When Frankl states that “if one cannot change a situation that causes his suffering, he can still choose his attitude”? what he means is that our attitudes and perspectives are always under our control. Even the most tortuous of suffering can be made less painful by altering the way we look and experience it. This alteration could come in the form of learning to detach our mortal body from the everlasting soul carried by it. The alteration can also come about through trained change in our consciousness. For example, certain Buddhist meditative practices were shown to alter neuronal pathways and cerebral activity patterns. Although Frankl’s book precedes the publication of this research, the latter nevertheless validates his theory.
The veracity of Frankl’s theories pertaining to logo therapy is today testified by psychotherapists. Modern mental health workers help their clients identify ‘meaning’ in their lives. This ‘meaning’, which is always accessible to us in each moment of our existence is usually lost due to preconditioned thought patterns. Modern mental health workers integrate Frankl’s key insights into their therapeutic approach. (Dattilio, 2003, p.140)For example, the main focus of psychological counselling currently is a list of five key areas. These are: “(I) self discovery; (2) choice; (3) uniqueness; (4) responsibility; and (5) self transcendence” (Barnes, 2000) The basic principles of Frankl’s logotherapy help practitioners to “not only with filling needs, but also in fulfilling longings which are an outreach of the human spirit in the direction of meanings, goals and purposes. In the biological dimension, humans are almost completely determined. In the psychological, quite manipulable. In the spiritual, humans are free and responsible to take a stand.” (Barnes, 2000)
In sum, Man’s Search For Meaning is full of insight and profound understanding of human psychology. Not only is it most useful for therapists, but it serves as a guidance for even the lay reader. A careful study of the book and an introspection of one’s own action and motivation will validate the concepts presented by Victor Frankl.
- Barnes, R. C. (2000). Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy: Spirituality and Meaning in the New Millennium.TCA Journal, 28(1), 24+.
- Dattilio, F. M. (2003). When Life Calls out to Us: The Love and Lifework of Viktor and Elly Frankl.American Journal of Psychotherapy, 57(1), 140+.
- Viktor Emil Frankl (1 June 2006).Man’s Search for Meaning. Beacon Press.
- Huso, D. (2011, May). Doctor for the Soul: After Surviving the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl Brought the Soul Back into Western Medicine.Success, 60+.
- Lowen, J. (2000, Winter). Viktor Frankl, the Champion of Humanness.Free Inquiry, 21(1), 55.