Discussion Questions: Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl



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Discussion Questions: Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

Instructions: Answer the following discussion questions based on your reading of the book. Type answers using APA guidelines. For your convenience, this assignment is available in electronic form on the ftp site for this class. Answers must be succinct, complete, show insight and in-depth understanding of the meaning of the text. Do not simply quote from the text when preparing answers.

  1. What did Frankl speak to his fellow prisoners about when their morale was low?

  1. Have you had moments in your life you needed someone to speak to you in this way? Did anyone do this for you at that time? If so, what impact did it have on you?

  2. Have you ever used this effectively with other people? Give examples.

  3. How important a tool is this for a counselor?

  4. How do you think it could use be used effectively in counseling?



  1. What does the author claim that people can control in difficult circumstances?

Do you agree or disagree? Explain.

  1. When the prisoners learned that they were arriving at Auschwitz, Frankl states that “Everyone’s heart missed a beat at that moment. Auschwitz –the very name stood for all that was horrible: gas chambers, crematoriums, massacres: Do you think people could experience this kind of shock under different circumstances?” If so, describe other circumstances in which this might occur?



  1. Select the passage in the book that you were most attracted to. It may be the way prisoners used humor and found beauty to survive it, or the way that Frankl uses this experience to get at the meaning of life or even the horrors that prisoners faced.

    1. Briefly cite the passage.

    2. Explain why you chose this passage and the personal meaning this passage has for you.



  1. Frankl writes, “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress,” and that “…man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”

    1. Write about what this means to you.

    2. Do you believe this to be true personally?

    3. How can you apply this to your work as a therapist? (Illustrate with examples of how or with whom this might be used in your professional work as a counselor.)



  1. Describe what prisoners had to deal with after their release. To what other populations could this apply? Explain.



  1. In describing his belief that there is an ultimate purpose in life, Frankl writes, “In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopelessness, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious ‘Yes’ in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose.”

    1. Do you believe in the concept of a purpose for each human being?

    2. If so, realizing that this can be a lifelong process, do you know or have some idea what your purpose (or purposes) might be?

    3. If you believe exploration of individual purpose is an ongoing process, how can you continue to explore/discover your purpose(s)?



  1. How does Frankl describe:

    1. The “size” of human suffering?

    2. The role of “curiosity”?

    3. The role of “humor”?

    4. The meaning of art in the camp? What kinds were there?

    5. How might this apply to your work as a counselor?



  1. This book was a bestseller, translated into many languages, and on the Library of Congress’ list of Ten Most Influential Books in the United States.

  1. What did you get out of it personally?

  2. In what way do you think it may be useful in your professional work as a counselor?


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