Critical Health News

Meaning and Well-Being

Victor Frankl

Dr. Victor Frankl was a powerful man. Not muscle and brawn powerful, but psychologically powerful. Frankel was an Austrian psychiatrist who spent 1944 in Nazi concentration camps, where, in addition to suffering the daily torture and slave labor, he was forced to experience the deaths of his mother, brother and wife.

Out of the tragedy of Dr. Frankl’s heart rending story came "Man's Search for Meaning" his most popular book, a tribute to hope and possibility in the direst of circumstances and one that describes his experience in Auschwitz and Dachau as well as the development of a healing modality called “Logotherapy”. Derived from “logos” the Greek word for “plan”, or more loosely “that which gives reason for being”, Logotherapy, as defined by Frankl, can be thought of as an emotionally resilient way of living that “aims to unlock the will-to-meaning of life”.

What Frankl noticed during his time enduring some of the most inhumane conditions in the history of man was that those around him who did not lose their sense of purpose and meaning in life were able to survive much longer than those who did. Frankl was so impressed by the survival benefits of “meaning”, that he devoted the rest of his life to using it therapeutically to improve the quality of life of his patients.

Logotherapy posits three basic assumptions: 

1. No matter what is occurring, all the circumstances of life have meaning.
2. People have a will, an inner drive, to find that meaning.
3. People have freedom to find meaning in the circumstances of life, as disquieting as they may be.

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