, V. E. (1973). (R. and C. Winston, Trans.) The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy. New York: Vintage Books. (Originally published in 1946 as Ärztliche Seelsorge.) [4]. Frankl, V. E. (1975). The Unconscious God: Psychotherapy and Theology. New York: Simon and Schuster. (Originally published in 1948 as Der unbewusste Gott. Republished in 1997 as Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning.) [5]. Frankl, V. E. (1996). Viktor Frankl -- Recollections: An Autobiography. (J. and J. Fabray, Trans.) New York: Plenum Publishing. (Originally published in 1995 as Was nicht in meinen Büchern steht.)
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