Four Defining Characteristics of Self-Transcendence

From Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy to the Four Defining Characteristics of Self-Transcendence

Introduction The present paper continues my earlier presentation on self-transcendence (ST) as a pathway to meaning, virtue, and happiness (Wong, 2016), in which I introduced Viktor Frankl’s (1985) two-factor theory of ST. Here, the same topic of ST is expanded by first providing the basic assumptions of logotherapy, then arguing the need for objective standards for meaning, and finally elaborating the defining characteristics of ST. To begin, here is a common-sense observation—no one can remain at the same spot for life for a variety of reasons, such as developmental and environmental changes, but most importantly because people dream of a

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Positive Psychology in North America

Positive Psychology in North America

Historial Background to Positive Psychology in North America Humanistic Psychology The story of positive psychology (PP) in America begins long prior to the modern movement called PP, and the humanistic psychologists provide a reasonable place to begin. Humanist psychologists were the first psychologists who focused on the positive side of people—their innate goodness and natural tendency towards the self-actualization of their potentials. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow were the leading figures in this movement. The humanistic approach began as a reaction against the determinism of psychoanalysis and behaviorism, both of which were dominant forces in psychology in the 1950s and

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Self-Transcendence

Self-Transcendence: A Paradoxical Way to Become Your Best

Introduction I propose that the way to become your best self is, paradoxically, to become more selfless. I want to make the case that, in a world of cut-throat competition, the best strategy to survive and prosper for individuals and societies is to give our best in serving each other. In psychological terms, this way of life is called self- transcendence (ST). ST sounds paradoxical and counter-intuitive and may not make sense at first glance because in this individualistic consumer society, self-interest always seems front and centre in our consciousness. From parenting to education, we are ingrained with the idea

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The Future of Humanistic Psychology

Meaning-Centered Approach to Research and Therapy, Second Wave Positive Psychology, and the Future of Humanistic Psychology

Abstract This paper describes six research principles for revitalizing humanistic psychology and impacting mainstream psychology based on Gergen (2016) and DeRobertis (2016). It demonstrates how Wong’s meaning-centered research and therapy is an extension of humanistic-existential psychology and has impacted mainstream psychology indirectly by following six principles. Furthermore, it also shows how Wong’s (2011) second wave positive psychology is able to provide a new humanistic vision to impact mainstream psychology directly. Finally, it argues that humanistic psychology needs to take these six principles seriously by going beyond phenomenological research and replacing a “tribal” mentality with a pluralistic big-tent perspective since humanistic-existential

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Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life

Self-Transcendence as the Path to Virtue, Happiness and Meaning

To be presented as Wong, P. T. P. (2016, June). Self-transcendence as the path to virtue, happiness and meaning. Paper presented at the research working group meeting for Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life Project, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. (Funded by the John Templeton Foundation) Abstract In my last presentation (Wong, 2015), I introduced Viktor Frankl’s concept of the meaning dimension as a necessary spiritual orientation for the good life of virtue, happiness, and meaning. I proposed that meaning mindset (Wong, 2012a) represents the cognitive aspect of self-transcendence (ST). Meaning mindset represents a fundamental perspective change from a success orientation to a

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Humanistic Theories of Psychopathology

Humanistic Theories of Psychopathology (SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology)

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2016). Humanistic theories in psychopathology. In H. L. Miller (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of theory in psychology (pp. 438-441). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Humanistic psychology, which began as a movement against psychoanalysis and behaviorism in the 1950s and 1960s, remains a viable “third force” in psychology, because it provides a unique perspective on mental health and psychopathology. It questions the medical model and the usefulness of the ever-increasing labeling of mental disorders. Instead, it emphasizes the study of the whole person, especially each person’s potentials. It assumes that individuals have the freedom and courage to transcend biological

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Encyclopedia Entry

Logotherapy (SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal & Clinical Psychology)

To be published as Wong, P. T. P. (in press). Logotherapy. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (p. 0-0). New York, NY: Sage. This publication was partially supported by the research grant on Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life from the John Templeton Foundation. Logotherapy, founded by neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), literally means “therapy through meaning.” It rests on three inter-related pillars—freedom of will, will to meaning, and meaning of life—and its main contribution to the therapeutic community is its focus on the vital role of meaning in healing and flourishing. Effective

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Encyclopedia Entry

Existential Theoretical Framework (SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal & Clinical Psychology)

To be published as Wong, P. T. P. (in press). Existential theoretical framework. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (p. 0-0). New York, NY: SAGE. Existentialism is concerned with the inescapable aspects of human existence and addresses the recurrent questions of human struggles: What am I doing here? What is the point of striving toward a goal, when death is the inevitable end? How can I live a worthwhile life? How can one find happiness is a world full of suffering? Because clients may raise existential concerns during counseling, implicitly or explicitly, psychotherapists, regardless of their therapeutic modality,

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Encyclopedia Entry

Coping and Stress (SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal & Clinical Psychology)

To be published as Wong, P. T. P. (in press). Coping and stress. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (p. 0-0). New York, NY: SAGE. Stress is an inevitable aspect of living. In everyday parlance, stress refers to an emotional state of pressure, tension, or distress because of certain demands, actual or imagined, that threaten our psychological or physical well-being. These demands may involve a major transition in life, such as a promotion or divorce, or a traumatic event, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one. They may also involve everyday

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Encyclopedia Entry

Death and Dying (SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal & Clinical Psychology)

To be published as Wong, P. T. P. (in press). Death and dying. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (p. 0-0). New York, NY: SAGE. The moment we are born, we are thrown into a precarious existence in a dangerous world; almost anything can end our earthly existence: accidents, diseases, disasters, or violence. No matter how carefully we avoid death and prolong life, sooner or later, we all die. Such is the vulnerability and mortality of human existence. Yet, beneath this everyday banality, lies a significant challenge—how we relate to our own mortality will affect

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