Writing: Meaning Therapy

Meaning and Flourishing in Suffering (Overview) (Fo Guang University, Taiwan)

Cherry Laithang This presentation provides a new perspective on flourishing based on the second wave of positive psychology (PP 2.0) (Wong, 2011). It first emphasizes the importance of the contextual principle of well-being. More specifically, this principle posits that, in order to have a full understanding or account of well-being, it is essential to provide (a) the broadest possible context of the human condition, with its dark side and existential issues, and (b) specific circumstances, such as peace and prosperity or war-torn areas and poverty. Statements about well-being are not very meaningful or helpful without any reference to contextual...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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International Psychology and I: A Reflection

Andrew Neel My birth and historical and cultural background as a Chinese combined with my higher education and academic career as a Canadian have destined me to be an international psychologist. Since my days as a graduate student, all that is within me has recoiled from simple-minded, mechanistic mainstream psychology and compelled me to pursue a different path of integrating East and West. In experimental psychology, I rebelled against the barrenness of S-R learning theory and argued for a contextual “field approach” to investigate the process of adaptation (Wong, 1995). In social-personality psychology, I rejected the bi-polar approach to...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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