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Pytell, T. (2004). When Life Calls Out to Us: The Love and Lifework of Viktor and Elly Frankl. By Haddon Klingberg, Jr. New York: Doubleday. 2001, 368 pp. andViktor Frankl: Ein Portraat. By Alfried Laingle. Munchen: Piper. 2001, 335 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 91(2):289-296.
    

(2004). Psychoanalytic Review, 91(2):289-296

Books

When Life Calls Out to Us: The Love and Lifework of Viktor and Elly Frankl. By Haddon Klingberg, Jr. New York: Doubleday. 2001, 368 pp. andViktor Frankl: Ein Portraat. By Alfried Laingle. Munchen: Piper. 2001, 335 pp.

Review by:
Timothy Pytell, Ph.D.

Viktor Frank! (1905-1997) was known worldwide as the founder of logotherapy and a survivor of Auschwitz. His most famous book Man's Search for Meaning (1984) has been translated into thirty languages and remains one of the most widely read testimonies on Holocaust survival. Logotherapy, which is premised on helping a patient find the unique meaning of his/her life, has inspired millions. Overlooked or rejected by mainstream psychologists and psychoanalysts, Frankl's work still has a strong following amongst pastoral psychologists and ministers.

Since his death, two biographies of Frankl have appeared. In Vienna, Frankl's disciple Alfred Langle published Viktor Frankl Ein Portrat in 1998. Langle, the head of the International Society for Logotherapy and Existential analysis, was Frankl's right hand man from 1982 until 1991. In 1991 Frankl severed ties with Laangle over the latter's psycho-therapeutic revisions that incorporated elements of depth psychology, personal introspection and biography. These revisions ran counter to logotherapy's focus on the future and Frankl designated them “anti-logo-therapeutic” (p. 280). Despite this rejection, Langle remains very sympathetic toward Frankl. This is not surprising since Laangle conceived of Frankl as a “fatherly friend” during their association, and Frankl apparently claimed that Laangle was one of only two friends he had had in his life and the “one who knew him best” (p. 171). This friendship allows Laangle to rely on personal stories and anecdotes, along with an extended version of Frankl's autobiography that Frankl had entrusted to him, to paint a glowing portrait.

The second biographer, the American psychologist Haddon Klingberg, Jr., is a professor of psychology at North Park University in Chicago. Klingberg originally studied with Viktor Frankl in Vienna in 1962. Although they had little to no contact over the years, Frankl chose Klingberg in the early 1990's to become his official biographer.

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