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Pytell, T. (2007). Extreme Experience, Psychological Insight, and Holocaust Perception: Reflections on Bettelheim and Frankl. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(4):641-657.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(4):641-657

Extreme Experience, Psychological Insight, and Holocaust Perception: Reflections on Bettelheim and Frankl

Timothy Pytell, Ph.D.

This article describes the psychological theories of the Holocaust survivors Bruno Bettelheim and Viktor Frankl. Both Bettelheim and Frankl claimed that their peculiar forms of psychotherapy, in the case of Bettelheim mileau therapy, and Frankl, logotherapy, were based on their survival. However, their radically different forms of psychotherapy, when at least elements of their camp experience was similar, suggests that their psychotherapies were based more upon the worldviews before their interment along with their need to work over the humiliation and profound victimization they experienced in the camps.

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