From concentration camp to logotherapy
During his three-year stay in the concentration camp (1942-1945), Frankl was not a psychiatrist, medical doctor, or head of the neurology department, but a prisoner and inmate with the number 119,104. In miserable conditions of the concentration camp, he learned that there are only two races of men in this world, good and bad. There he discovered the importance of having ideals and reasons for life and came to confirm his scientific theses that even in the darkest moments of existence it is possible to survive and save a part of mental freedom that no one can take away, especially when the meaning of one’s existence is revealed by freedom. That is why he writes that for the one who in life has the answer to the question “why”, it creates no problem to answer the question “how”.
Frankl translated the theory and his rich life experience into his numerous works. He is the author of about forty books that by 2017 have been translated into forty-nine languages.
After the end of the war, he became director of the Vienna Neurological Policlinic in 1946, a position he would hold for 25 years.
He soon published the book ” The Doctor and the Soul” (“Ärztliche Seelsorge”), with which he achieved a habilitation at the University. Shortly afterwards, for several consecutive days, he dictated the content of the book “Ein Psycholog erlebt das Konzentrationslager”. The book was immediately translated into English under the title “Man’s Search for Meaning” and sold 9 million copies in America. According to a survey conducted by the by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club it is considered one of the ten most influential books in America (New York Times, November 1991).
In 1947 Frankl published a very interesting work, “Die Psychotherapie in der Praxis. Eine kasuistische Einführung für Ärzte“ (“Psychotherapy in practice. A casuistic introduction for physicians“), enriched with clinical examples and cases.
In 1948 he obtained a habilitation in neurology and psychiatry and a doctorate in philosophy with the dissertation “Der unbewußte Gott. Psychotherapie und Religion” (“The Unconscious God: Psychotherapy and Theology”).
He created the Austrian Medical Society for Psychotherapy and became its first president.
In 1949 he gave several interesting lectures on the meaning of suffering which he would publish in the book “Homo patiens. Versuch einer Pathodizee“. In this book he will highlight one of the essential aspects of logotherapy, i.e. a comfort to those who are suffering. At the Salzburg Summer School he will present the “Ten Theses On The Human Person”, a cornerstone in the anthropological foundation of Logotherapy, and he will present and explain them in more detail in 1951 in the book “Logos und Existenz. Drei Vorträge“. (“ Logos and Existence. Three Lectures”).
In 1952, together with Otto Pötzl, he published a popular edition of psychophysiological studies which he held on the radio: “Die Psychotherapie im Alltag. Sieben Radiovorträge“ (“Everyday Psychotherapy – Seven Radio Shows”).
In 1970, the United States International University in San Diego, California, installs a Chair for Logotherapy and the world’s first Institute of Logotherapy was established. In the same year Frankl received honorary doctor degrees at Loyola University in Chicago and Edgecliffe College in Cincinnati.
Invitations to give lectures at universities around the world followed, where Frankl received numerous awards and honorary doctorates.
His last two books, “Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning,” and “Viktor Frankl – Recollections” were published in 1997.
He lectured at a total of 209 Universities on all 5 continents. He is an honorary member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.