Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Ultimate Cure for Existential Depression

An existential depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the nervous system, but instead it is the result of a disaster in your personal life. This kind of depression is best dealt with not by medication, but by finding a sense of meaning in life. As Nietzche put it, "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how."

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist who was interned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. He experienced the tortures and depravities first-hand, and he was a keen observer of everything around him. He recorded his experiences in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, which is now in its third edition and has sold over two million copies. 

In his book, Frankl recalled that on one particularly bad day, a list of "crimes" was announced which would be punishable by immediate death by hanging. These included cutting your blankets into ankle supports because, due to insufficient food, your ankles were too weak to stand on by themselves. Then, a couple of hours later, it was announced that two potatoes had been stolen from the camp kitchen. If the culprits were not immediately handed over to the tender mercies of the SS guards, the whole camp would starve for the day, Since they were starving anyway, the whole camp preferred to fast.

That evening, as the prisoners lay in their huts, the lights went out. For many, this seemed to be the last straw. As they lay there in total darkness, his Senior Block Warden asked Frankl to give them a talk to lift their spirits up. God knows, Frankl wrote, he was in no shape to cheer up anyone else. But he knew he had to say something. He began by noting that the real reason people were dying all around them was not their poor living conditions, horrible as they were, but giving up hope. Even in this Europe in the sixth winter of the Second World War, he continued, everyone could find some reason for hope. He frankly admitted that he estimated his own chances of survival at about one in twenty. Friends, family, careers, could all be restored, and one could suddenly be transferred to a camp with unusually good working conditions, for this was the luck of the prisoner.

When the lights came on again, it was obvious that he had struck a responsive chord. People were limping towards him to shake his hand. Later, when he was liberated from the camp and re-opened his private practice, Frankl realized that in everyday life as well as in a concentration camp, when people gave up hope they were much more ready to die before their time. Instead of seeking pleasure, as Freud would have it, Frankl asserted that the most powerful motivating force in humans is the need to find meaning in life

The evidence for the importance of meaning in our existence s clear, once we begin to look for it. World renowned physicisr Stephen Hawking, for example, was only expected to live a short time after he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in his youth.However, he is still busy in his seventies, lecturing to large audiences about the cosmos, even though his illness has progressed to the point that he can obly move one muscle in his cheek and must use a special device in order to speak. In the video below, Hawking has laboriously be composed his answers ahead of time, despitee the impression of spontaneity. For Hawking, and for the rest of us, meaningfulness is the ultimate remedy for anxiety and depression, and the utimate meaning of his existence, as it is for the rest of us -- or as he put it,, "Look at the stars, not at your feet.!"




But what about the rest of us? The following video by Emily Esfahani Smith Describes how to find mining and purpose in an existence which is not marked by tragedy.














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