Writing: Existential Psychology

Adler versus Frankl: Similarities and Differences (Taiwan Society of Adlerian Psychology, Taiwan)

Jeremy Bishop Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) A Historical Overview After leaving Freud’s Society of Psychoanalysis as a young, 18-year-old medical student, Frankl joined Adler’s Society for Individual Psychology from 1923 to 1927. During these four years, he was influenced by Adler, but was especially attracted to the anthropological wing led by Rudolf Allers and Oswald Schwarz within Adler’s circle. This faction was critical of Adler’s attempt to attribute mental disturbances almost exclusively to the lack of social interests. This group also felt that Adler failed to recognize the anthropological epistemology values towards community and one’s own innate...

Read More

The Courage to Live Well and Die Well (2017 Life Education International Academic Conference, Taiwan)

Breno Machado Abstract This paper proposes that the best way to lead a good life is to pursue a life of meaning, virtue, and happiness through self-transcendence. This meaning hypothesis was developed from the perspective of second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0), which sees mature happiness or well-being as situated in the context of suffering and the dark side of human existence. According to this perspective, the only kind of happiness that can be sustained during adversities is mature happiness, which is based on the psychological and spiritual maturity of learning to be at home with oneself, others, and...

Read More

Reflections on My Psychology Career: Where I Came From, and Where I Am Going (Autobiography, Ch. 24)

Thomas Somme Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography, A Lifelong Search for Meaning: Lessons on Virtue, Grit, and Faith, is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. “I suffer, therefore, I rejoice.” This paradoxical statement sums up my entire academic career in psychology. Burdened by a long history of suffering in China, growing up during Japanese occupation and civil war, and enduring decades of discrimination and marginalization in North America, it is inevitable that I look at life and psychology through a different prism (see my online autobiography). It has been a lonely and difficult journey charting a new course as...

Read More

Death Acceptance and the Meaning-Centered Approach to End-of-Life Care

Ray Hennessy Authors Co-authored with David F. Carreño, M.A. University of Almeria, Spain, and Beatriz Góngora Oliver, M.S., Torrecardenas Hospital, Almeria, Spain. The final examination that faces all of us is how to die well. Death anxiety, just like test anxiety, in and by itself will not enable us to pass this final test. How can we best prepare ourselves to defeat this common enemy? Is there any way to cure this dread? There is a trend in favor of hospice and palliative care over aggressive attempts to prolong lives (Teno et al., 2013). The increasing acceptance of physician-assisted...

Read More

Critique of Positive Psychology and Positive Interventions

Álvaro Serrano Authors Co-authored with Sandi Roy, M.D., Chief Medical Director, RKHC Charitable Hospital and Founder, Happiness India Project, Delhi, India. Abstract This chapter critiques positive psychology (PP) and PP interventions (PPIs) at three levels. First, it identifies the fundamental problems of elitism and scientism, which permeate and negatively impact PP research and applications. Second, it critiques the conceptual and methodological limitations of PP and PPIs, providing specific examples. Third, it critiques specific problems in PPIs. Finally, this chapter proposes second wave PP (PP 2.0) as a correction to the deficiencies at all three levels so that PP can move...

Read More

How to Measure Existential Meaning

Igor Ovsyannykov Note This is a manuscript review of the paper published as George, L. S., & Park, C. L. (2016). The Multidimensional Existential Meaning Scale: A tripartite approach to measuring meaning in life. The Journal of Positive Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/17439760.2016.1209546 Introduction I was favourably inclined towards this manuscript because of its title. I was very pleased that positive psychology (PP) researchers are now interested in tackling a fundamental concept in existential psychology—“What is the meaning of life?” or “What is the meaning of human existence?” Such questions have been most frequently asked, according to a simple Google...

Read More

The Deep-and-Wide Hypothesis in Giftedness and Creativity

Eddy Klaus Authors Co-authored with Piers Worth, Ph.D., Bucks New University, London, UK. Abstract This paper provides empirical findings from four different sources that lend credence to the deep-and-wide (DAW) hypothesis (Wong, 2012) in accounting for giftedness and creativity. The DAW hypothesis posits that difficult experiences and negative emotions motivate individuals to dig deeper into their inner resources and explore wider their external resources to find a creative solution to their distressing problems. To the extent that these endeavors are reinforced in these individuals’ early developmental stages, they will develop the predisposition of persistence, resourcefulness, and creativity. Therefore, there are...

Read More

Courage, Faith, Meaning, and Mature Happiness in Dangerous Times

President’s Report for the Positive Living Newsletter (May 2017). Read the rest of the newsletter here. “The wound is the place where light enters you.” — Rumi The current tense political climate at home and abroad has the same feeling as the dreadful days after 9/11, which injected a tragic sense of life into the American psyche. Perhaps we have never truly recovered from that national trauma, and today’s malaise indicates that “a sizable chunk of the country is in a sour mood. Our politics are unusually disheartening. There’s still a hole in the American heart” (Weber, 2016). In a similar...

Read More

Frankl’s Self-Transcendence Model and Virtue Ethics

Authors Co-authored with Timothy Reilly, Ph.D., Dept. of Psychology, University of Notre Dame Abstract This presentation will conclude my research project on Viktor Frankl’s self-transcendence (ST) model as a framework of applying virtue ethics. My focus in this presentation is to explain why Frankl’s ST model provides a useful ethical framework for living and behaving well and how it is consistent with the Aristotelian and Thomistic moral theory of virtue ethics in important ways. Virtue is an important topic for psychology, philosophy, and business management because it is concerned with moral excellence and ethical behaviours that are crucial for the...

Read More


Subscribe to the Positive Living Newsletter of the International Network on Personal Meaning to receive quarterly updates on the meaning movement, including the Paul's President's Column.


Recent Tweets

  • Work ethic means that U do what U ought to do or what needs to be done each day whether U feel like it or not.
  • Doing what is right & responsible may cost U something, but at the end U will feel good about yourself.
  • Sorrow is the natural response to a world of suffering. Hedonic happiness is people's attempt to escape.
  • US signals a sea change on Taiwan 4 decades after severing ties- Nikkei Asian Review s.nikkei.com/2IKHYxc
  • One moment of ecstasy can lead to a life of agony. What price is happiness?