Friday, July 10, 2009

"Truly there is a healing force in meaning." (Viktor Frankl)

When I saw the title of the book in the library, I knew I had to borrow it:
Not surprisingly, it's by Viktor E. Frankl, the man who famously wrote "Man's Search for Meaning".

I haven't gotten very far into it, and now I have to dash off to get to a gig in Massachusetts, but here are some quotes I wrote down so far:
"The patient had not been taken as a human being, that is to say, a being in steady search of meaning; and this search for meaning, which is so distinctive of man had not been taken seriously at its face value, but was seen as a mere rationalization of underlying unconscious psychodynamics. It had been overlooked or forgotten that if a person has found the meaning sought for, he is prepared to suffer, to offer sacrifice, even, if need be, to give his life for the sake of it. Contrariwise, if there is no meaning he is inclined to take his life, and he is prepared to do so even if all his needs, to all appearances, have been satisfied." (p. 20)
"...I think that, rather than exhibiting mental illness, someone worrying about the meaning of life is proving his humanness. One need not be a neurotic to be concerned with the quest for a meaning to life, but one does need to be a truly human being." (pp. 28-29)
"If we are to bring out the human potential at its best, we must first believe in its existence and presence." (p. 30)
One more...
"...while food is certainly a necessary condition for survival, it is not sufficient condition to endow one's life with meaning and thus relieve the sense of meaninglessness and emptiness." (p. 33)

I absolutely must dash out of here, but I wanted to send along these thought-provoking comments. I'm sure you can see how music therapy fits into this nicely. And, having worked in an institution for so many years, you can, I'm sure, see how I might recognize how directly Frankl's comments speak to the experiences of my clients.

I'd be interested to hear how other folks relate to these quotes as well. It certainly follows appropriately on the tails of my thoughts with regard to whether or not my clients feel they're getting something out of being in music therapy.

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