Friday, June 08, 2012

Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy Revisited - LOGOTHERAPY FOR FULFILLMENT

According to the saintly Viktor Frankl -- consistent fulfillment for normal persons comes only by nurturing the physical, psychological and philosophical aspects of existence. Because we homosapien creature-selves are first and foremost spiritual beings who crave meaning over almost everything else once our basic needs are met, anything less will leave a person immature, wounded and dissatisfied with life. Logotherapy is the name Viktor gave the soul health system of personal meaning he devised for his own salvation while enduring almost three years in the ante-room of Hell at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. We have found no reason to rename his approach although we have seen enough societal changes since his mid 20th century books appeared to add the benefits of communal belonging among good women and men and to use the term spirit wellness in our own books. These include NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST, LOVERS FOR LIFE, GRACE UNDER PRESSURE, THE PASTOR’S HANDBOOK, THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LEADERSHIP and the entire graduate school curriculum we offer. 


Our golden Maslowvian logo appears above while our behavioral equation is shown below.

LOGOTHERAPY (Spirit Wellness) = f (Personal Meaning x Communal Belonging)

Viktor has passed away but we believe he would approve of our continuing development of Logotherapy. After all -- as he said regarding his relationship with Sigmund Freud in Vienna --

Sometimes a dwarf riding on a giant’s shoulders can see further down the trail than the giant can.

The first stirrings of the concepts and practices that later became world class Logotherapy which we of the DeVille Logotherapy Learning Center also think of as Spirit Wellness -- occurred in the fertile mind of a precocious Viennese teen age boy who grew up within walking distance of Sigmund Freud’s home office. Viktor Emil Frankl came of age between the two greatest tragedies of the psychopathic twentieth century world, the two World Wars with up to a hundred million casualties of wounded and slain men, women and children, the collapse of three great empires and a ravaging financial collapse that took ten miserable years for a recovery. Viktor was the well loved son of a civil servant father in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a very bright mother in a physically, emotionally and spiritually comfortable Jewish family. And although Freud’s constructs were spreading over the civilized world -- influencing the human sciences so completely that it took us a hundred years to discover his mistakes, young Viktor boldly wrote Freud a letter questioning the lack of personal meaning and human spirituality in his psychoanalytic concepts. Then Freud, at the peak of his vast powers, rather than crumpling Viktor’s letter into his waste basket, answered with a letter of his own, suggesting that the boy might like to correspond with him from time to time because he found his ideas interesting. The concept of a teen age boy having Sigmund Freud as a pen--pal boggles the mind but it is indicative of whom Viktor Frankl was already becoming as we discovered when we were lecturing on the same campus, Professor DeVille was first of all being tutored by Viktor personally and then they flew aerobatics together in his sport aircraft in the mid sixties.

After his university years, medical school, marriage and a psychiatric residency -- the Frankl family was swept away by German and Austrian Nazis during the Holocaust when six million Jews were butchered in the German Gulag of death camps. One Frankl daughter had fled to Argentine and so survived while a strong and sturdy Viktor who remained in Austria to protect his elderly parents. He was in deep distress between fleeing to freedom and remaining in Vienna to care for his elderly parents. His dilemma was resolved when he found a spiritual sign. It was piece of a plaque from his family’s synagogue that had been burned by the Nazis. It had the commandment that made up his mind -- he stayed on to do what he could for his parents.who

Honor your father and mother that your days may be long on the earth,

The entire family was murdered except for the strong young psychiatrist was spared to labor on railway track repair crews for the trains arriving daily with boxcars stuffed with countless European Jewish men, women and children. These were the death trains for which Adolph Eichman was to be executed by the Israeli Government some years later for coordinating the loading and transported of millions of victims. For almost three years Viktor labored long and hard -- never knowing from day to day when his number would come up and he would be sent to the Auschwitz gas chambers that killed and furnaces that processed twenty thousand victims every week. Always pragmatic, the Germans thriftily sold the victims’ hair like straw to stuff mattresses for the German Army and saved their rendered body fat for making soap and sent the gold melted from their teeth to Swiss jewelers. We can hardly imagine the horror of life and death in the murder camps but against all odds Viktor not only survived the ordeal with his spirit intact, he also found personal meaning despite the misery by setting up an evening medical and counseling corner to serve the sick and fearful in his barrack building. In that gateway of death, against all odds, he learned that there were ultimately two kinds of humans -- those narcissistic souls who identified with the evil aggressors and used hatred and violence in an attempt to survive at the expense of their fellow prisoners. Then there were the peacemakers who clung to their spiritual ideals to the best of their ability when starving and being treated as if beasts. Then, to his surprise, Viktor discovered that the peacemakers were far more likely to survive than the aggressive narcissists. Of course, every victim was stripped bare to his or her basic soul -- forcing his true character to emerge -- and thus Viktor also met the ultimate test. He mentally composed his first book THE DOCTOR AND THE SOUL in the doorway of Hell, where all his dross was burned away until only the pure gold of a saintly character remained. And once liberated by American troops, this survivor of the Holocaust returned to Vienna, regained his strength, forgave his tormentors rather than brooding on the past and in a decade or so this brilliant man became the successor to Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler in the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. He also served as the President of the Austrian Medical Society for Psychiatry, a full professor at the Viennese University, the Chairman of the great Vienna Polyklinic Hospital and eventually the author of enough Logotherapy books to empower tens of millions of readers in thirty four languages. He wrote THE DOCTOR AND THE SOUL, THE UNCONSCIOUS GOD and especially MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING that the United States Library of Congress rated as one of the ten most influential volumes ever published. Since Guttenberg! And when the scriptures of the various religions are removed from the list because they are required reading for so many worshippers, MAN’S SEARCH becomes one of the five most valuable books of all time. This is why we require reading it as the first collateral volume for every student that studies within our Logotherapy Learning Center. In essence, the Library of Congress was saying that Franklian Logotherapy is more valuable to individuals and to society than Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis, Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology, Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis and B F Skinner’s Behaviorism although it was written for normally frustrated rather than for deeply disturbed souls. There was only one Viktor Frankl but it is impossible to imagine what the six million victims would have contributed to the world had they not been snuffed out of existence by the monsters of the German speaking coalition in the abominable Third Reich. It was surely a case where the lunatics were running their own asylum.

Of course, one the best things about Logotherapy is the fact that it offers spirit wellness or soul health wisdom for normal men and women who haven’t a hint of mental illness complicating their lives. Of course we do not see normality as the narrow white line down the middle of the highway but the entire highway of sound human interactions. Nevertheless, life is seldom a rose garden for humans. At the very best our beloved parents and elderly relatives sicken and die before our very eyes and give us a preview into our own ultimate end. We all must cope with the tragic human quartet of suffering, guilt, rage and the death dread. Some years ago a sample of graduates from schools as divergent as Harvard, Southern Methodist, Washington State and Idaho State -- twenty years after graduation, reported that their lives were far less satisfying than they had expected them to become. Many responders couldn’t point to the collapse of a marriage, the addiction or death of a child or a parent or a financial disaster as they lived the good life of the upper middle class. They felt that life was passing them by as did seventy-eight percent of Americans surveyed as recently as the 2008 recession.

This discontent or life style frustration isn’t mental illness at all -- but what Freud called the common Discontents of Civilization, that Frankl considered Existential Frustration and we DeVilles think of as Spirit Bankruptcy. This unhappiness even among the most successful people is often caused by the too secular manner in which we humans who have vital spiritual needs love, labor and lead others. In this case it became obvious during one of our FRONTIERS OF FULFILLMENT seminars -- for the Affiliated Women’s’ Clubs of Arizona at the University of Arizona in Tucson. We have paraphrased Catherine Hendricks who spoke to us as one of many frustrated and consistently unhappy souls. She said --

I’m one woman who did everything well. I stayed out of trouble in school, married the right guy and joined a great company when it started taking women seriously. I’ve made sound business decisions along the way and shall surely become a VP before I’m forty. I live in a home my parents think a mansion and have two beautiful children. I do a job thousands envy. Obviously, I have everything. Right? Wrong! Much of my life feels incomplete and caught up in trivia. My kids are rebelling with sex and drugs and I’m almost certain my husband is having an affair with a little twerp. I feel deeply dissatisfied at the most inopportune times, as if nothing counts except for my sixty hour work weeks and paying for the house and the Mercedes. There must be more to life than this but when my therapist asks what‘s missing, I can’t even tell her. I worry that I’m going mad to feel this way despite my accomplishments in my company and my prestige in the community. What do I do when I’ve won everything I’ve ever wanted and it isn’t enough to keep me happy?
What indeed?

We see four common symptoms occurring within Existential Frustration or Spirit Bankruptcy. They are:

OPPORTUNISM -- Being too pragmatic -- living haphazardly without a valid life plan.
CONFORMISM -- Being too flexible -- joining the in --- crowd, even when it is wrong.

FATALISM -- Being too easily defeated -- content with gaining the low hanging fruit of life.

FANATICISM -- Being too narcissistic -- denying to others the benefits you expect for yourself.

Fortunately, all four symptoms can be resolved with the applied knowledge and wisdom of Logotherapy found in Viktor’s book MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING and our own YOUR SEARCH FOR A MEANINGFUL LIFE - Click the link to download

Next -- a well regulated life as we teach and Catherine and her husband learned to their lasting satisfaction -- includes these spirit wellness elements.

SPIRITUAL VALUES -- Serving life wisely with ethical virtues.

POSITIVE ATTITUDES -- Making it easy for others to mature.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS -- Finding the best ways to contribute together.

MATURING BELIEFS -- Living within the realities of scientific knowledge.

RESPONSIBLE CHOICES -- Doing due diligence before deciding to act.

We the authors neither conduct psychotherapy nor do we recommend the use of psychotropic drugs for creating positive mood changes. We rely instead on the innate resilience of normal persons to make life deeply rewarding through sound soul health. Therefore, we have learned that by adopting Viktor’s brilliant concepts and methods -- by combining his great work about personal meaning with our insights into communal belonging -- we can sometimes see somewhat further along the path toward fulfillment than many behavioral scholars and orthodox practitioners. But then, we should, because rather than dealing with mental ailments per se, we focus on finding life-style solutions for men and women who learn to cope with life’s consistent discontents. No person can continually glide smoothly through a life that is almost inevitably disrupted with times of suffering, rage, guilt and the death dread from the tragic quartet of life. Only psychopaths go through life without some emotional and spiritual suffering. Fortunately, Logotherapy offers ordinary persons several superb methods for maintaining your personal meaning in a satisfying community among good people with whom you share life‘s many satisfactions.
Another Logotherapy equation looks like this multiplication process.

SPIRIT WELLNESS (Logotherapy) = f (Existential Psychology x Metaphysical Philosophy)

Both of our behavioral equations support the clear message that a consistently purposeful life-style always includes some degree of personal meaning as multiplied by communal belonging among decent persons with whom we share love, labor and leadership. Personal Meaning comes out of existential or life-style psychology while Communal Belonging emerges largely from meta--physical or cosmic philosophy. When Professor Frankl and Professor DeVille were lecturing on the same campus, Viktor graciously tutored Jard in Logotherapy. And Jard instructed newly rated private pilot Frankl in survival aerobatics in his sport aircraft -- in order to avoid dangerous situations and to maneuver out of unexpected in-flight emergencies. As Frankl taught so well: Personal love, labor and leadership -- at the very heart of human life, can indeed be filled with purposeful values, attitudes, expectations, beliefs and choices -- once we understand the true meaning of meaning.

Of course, there is no one great MEANING OF LIFE written in letters of fire across the heavens -- valid for all persons at all times and in all places as taught by a bearded guru on a mountain top. Our personal sense of purpose is always subjective and usually complex -- but our lives can indeed become deeply significant and consistently satisfying when we live wisely and well with sound psychospiritual values and choices. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Arizona tapped into this human need very well with his best selling book -- THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. Good events can occur, can be made to happen -- despite the fact that a great many psychologically normal Americans and Europeans report that a largely secular or materialistic life style has become frustrating and pointless for multitudes when their need for personal spirituality is neglected. Each person must find or create his or her own source of meaning despite the widespread frustration currently sweeping through our secular world. In other words -- to consistently prosper spiritually, we can succeed best by graciously sharing our benefits with those persons and the society that enables us to win them.


Our Maslowvian type pyramid -- the golden DeVille Logotherapy Learning Center logo, reveals the physical, psychological and philosophical movement of a meaningful existence despite the many conflicts within every commercial society. Literally millions of women and men agreed with the United States Library of Congress that Viktor’s soul health approach is so potent because we humans are all programmed emotionally to mature upward through each aspect of life. It is when something goes wrong in our lives that we fail to mature as we could have and should have grown to maturity.

We often find ourselves struggling to create consistent sources of purpose and significance without compromising our souls because we must cope with good and evil -- with right and wrong at almost every step of life‘s journey. The very perceptive Richard Gist who is a retired United Methodist minister, recently wrote a thoughtful article for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper, in order to educate the frustrated and discontented persons who use religious concepts to deny personal freedom to many in a variety of issues such as birth control, gay marriage and generous policies for the people with whom they disagree. The retired pastor said -- and we paraphrase him within our parentheses.

It’s basic to the spiritual journey we all make (from the cradle to the grave) to realize that we all react often to a secret world of our own invention (Sigmund Freud called this trait the unconscious aspect of our human minds) both within ourselves and beyond ourselves in the real world. As long as we do this (benefit too much from our own subjective and self-serving choices at the expense of others) we are ensnared by our own distorted imagination and prejudices (our inevitable pain, rage, guilt and the dread of death). And who of us has escaped this our self-created trap (of narcissistic subjectivity (that judges the worth of all humanity by our own ego defensive values, attitudes and beliefs)?

It may be some degree of stupidity that makes the poverty stricken wife and child beater good old boy in a rusty roofed shack on the flood plain of a creek place a Vote Republican sign in his yard. It would certainly more intelligent to elect politicians who don’t automatically and always work in favor of the one percent who do everything they can to keep wages low and prices exorbitant. But it is also the unconscious workings of a wounded mind that is deeply fearful of
and enraged by recent racial and gender and financial benefits that make him very vulnerable to clever manipulators like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. He lives in a cruel world filled with the tragic quartet of suffering, guilt, rage and looming death, Recent research reveals that at least forty percent of American voters will reject a second term for President Obama simply because he is a black man -- regardless of how cleverly the racial resentment is rationalized. For a century the dirt poor rural and inner city Whites could console themselves by devaluing and abusing the even poorer Blacks with state supported terror. For a century thousands of Black Americans were lynched by angry mobs of White men. And now research from the University of Alabama reveals that most of such murders occurred during long spells of very hot weather or low cotton prices when frustrations were running high. Virtually every southern politician who faced a strong opponent played the race card -- would try to sink the challenger as pandering to Blacks -- who if given the vote would steal their white jobs at the sawmill, ravish their wives and daughters and spread their sexual diseases through the community. But when that consolation of apparent racial and gender superiority was lost to the rural whites and President Johnson predicted that the passage of civil and gender rights laws would turn the South against the Democrats for a generation -- he was too optimistic. The passage of such legislation lost the rural vote for progressives forever. The fear and resentment spread from the Gulf South into Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas, into Wyoming and Montana and even into distant Idaho where with few Negroes to fear and hate -- there were always the even poorer reservation Indians. The human mind’s ability to justify its greed and cruelty is virtually unlimited. Or what was Freud’s fixation on our unconscious all about?

Logotherapy virtually always captivates the interest of persons who meet it with even a modicum of self-awareness. When we did Logotherapy Leadership programs for the University of Arizona at Tucson -- a thousand or so hard nosed middle managers during an eight year period, rated them at a hither to unseen 3.68 on a four point scale. And when we did a Logotherapy program for the MENTAL HEALTH SOCIETY of INDIANA -- so many people lined up to get copies of our NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST, that the manager of the facility threatened to turn off the lights so his employees could go home before midnight. We very busy persons may not often talk about meaning per se -- certainly not at work -- but making one’s life count for something significant is an area of importance to almost every reasonably normal person who becomes aware of Logotherapy’s benefits. By way of example, Professor DeVille had just completed a Logotherapy Leadership program for a mid-size power tool manufacturing company when a manager stopped by his table and perused our FRONTIERS OF FULFILLMENT course book. Sharon Johnson examined the table of contents and pensively said ---

Given my all too hectic life of doing my job here, relating with my husband and children, caring for my home, serving the church and doing a little something for society -- I wish you had spoken on this topic.
Here are the major principles of Franklian/DeVille Logotherapy --
1. Our most satisfying satisfaction comes from our experiencing a consistent sense of purpose in sound relationships with good persons where we belong.

2. Every psychospiritually maturing person can develop a personally significant life-style during the most rewarding and the most difficult of times.

3. Liberated souls have enough maturing wisdom to find a sense of meaning among the good people with whom we share love in joyful situations.

4. A sense of meaning and satisfaction virtually always occurs as the result of some legitimate activity we complete or a loving relationship we establish.

Franklian Logotherapists generally hold the following assumptions in the real world of working and playing loving and learning and worshiping and persevering constructs that form the second half of our primer -- YOUR SEARCH FOR A MEANINGFUL LIFE.

1. All normal persons have a persisting desire to win spiritually meaningful satisfaction although we usually must discover or even create a sound sense of purpose for ourselves. 
This first assumption is that our search for meaning is a major spiritual factor in our attitudes and activities. Living purposefully is much more important for normal persons than grubbing endlessly for possessions, prestige, pleasure and power. When we live with a sense of meaning in our activities and attitudes, we can persevere through life’s bad days as well as enjoying the most satisfying of times.

2. Our second Logotherapy assumption is that each person is a subjective soul who weaves body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (logos) together. Our bodies and minds supply the pragmatic aspects of existence while our souls are what we become in the Cosmic scheme of love, labor and leadership.

3. Life can become meaningful under all circumstances – during the most benevolent of times and also through the most unfortunate. This third assumption is about cosmic reality. This is something mystical all persons experience consistently when we identify with the Cosmos and embrace life and love with a psychospiritual mind-set.

4. A spiritual life has some valid requirements which all persons must fulfill if our choices are to be meaningful. This fourth assumption is that existential meaning focuses our normal life-style choices. When embedded in ultimate meaning – or cosmic reality, this working meaning of life can be expressed pragmatically. This is done by projecting the verities of faith, hope and love into society through our ethical virtues and responsible choices and by following the sound promptings of an awakened conscience.

5. Women and men normally maintain their search for psychospiritual meaning through their entire lives. Assumption five is that we are all free enough to focus our need for meaning among good people and that this can be done under any and all circumstances. It includes a victory of spiritual values, positive attitudes and high expectations despite any and all painful events. Jesus, the finest Logotherapy or life-style counselor demonstrated this when he courageously faced suffering and an ignominious death because the truth of his ministry angered the religious and political establishments of his day.
6. Each individual is a unique soul consisting of his or her own physical, psychological and philosophical values, attitudes, expectations, beliefs and choices. While we speak of these three traits individually because we cannot write about all of them at once -- in each person’s life they are as inextricably linked together as the ingredients of a cake after it is baked.

You will learn many of life's secrets download  YOUR SEARCH FOR A MEANINGFUL LIFE.
1947 -- Journalism - San Bernardino Community College
1954 (A B) - Religion/History/Writing -- Pasadena College
1963 (M Ed) - Education/Educ. Psych -- U. of Cincinnati
1967 Curriculum Development -- University Of Illinois
1969 Academic Administration -- University Of Wisconsin
1977 (Ph D) Existential Psychology -- Calif. Western University
Currently -- Logotherapy Research, Teaching and Extensive Authorship

Military Airman -- U S Army Air Forces -- Pacific And Asia.
Minister And Counselor -- Western Hills Church, Cincinnati.
Psychology Professor / Student Counselor -- Illinois Olivet College.
Psychology Professor / Psych. Dept. Chair -- Utah Westminster College.
Director -- The Learning Disabilities Clinic Conjoined With U. of Wisconsin
Adjunct Lecturer -- Leadership Logotherapy University of Arizona -- Tucson
Author / Leadership Consultant (International -- 20 hard copy and E-books
Founding Director -- On Line Grad School

A far more complete resume of Professor Jard DeVille’s contributions can be seen by entering his name on Google or by downloading his major gratis book