Trauma and Meaning – Against the Loss of Human Dignity

Alfried Längle

Key words: dignity, existential analysis, Frankl, meaning, trauma

Injuries, shocks and abysses that leave us disconcerted – they are also part of human reality. This reality may catch up with us unexpectedly, e.g. by an accident, a disaster, a natural catastrophe (at the sea or in the snow!), a suicide attack etc. Normally we do not think of these possibilities – and are accordingly unprepared if they do happen to us. But then the question of meaning arises vehemently. And if it is other people who do the incomprehensible to us, then our own dignity is undermined. A particularly impressive example for this has been pro­vided by Viktor Frankl who underwent such critical situations in concentration camps.

What exactly shocks us human beings so profoundly, how we can prevent some of the terror, how we can understand it and what to learn from it for our daily lives – all of this will be presented in this paper.


Corrective Experience of Values and Existential Fulfillment in a course of short-term psychodynamic group psychotherapy

Agnieszka Sym, Katarzyna Wiraszka–Lewandowska, Andrzej Kokoszka

Key words: existential fulfillment, experience of values, psychotherapeutic factors

The aim of the study was to evaluate the relations among (1) corrective experience of values defined as a justification for a given manner of behavior, reflection and feeling that enables the implementation of prior unrealiz­able values; (2) enhancement of the sense of existential fulfillment and; (3) change of symp­toms intensity, during a three-month-long treatment composed of group psycho­therapy and pharmacotherapy in a day unit setting.

38 patients with neurotic disorders, perso­nality disorders, dysthymia and mild episodes of depression took part in the study. Measures applied included: Kokosz­ka’s Cor­rective Experience of Values Scale, Existence Scale and Aleksandrowicz’s Symptoms Check List.

The results indicated a statistically signifi­cant: (1) increase in the ability to experience values and; (2) an increase in the sense of existential fulfillment with a simultaneous reduction of symptoms. The ability to experience values and the sense of existential fulfillment showed a strong positive correlation before entering a course of psychotherapy and after its completion. Furthermore, connections were observed between changes in the scope of the sense of existential fulfillment and the ability to experience values.


The Relation between Existential Frustration and Noxious Behaviour

Barna Konkolÿ Thege

Key words: alcohol-, drug- and tobacco use, meaning in life, sexual promiscuity

The aim of this empirical study was to test Frankl’s hypothesis on the negative effect of existential frustration on the occurrence of health-destructive behaviours such as drug-, alcohol- and tobacco use and sexual promiscuity. Measuring meaning fulfilment Logo-Test (Lukas, 1986) and Existence Scale (Längle, Orgler, & Kundi 2003) were administered among Hungarian young adults (N=171).

The results partly support the Franklian assumption, although the results were not completely homogenous and the psychome­tric status of our measures is also uncertain.