THE UNCONSCIOUS GOD: Psychotherapy and Theology by

THE UNCONSCIOUS GOD: Psychotherapy and Theology

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Logotherapy, a system of psychotherapy which centers on what Frankl calls ""the spiritual"" and ""the will to meaning,"" continues to attract attention; this is the first English translation of a 1947 German text on the subject, plus a supplement outlining the author's subsequent philosophical evolution and the revision of his doctrine. The seminal presentation here, with its jawcracking terminology and spurts of Latin and German, is rough going for the novice, but valuable for those in the field as a systematic exegesis of the main tenets; the later section is much more accessible and of particular interest to the layman willing to explore the postulate attributed to Jung--that anyone over the age of 35 with a problem has a religious problem. Yet, in spite of the title, Frankl has removed himself decisively from Jung. Religiousness, although within the unconscious, stems from ""the personal center of individuals rather than an impersonal pool of images shared by mankind."" Logotherapy's purpose is to free every person, releasing frustrated, repressed religious feelings, to find the unique meaning to his own life; the first step is to separate ills of the somatic-psychic id from the spiritual self. One of the characteristics of ""humanness"" (which Frankl evolves via a phenomenological route) is ""being responsible for one's own existence."" And existence is essentially unconscious since its foundation can never be reflected upon. Thus Frankl is dealing with a ""spiritual"" unconscious somewhat in the way Freud dealt with the instinctual self. Frankl discusses his concept of conscience, thrashes out at Freudians, behavioral therapists and reductionists, and offers some intriguing case histories. Logotherapy may fascinate some, infuriate others, but now that religion has replaced sex as the No. 1 embarrassment at polite dinner tables, Frankl's enterprising paradigm (or house of cards, depending on your leanings) cannot be dismissed out of hand. And since sex is out in the open just what is the phantom still stalking in the cage of the unconscious? Frankl offers some startling answers.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Simon & Schuster