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Frankl, V.E. (1958). On Logotherapy and Existential Analysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 18(1):28-37.

(1958). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 18(1):28-37

On Logotherapy and Existential Analysis

Viktor E. Frankl, M.D., Ph.D.

L ogotherapy” and “Existential Analysis” are two names designating one and the same thing. The latter name has also been used as an English translation of Binswanger's Daseinsanalyse. However, “Existential anallysis” in this paper stands for Existenzanalyse—a school of thought different from the one originated by Binswanger.

What does existence mean? It means a certain kind of being—the specific manner of being of which man and man alone is capable. It is characterized above all by the ability of this being to transcend himself; that is to say, to emerge spiritually above the level of his own psychic and physical conditions, thus also becoming apt to oppose himself by virtue of what is called in Existential Analysis: psycho-noetic antagonism. This antagonism, as a matter of fact, is a potential one. It can be actualized, if necessary, but does not have to be. Insofar as this being called man is enabled to objectify, and even to oppose himself, he might be called a spiritual being. By contrast, animals are representatives of mere psychophysical being. We will encounter this potential psycho-noetic antagonism again later, when speaking of what we call the therapeutic method of paradoxical intention. This therapeutic device essentially consists in appealing to the patient to change his attitude toward his neurotic symptoms. Emerging oneself spiritually above one's own psychophysical condition might also be called the existential act. By this very act man enters the spiritual dimension of being, nay, he even creates this dimension as a dimension of its own.

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