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Man’s Search for Meaning

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August 28, 2010 Week 2 Exam 2 Man’s Search for Meaning I. Key Concepts Obtained from the Assigned Reading Logotherapy is a technique of therapeutic intervention that is meant to help an individual find their particular meaning in life. He discusses how each person’s meaning is going to be different from another’s and stresses that no therapist can dictate to any person what their particular meaning of life is. He also shared that one’s meaning of life could be different depending on the given moment in time.

It can change as one grows in life. According to Frankl, when a person is blocked from relating with his will to meaning, it can result in great frustration and, in the long run, a mental collapse. Therefore, the role of logotherapy is absolutely important in helping the individual to uncover the obscure meaning of his or her existence and therefore bring back and sustain mental health. A human being’s will to meaning is defined as his or her basic striving to find and fulfill meaning and purpose in life.

Psychotherapy helps a person to cope and adjust to society and the environment around them and does not typically address the meaning of an individual’s life. The existential vacuum is Frankl’s term for humanity’s loss of natural instinct through evolution. Because of this loss of instinct, people are forced to make choices. Often this leads to conformism or the acceptance of totalitarianism in order to avoid making so many choices. Boredom ensues and, according to Frankl, boredom causes more psychological problems than suffering.

When one is in distress, he or she has something to remain focused on. Frankl states that “logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence”. In logotherapy, a person must be willing to take full responsibility for discovering his or her meaning of life. It goes beyond just oneself but extends to other people or perhaps a cause. II. Merits and Demerits of the Assigned Reading I believe that Frankl’s logotherapy is a common sense approach. I believe there are many ways to assist a person in coping with hardship, but to iscover a benefit from hardship should make coping easier. For example, my husband was in combat in Iraq and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I believe that part of his struggle could be making sense of the environment he was in at the time. Perhaps obtaining understanding of the history and culture of the area may help him to understand the dynamics of what happened. Finding reasons helps to find meaning. I support Frankl’s belief that boredom is more detrimental to a person’s mental wellbeing than hardship.

It is common to complain about hard times and hope for a more peaceful existence. However, beyond just a vacation, this is defeating. My purpose cannot be just lying around watching television. I must contribute something also. Although Frankl talked of the creators of the gas chambers as demonstrating the evil side of human nature, I feel he neglected to acknowledge that there are people who truly do not need a meaning in their lives beyond themselves. They could be considered mentally ill, perhaps sociopathic, but they exist. III.

Relevance of the Assigned Reading to My Professional Context As a professional who works with families, I can attest that there is a constant question as to why bad things happen. There are financial hardships, health concerns, as well as the separations that military families endure on a regular basis. Although I certainly cannot practice logotherapy, I could use some of its principals in my work as well as my personal life. I think there should be a focus on learning from hardship rather than self-pity and self-defeating language.

I also think that understanding the phrase, “This too shall pass “is important to moving on and surviving hard times. Listing some of the various hardships and trials I have had over the years, I can see where I have learned from them. Some hardships, those that didn’t end with a tragedy of some type, have actually turned out to be beneficial in the long run. At the time, I would not have seen it as beneficial in the least. I hope to share this observation with families as well as my own children in order for them to reflect as I have.

I think Frankl’s explanation of the existential vacuum assists me. It helps me understand why people often give up when they are expected to make choices. References: Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankl. Beacon Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0807014264 Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning. Sept 22, 1997 v244 n39 p62(1)Publishers Weekly, 244, n39. p. 62(1). Retrieved August 21, 2010, from General OneFile via Gale: http://find. galegroup. com/gtx/start. do? prodId=ITOF;userGroupName=klnb_southwest Cubbage, B. (March 22, 1985). Frankl's 80-year search for meaning.

National Catholic Reporter, 21, p. 18(1). Retrieved August 21, 2010, from General OneFile via Gale: http://find. galegroup. com/gtx/start. do? prodId=ITOF&userGroupName=klnb_southwest Josephine Rossi. (2005, August). Training for a Meaning. T + D, 59(8), 20-23. Retrieved August 21, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 878237051). Mariotti, J. (Oct 19, 1998). Management's search for meaning. Industry Week, p. 154(1). Retrieved August 21, 2010, from General OneFile via Gale: http://find. galegroup. com/gtx/start. do? prodId=ITOF;userGroupName=klnb_southwest

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