Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy

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9780671244224: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy

Few books in recent decades have had the continuing impact of Dr. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning -- the classic best seller now considered to be one of the most important contributions to psychiatry since the writing of Freud. In it, Dr. Frankl gives a moving account of his life amid the horrors of the Nazi death camps, chronicling the harrowing experience that led to his discovery of his theory of logotherapy. A profound revelation born out of Dr. Frankl's years as a prisoner in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, logotherapy is a modern and positive approach to the mentally or spiritually disturbed personality. Stressing man's freedom to transcend suffering and find a meaning to his life regardless of his circumstances, it is a theory which, since its conception, has exercised a tremendous influence upon the entire field of psychiatry and psychology. Here, Dr. Frankl not only describes the genesis and development of logotherapy but also explains its basic concepts, and in this revised and enlarged edition, has included a new chapter, entitled "The Case for a Tragic Optimism," in which he updates theoretical conclusions of the book. The result is an invaluable work by one of the world's preeminent psychiatrists.

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Review:

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl's imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. The second part of the book, called "Logotherapy in a Nutshell," describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book. At times, Frankl's personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power. "Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is," Frankl writes. "After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips."

From the Back Cover:

Internationally renowned psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of, his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his search for meaning.

Cited in Dr. Frankl's New York Times obituary in 1997 as "an enduring work of survival literature," Man's Search for Meaning is more than the story of Viktor E. Frankl's triumph: it is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and "an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day" (Gordon W. Allport).

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