70 years ago, in April 1945, Austrian Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl emerged from the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. He had survived four camps, including Auschwitz. His parents, brother and wife were all killed.
Yet the end of the camps marked an extraordinary new beginning for Frankl. In Spring 1946, he published his seminal book drawing on the camp experience and his own struggle for survival, Man’s Search for Meaning. A classic that has sold over 12 million copies, it argues that even in the most painful and dehumanizing situations, life has potential meaning – and it is up to the individual to find it.
From this starting point, Frankl developed a new school of psychotherapy, known as logotherapy, based on the idea that meaning (rather than pleasure or power) is the most powerful force that drives us.
In this programme, Mark Dowd explores whether Frankl’s teachings have stood to test of time, even in a world which is so often driven by the quest for money, power and instant fame. His guests are:
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of the New North London synagogue;
The Venerable Dr Justine Allain Chapman, Archdeacon of Boston in the Diocese of Lincoln; and
Francesca Giraldo, a Mental Health social worker from Dublin who is studying to become a logotherapist and existential analyst.
We are grateful to the Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna for their kind permission to use the archive of Viktor Frankl which you can hear in this programme. © Viktor Frankl Institut