- 人文・社会科学論集 = Toyo Eiwa Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences (ISSN:09157794)
- vol.30, pp.59-82, 2013-03
A worldwide best seller Yoru to Kiri (the original German title : EIN PSYCHOLOGE ERLEBT DAS KONZENTRATIONSLAGER, the Enlish title: Man’s Search for Meaning) was written by a Jewish psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl. It was first translated into Japanese by Tokuji Shimoyama, a clinical psychologist and a professor emeritus at Sophia University (an ex-professor of Toyo Eiwa University). Since its publication, it has been read by many people over generations. The book has tremendous power toinspire and to encourage. After he was released from the Nazi concentration camps, he continued to work as a psychiatrist, taught at universities, gave lectures around the world, and lived to be 92. He is a miraculous psychiatrist and a psychologist of a kind that cannot be found anywhere.The aim of this paper was to re-read Yoru to Kiri and examine both from the perspective of modern trauma psychology (1) what kind of psychological reactions, defense mechanisms or coping behaviors Frankl resorted to while he was imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps, (2) how he overcame the trauma and adapted to his life after the war, and by referencing some literature on his life and on Holocaust survivors’ psychology, (3) what kind of defense mechanisms or coping behaviors were effective in surviving extreme situations.Results:(1) It was found that Frankl showed at least some traumatic symptoms: extreme fear, denial or undoing, dissociation, repetitive and intrusive reactions (nightmares and obsession) , paralyzed or limited emotions, reduced interests, irritability and anger. The nightmares persisted till his ninties. (2) Frankl was not only using the coping behaviors as the Holocaust survivors in the literature, but he 82 was also rich in resources: intelligence, being a psychiatrist, warm and loving family elationships, and Jewish faith. More than anything, he supported himself by his firm convi ction that the life is worthwhile living no matter how harsh it may be.Conclusion: Frankl may have been a gifted person in many ways. But more than anything, he was willing, instead of giving in to the “fate”, he was willing to take responsibility to find the right answers and fulfill the tasks given to him. He lived with this belief all his life and has been other people’s lives meaningful.