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De La Vega, G. (1952). Revista Psiquis. I, No. 3, 1951. Mexico, D. F., Mexcio: New Trends in Psychotherapy. Federico Pascual del Roncal.. Psychoanal Q., 21:595-596.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revista Psiquis. I, No. 3, 1951. Mexico, D. F., Mexcio: New Trends in Psychotherapy. Federico Pascual del Roncal.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:595-596

Revista Psiquis. I, No. 3, 1951. Mexico, D. F., Mexcio: New Trends in Psychotherapy. Federico Pascual del Roncal.

Gabriel De La Vega

In this paper the Mexican psychiatrist Roncal describes the ideas of V. E. Frankl about 'existential analysis' and 'logotherapy'. Before he describes these new theories of psychotherapy he attempts to define psychotherapy, but he believes that the only point of view about it which can be stated unequivocally is that any psychotherapeutic method and its theory is of necessity one and the same thing. '… the conception of the human personality and the psychotherapeutic method are, underneath, the same thing. The method is the application of the theory, the theory the justification of the method which has been, on the other hand, confirmed by the historical evolution of the different doctrines.'

He is aware of the dangers involved when those countries in which psychotherapeutic techniques were not part of historical medical practice are saturated with an outpouring of the latest books (translated). He gives as an example the translation into Spanish for Mexican consumption of Szondi's latest book, which should have been preceded by Szondi's earlier publications to enable the reader to understand the scientific basis of his test. To this danger there is added the belief still present, even among physicians, that psychology and psychotherapy should be left to the philosopher or the father confessor. The Malleus Maleficarum was the textbook of theologicians of the sixteenth century and the remnants of its medieval attitudes exist today in those physicians who think neuroses are the domain of religious ministry.

This introduction is followed by a brief and all too compact summary of the theories of Freud, Adler, and Jung, which are discussed together with

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the philosophical ideas of Klages, Heidegger, and Hartumann. Finally, before he describes Frankl's ideas, Roncal warns of the pitfalls of a too rapid expansion and vulgarization of any new psychotherapeutic theories in our present age.

In a little more than five years Frankl has published several books. His first book, Der unbedingte Mensch (The Absolute Man), deals with the responsibility of man to himself. The conscience of the 'dasein Mensch' the antithesis of 'man-and-its-essence', is the source of neurotic conflicts. The following book, Die Existenzanalyse und die Probleme der Zeit (The Existence Analysis and the Problems of Our Age), deals with the application of those principles to the conflicts that modern man has to face willy-nilly. In Die Psychotherapie in der Praxis, the successful application of logotherapy to actual cases is described. Zeit und Verantwortung (Time and Responsibility) is a book dealing with the responsibility of man in the face of the dangers and the great conflicts of this age. In Der unbewusste Gott (The Unconscious God) there is an attempt to show the unconscious in the existential sense, or 'if we prefer, the spirit as something that is beyond psyche or soma'. In his last book, Ärztliche Seelsorge (Medical Cures of the Soul), all his ideas are grouped to make them easily accessible to people in general.

Roncal stresses the Hegelian principle in Frankl's theories, namely that 'will' is the most important aspect of the individual psyche—'will' which is '… developed through reasoning' (logotherapy) without any deep unconscious dynamic explanations. Frankl does not explain clearly what he means by spirit without psyche. 'His ideas although derived from Hegel, had as forerunner the systematic expositions made by Kierkegaard …'; and from the Danish philosopher there are, in turn, two branches: the Christian one represented by Marcel, and the layman's, by Heidegger. The most popular of the existentialists, 'if not the most scientific', is Sartre.

In the final part of his article, Roncal illustrates how futile it is for the psychotherapist to stress any single aspect of human beings. 'To summarize, logotherapy may be an adequate form of psychotherapy when the need is to make the patient "fit", or to readjust him to his environment, but neurotics require a deeper therapy which will have to consider especially the unconscious dynamism of all the symptoms.'

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Article Citation

De La Vega, G. (1952). Revista Psiquis. I, No. 3, 1951. Mexico, D. F., Mexcio. Psychoanal. Q., 21:595-596

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