Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Logotherapist Finds Meaning In Giving Meaninglessness New Meaning

Practice Built on Holocaust Survivor's Message Is Helping Hurting People

10.07.2010 by Winsip Custer CPW News Service

Los Angeles. Joshua Heschel Hendricks a thirty-five year old psychotherapist in Los Angeles and graduate of the University of Haifa Medical School is building his practice on helping people find meaning in life.  "Logotherapy comes from the Greek word Logos, meaning 'word' or 'meaning'," said Hendricks.

"Freud believed that the meaning in life was found in a person's pursuit of pleasure. Alfred Adler believed that meaning came from the pursuit of power. My mentor and hero in psychotherapy, Dr. Vicktor Frankl, believed that meaning in life was given to those who found meaning in life. If that sounds like double talk then just think about it for a moment. You get up in the morning and think to yourself...'what a crappy day. I don't think I'll get up. But then you think 'is that sunlight coming through the window?' Just that little sunlight gives meaning to your next breath, does it not? Then you think Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell? Where did that thought come from? Oh, yea. From the sunlight coming through the window.  You start singing.... 'Woke up it was a Chelsea morning and the first thing that I saw was the sun through yellow curtains and a rainbow on the wall and the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses.' Wha-lah. Your life has new meaning," said Hendricks.

"Then you start to crave butterscotch, but you don't have any in your apartment so you go on a quest. Your life has a growing snowball of meaning. The cat. The cat wants to eat. So now you're on two quests. The meaning is growing and growing. Cat food? Meow Mix or Deli Cat? I'm out of both. Will the left over dog food from Aunt Myrtle's visit do? Suddenly you've given meaning to the cat's life as he is forced to decide whether or not he'll eat the dog's food or catch a mouse. You see a rthym here?" he asked.

"Now, back to the butterscotch. Where can you get it at 6:50 a.m.? The grocery store. So you dress. More meaning. I try to get my clients to savor each meaning-packed moment and to find a transcendent aspect of each of life's little decisions. Red shirt or green? Brown shoes or black? Windsor knot or bow-tie? Of course Viktor Frankl learned this in a concentration camp where there wasn't alot of butterscotch and the shirts were all a dirty gray, but what shade of gray and how dirty?  The axel grease those damned Nazis are making us pack into those axels looks like butterscotch?  Has anyone ever eaten axel grease?   What does it taste like? You feel it now? The pulse of life. The rythm of life? The meaning of life?" asked Hendricks.

"I do," I said. "I do feel it. I feel it. I want some butterscotch."
"Good," said Hendricks. "That'll be two hundred dollars."
I paid him gladly. It was the best two hundred dollars I spent this month.

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