From Sigmund Freud to Viktor E. Frankl: Integral Psychoanalysis

Taken from the book From Sigmund Freud to Viktor E. Frankl: Integral Psychoanalysis by Norberto R. Keppe.

I studied and worked with Dr. Viktor E. Frankl in Vienna from April 1958 until June 1960. During that time, I had the opportunity to study several Viennese Schools of Psychotherapy, such as the Adlerian orientation, Dr. Knut Baumgarten’s Child Guidance Clinic, the Viennese Circle of Deep Psychology and the traditional Society of Orthodox Psychoanalysis.

During those years, I worked with Prof. Frankl’s ideas in the therapeutic field, and finally I succeeded in verifying them in practice. I can tell you that ninety percent of them were confirmed, as you will observe during my presentation.

I would like to point out some of his main hypotheses: a) the denial of Pan-Determinism, with which much of our present culture is impregnated; b) all the freedom the human being makes use of (even in choosing his illness); c) the serious mistake of Freudian pan-sexualism, which has distressingly invaded the whole world; d) the opening to transcendence; e) the confusion made by Freud between religion and neurosis; f) the fact that being conscious (bewurstsein) is being responsible.

In the last part of this work, I present practical cases (recordings of individual analysis sessions) that will help you become acquainted with the methodology of Integral Psychoanalysis.

Psychopathological Psychotherapies

Up to now, all processes of psychotherapy have actually been far from psychological. Psychoanalysis itself, whether orthodox or not, is more than anything else a biological, organic treatment. Many other techniques, such as Rogerian, Transactional analysis, psychodrama and behaviorism, are socio-therapeutic—if ever a psychotherapeutic approach could be such.

What I am saying is that all of these approaches attribute the cause of human anguish to physical or social factors and consider the psyche to be the result of brain secretions (according to the old medical teachings), or social factors (lack of affection, economic difficulties, problems with status, etc.). In other words, they see psychic life as always victimized by something external to it.

All these ideas that dominated the field of psychotherapy are the same sick ideas that the people who look for treatment have, and they are wrong because of their foundational ideas. In other words, the psychotherapeutic processes are as pathological as the people who look for them, and this type of psychotherapy ends up merely changing the neurosis. After a psychotherapy process, the individual winds up with another illness, this time with all the blessings of “science”. I would call these psychopathological “psychotherapies”. We could say that, in this case, science, which should elevate the person out of his psychopathological situation, conducts the same process that has been making us ill. This, then, does not benefit us as it should.

All that has been accomplished so far in psychotherapy has been either biotherapy or sociotherapy. The former has been generally organized by physicians who have the idea of curing emotions and feelings primarily by addressing sex (libido) and administering medicines, electric shock and insulin.

Sociotherapy has been preferred by psychologists who thought they would find in the social field the motive for every human estrangement. In this area, we find the Cultural School (Karen Homey and Erich Fromm), the Frankfurt School (Herbert Marcuse), Wilhelm Reich, the English anti-psychiatry, Foucault’s School, Vera Schmidt in the Soviet Union, and also the transactional line. Generally, therapies use all these processes together.

What I am trying to say is that to attribute the etiology of psychological disturbances to factors that are foreign or secondary to psychic life is itself psychopathological because it feeds the individual’s persecutory elements, thereby making his condition worse. If problems were external, or even hereditary, then we would always be right in feeling resentment or even revolt towards our parents.

There is no Unconscious involved in the origin of illness, but rather an attitude of Inconscientisation I believe that the biggest mistake that has flooded all fields of psychotherapy has been Freud’s idea about the existence of an unconscious as the basic agent of neurosis.

Coincidentally, this idea has also invaded every area of human thought, thereby granting the human being an enormous justification for his mistakes.

Any psychotherapy that is based upon the existence of an unconscious as the origin of pathology is precarious, firstly because of the large period of time needed to deal with something “unknown,” and secondly because this cannot be achieved anyway because most times it doesn’t exist. This perspective has given rise to the formation of a great number of ideas and theories, each one more fanciful than the next, in an endless and useless sequence.

There is a famous phrase in philosophy, non multiplicantur entia sine necessitas, which means that one must not create unnecessary things. Any process of analysis that requires a long time to achieve a result proceeds from the idea that investigation ad infinitum is necessary, and the client is little interested in doing that.

This hypothesis of the existence of an unconscious that prevents us from being sane is exactly the same as that which attributes our disorders to evil spirits that seize us and must be exorcised. This is the reason that Erich Fromm, who was analyzed by Sachs, one of the seven of Freud’s closest disciples, said in his last interview to the French newspaper Le Monde, that he had never once been benefited by psychoanalysis.

As for psychoanalyst Dr. Wilhelm Wittenberg of Munich, Fromm said that, while he was an enchanting man, the only thing that he remembered about him was that you needed to put his cream in before his coffee. Karl Jaspers said that psychoanalysis was a dogmatic process, which, to be accomplished, required the client’s belief. Was Carl Gustav Jung not right in rejecting the proposition of the Oedipus complex—at least as a fundamental factor of the origin of neurosis?

From the very first writings Freud published on the theory of the human being’s afflictions, many people in Vienna were of the opinion that he demonstrated a lot of imagination and that his work was more literary than anything else. And it is also well known to anyone who has done psychoanalysis that any objection to Freud’s ideas is interpreted as a kind of resistance.

In the second part of this paper, I wish show you that we are not victims of an unconscious, but of our wish to inconscientise what we do not want to see. How could we be victims of instincts and impulses (trieb in German)?

Medard Boss was a psychoanalyst for many years, and one day he realized the inadequacy of all theories about the unconscious in treating neurosis. His point of view was that Freudian analysis required a whole range of intellectual acrobatics. In an interview he gave in Brazil last May, he said that “to be realized is to integrate oneself into the world; every human life that cannot be realized in everyday life is bound to fall into depression.”

We cannot be victims of what we do not know, but we damage ourselves with the attitude of wanting to conceal what we are aware of. In my opinion the theory of the unconscious was the biggest psychological deception of the twentieth century.

Social Psychotherapy

First of all, by social psychotherapy, or rather sociotherapy, I am speaking mainly about Transactional Analysis, Rogerian Therapy, Psychodrama and Behaviourism. These psychotherapeutic approaches were born psychopathological. This happened from the very first experiences of attending clients because these methodologies attributed the cause of problems to the client’s relationship with others.

I am talking now about the psychoanalytical approach that relates all human welfare directly to the kind of social and biological (sexual) behaviour the person has.

All families who have directed their children to this type of treatment have gone through bad moments as their children increase their revolt against their own home. The psychoanalysts of our Society have written a book entitled Alienating Psychotherapies, in which they describe the negative effects of any treatment modality that leads to further concealment of consciousness from the individual. It is due to these negative side effects that there is strong opposition from people in general to these various methods and schools of psychotherapy.

If you consider the matter closely, you will realize that there has been a serious misunderstanding in the field of psychotherapy, which tries to lead the individual to happiness through means that are inferior to him; that is, sex, money and economic and social power. A human being can only be happy if he is in contact with the life that comes from his inner self—and this life is the same that governs the entire universe.

Every psychoanalytical approach that emphasizes the social or biological aspects (mainly sexual) of the psyche is a waste of time. The mere idea of being happy through somebody else causes us incredible affliction owing to the impossibility of finding somebody perfect. And here begins our inner hell.

There is a fundamental mistake in thinking that one can be happy through somebody else, who, after all, is just a fellow creature with the same level of misery as ours. In fact, this attitude is merely the search for a new form of alienation compared to true happiness, which consists in being in harmony with our own goodness. And where can our goodness be?

If the human being was created in God’s image and most perfect resemblance, our goodness is mainly inside us, and the human interior is the most wonderful creation on Earth. One has only to accept what exists there, for true reality exists within us. It is there, waiting for us to humble ourselves enough so that we consider it. And we do that by giving up the attitude of escape in order to remain in what is eternal within ourselves.

What probably most characterizes so called mental illness is the attitude of blaming the social environment for all our personal problems. After all, we know that a lost person does not survive in the forest but can survive for a long time in any society.

Libido is not the Foundation of the Psychic Life

For many years, Freud’s explanation of the sexual etiology of problems did not satisfy me. In fact, I believed that psychoanalysis was stagnating because it placed its primary focus upon the libido of the human being. While attending his clients in sessions and researching the human mind, Freud was a great scientist. But when he used his ideas of the libido to explain illness, it was a complete disaster. However, because his methodology was unsurpassed, his theories, even though they were mostly absurd, became accepted in the scientific world and remained the standard for almost a full century. Only now are they being almost entirely demolished.

The worst error of all, though, was to consider the libido as being responsible for our equilibrium or imbalance. Even if we consider that Freud was giving the word a different meaning (i.e. not only a sexual one), the majority of psychotherapists have insisted on trying to solve the human being’s problems through relationships. To demonstrate this, the second chapter in Freud’s book, The Theory of Neurosis, is entitled Sexuality in the Etiology of Neuroses. Moreover, the second chapter of his Neurasthenia and Anguish Neurosis sees all causes of affliction, a) through the first contact with sexual problems; b) in newlyweds; c) in premature ejaculation; d) in interrupted or reserved coitus; e) in sexual abstinence; f) in the climacteric (menopause) period.

Directly dealing with sex constitutes an improper intrusion into the client’s life and is, to tell the truth, totally useless. It even seems to me an unethical attitude.

Whenever people have come to us with problems of homosexuality, frigidity or impotence, etc., their conduct has immediately been analyzed from a psychological standpoint and, within a short time, their difficulties have been healed. This demonstrates that the basic problem is not in sex itself, but in something preceding it or, in other words, in the way of thinking and feeling.

  1. G. was a forty-two-year-old man who had always lived among young men. He owned a shop but had financial problems, and exhibited a number of physical problems as well, including circulatory problems, varicose veins and accentuated dyspepsia. After seven months of analysis, he began a sexual relationship with a woman, his cardio-vascular problems disappeared and he bought two more shops and became more prosperous.

To clarify this aspect let me stress that when a client talks about his sexual difficulties, we endeavour to show what this reveals in his or her psychological life; in other words, in the difficulties that he or she has in his relationship with him or herself.

As the person begins to get in touch with the inner self, the sexual difficulties are automatically healed. What happens in the physical, physiological life is always a result of what first goes on in one’s inner self, in the psychological life.

Whenever you treat a symptom directly, the result will oppose what is expected from the psychotherapy. This becomes clearly evident in the area of sexuality where numerous cases can be found of patients with one difficulty or another who, after a certain period of attention on it during analysis (which feels like an affliction to them), become totally impotent. In this orientation, most homosexuals end up by “assuming” (or accepting as they say) their condition—and this is the opposite of what we would expect from treatment.

We do not have dangerous instincts or impulses Every conventional psychotherapeutic method aims at taking care of something that exists in each person’s inner self and which is considered dangerous. But this very idea constitutes an attitude of affliction, perhaps even the basic one, in the formation of the process of sickness.

I have the impression that so far all methods of psychotherapy have led the individual to greater alienation in two different ways: a) by taking for granted the existence of evil characteristics in the psychic life (death instincts, aggressive instincts, etc.), b) or else by conceding that what exists is an innate, natural goodness, as if we were very normal creatures injured by a horrible environment (Carl Rogers and all the influences of Jean Jacques Rousseau), which is even worse because it leads to a total escape from the consciousness of all problems.

A return to seeing the psychic life as the real world to be investigated has not been accomplished yet. We in Analytical Trilogy are pioneers in this sense. The human being has made a great error in giving enormous importance to evil (pathology) as if it were very powerful—or, at least, existed in the same proportion as good (sanity). Every time we do not consider what exists we are wasting time because we are replacing truth with fantasy. This is what I call Platonism. I am of the opinion that religious institutions, mainly Christianity, have been making a serious error from their beginnings by considering the human being as constituted by an immortal soul linked with God and a condemned body linked with sin.

Such a proposition sees in man two principles, one good and one evil, and suggests that the body should be punished and castigated because it is something inconvenient. In fact, all the attention of priests and religious ministers has been devoted to this area in neglect of all the others. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this proposition gained further credence due to the fact that a great genius by the name of Sigmund Freud attributed the etiology of every illness to the body (sex). The result of all this was a general blinding, for we could say that our entire existence in this world consists of the correct use of the physical aspect. As a matter of fact, the great religious thinker, Thomas Aquinas, said that we are substantially formed of a soul and a body. As human creatures, we cannot be otherwise.

The reason such an erroneous principle was created can only be explained as being caused by the extensive sabotage against the truth through the attempt to deny that everything that exists belongs only to the Creator. As a matter of fact, the thinkers of ancient Greece were of the opinion that the universe would be eternal (Aristotle). On the other hand, by denying the value of the physical, we have ensured that we will subsequently have an exaggerated fixation with it. In other words, we have become slaves of the physical, for what is rejected increases in strength. The idea of a body in opposition to the soul, or the physical bothering the spiritual, constitutes a heavy cultural heritage, and a way of underestimating creation itself, which can be eternal only when both are unified. We have a very intense link with this world in which we were born because we were created for it. So much so that Leon Bloy said on his deathbed, “Oh, kingdom of this world, how much have I loved thee!”

Psychic Inversion

The fundamental discovery that I have made in the psychopathological field is the process of Inversion, through which we see everything that we perceive opposite to what it is. From the moment I had this realization, I began to consider every methodology and scientific hypothesis with suspicion. After all, a scientist is as ill as his client and may even treat people not only wrongly, but completely contrary to how he should. In fact, it seems to me that this is exactly what has been happening.

We have an example of a physiological inversion in the situation where our eyes perceive an exterior image entering through the retina in an inverted way, but we correct this because we know how reality is. However, we generally don’t do the same thing in psychic life. To the contrary actually: we invert things and continue on that way.

But why do we invert everything and see reality as bad and imagination and fantasy as agreeable? The basic cause for this is envy, which is a synonym for alienation. In fact, the word “envy” in Latin is formed by a suffix in (the negative) and the word videre (to see), so that invidere means “not to see”. A little later I will help you to better understand this element.

We think that truth is stupider than we are so we do whatever we want with it. And our incredible pretension is to make every reality subject to our confirmation before it is permitted to exist. For example, proving God’s existence is the same as confirming that light, life, beauty, the sun and the stars exist. It is ridiculous to prove any of these things because they are evident. All that is left for us to do is accept this or not.

But there is one fundamental detail: this God whom we refuse, omit or modify is our own inner selves that we refuse to accept, and this refusal gives rise to three types of psychopathology. One is the individual who denies everything—even love and life. This person simply kills everything, at least in his mind. He is against science, philosophy, the past, everything. Second we have the individual who omits everything. He knows what exists but rejects it. He does not deny like the former because he is not so foolish and knows what damage this may cause him. He simply omits. And thirdly, we have the individual who modifies and alters everything—not only what he sees but also what he studies and lives. It seems to me that this type of personality would include most people.

On a scale, the first group are the sickest (schizophrenic, paranoid, seriously depressive), the second are the borderline cases and the third are the immense majority of sick people; that is, us—the ones who still allow something to exist in the world. We are, perhaps in another way of saying it, the least crazy.

I consider one of my main discoveries to be that everything that exists by itself is by its nature good (except when we omit, deny or alter it). This, of course, is equivalent  to saying that everything real is good. As Igor A. Caruso from Vienna once said, “Could an instinct of death ever exist?” We are, therefore, something good but are made ill by our own will when we oppose ourselves (see Schopenhauer, The World as Representation).

The human being wants health to be a result of his own will; he does not want to admit that it exists by itself. In fact, this is why we destroy it, because we want to be the creators of ourselves. But is it even possible to create ourselves? Not even with all the good will of existential philosophy.

We are living in an age called homo-centrism. But this begs the question: is man really the center? From the moment we placed the human being at the center of the universe we also placed on his shoulders such a heavy load that he has bent under its weight.

As far as humanism is concerned, we are still at a pre-Copernican or pre-Galileo stage when the Earth was thought of as motionless and the entire Universe moved round it. Likewise, every person wants to believe that everything else moves around him or her.

Personal and Social Alienation

Many people think that the world is run by the men who govern nations, mainly the more developed ones. This is not true at all. The people of a nation do not need someone to govern them because they are more judicious than their governors since they already have all the balance necessary for human welfare. We know that politicians would never do psychotherapy (as Wilfred R. Bion concluded) because they live within a sociopathology (psychosocial pathology).

The whole structure of society is impregnated with psychopathology. This is not only true in the area of thought but also in the area of religious institutions and principally in the area of science. We can see clearly the illness that invades all these areas.

In 1976, 1 wrote a book called Psychoanalysis of Society, in which I tried to apply to social life the same process of analysis that could be applied to psychological life. My whole study was based on the traditional psychoanalysis of Freud, Klein and Bion.

However, I did not find this sufficient to explain the social process. From the moment I realized this, I decided to discover another way to contact the inner self. The human being is still innocent when a child (inoscere: Latin, non noscere), but when he enters the world of knowledge he pretty much adopts an attitude of hypocrisy.

Evil entered the world through knowledge, meaning that man stifles, twists and distorts the whole truth, which is not in knowledge, for by reasoning we can commit any madness, while with love we can only love. We replace all the intuition and consciousness that we have when we are children with reasoning and hypocrisy when we grow up.

We do not have to do much to live; we just have to accept this life, which is a wonderful thing, and work with what it is for it is something so incredible that every minute we waste by doing nothing is infinity thrown away.

We are eternal in the same way as life is; we will never stop being (existing), because we can only have consciousness of what is real, and if consciousness tells us that eternity exists, it is because we are in it forever.

It is in dictatorial regimes, which Latin America has in abundance, that we see thennstruggle against consciousness. Such regimes censor any unfavorable news, there by thinking that this will stop what is bad from existing. They first gag the press and the so-called intellectuals. They act exactly like the most seriously sick people in society, meaning with complete intolerance. The principal consciousness they are censoring is that of errors because truth exists by itself and even supports us, while errors are committed only by human beings and nobody else.

The illness of the human being lies in his arrogance and conceit; we are not dishonest because we are ill but we are ill because we are dishonest. Thus we can say, “He is so dishonest that he has come to the point of being seriously mentally ill.”

Here’s an example of how we work in practice. In her analysis, Mrs. P. K. reported that for years she had not had any satisfaction in her sexual relationship. She and her husband had owned a school, which they sold because of its state of disorganization.

She then bought a snack bar and it also failed. Her husband decided to leave the home because of the precarious situation. Here’s our interpretation of this situation: Mrs. P. K. rejected the relationship with herself, and this was the source of her displeasure with life. As people say, “She was out of her mind.” As a matter of fact, she had made a complete mess of her inner self and everything she did externally reflected this disorder in her inner self. Her husband leaving represented her escape from herself. Her psychological situation was, indeed, precarious.

The most hectic work that a human being can do is to indulge in all the activity necessary to alienate himself. Thus we can say that the truly “active” person can seem inactive, subdued and even catatonic.

We do not accept the obvious simply because we consider ourselves to be the creators of truth, and this is why reasoning has always been considered by philosophers to be the pinnacle of human achievement. Not only in ancient times but also in the Middle Ages and even on into our modern times, the idea that man could reach happiness by reasoning has been steadily nourished, as if happiness could be something we provided for ourselves. However, did not Thomas Aquinas spend his whole life trying to prove God’s existence?

Henry Bergson in France was the first thinker to give value to intuition; Husserl in Austria laid the foundations of modem psychology with his studies of consciousness; Herman Keyserling’s School of Wisdom in Darmstadt observed with notable intuition that the meaning of things could only be discovered through a peculiar intuition and the hermeneutics of symbols and myth.

We have come to an age when, as Wittgenstein astutely observed, philosophy is no longer philosophy, thus making necessary the process of integration between thought, feeling and action (philosophy, religion and science).

What I mean is that when each of these areas is isolated from each other alienation occurs. And is this not what has been accomplished? But if we unite them again, we shall have the new Man—not the product of pseudo-evolution but the real being that we are but do not express as we should. The Man that we imagine as living in the twenty-first or twenty-second century etc. is the same that exists here and now, except for a very different attitude, which is an attitude of relaxing and accepting the enormous inner richness that he possesses but does not use.