Learning Logotherapy from life of people

Junko Hiraishi Dr. Tetsu Nakamura

Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, who cultivated his skills at hospitals and was assured a bright future as a psychiatrist, first visited Pakistan with a Japanese climbing team as a doctor at the age of 32.
Worried about miserable medical situations around Pakistan people, he decided to work at a hospital in northwest Pakistan as a doctor dispatched from a Japanese charitable organization. After his six-year contract term, to provide comprehensive medical services at low prices, he established a hospital with 70 beds in 1998 in Peshawar with funds earned by himself and raised through a volunteer organization.

In 2000 when a catastrophic drought attacked Afghanistan and dysentery spread nationwide, he considered it urgent to secure sources of safe drinking water.
He led projects to dig wells and repair abandoned traditional underground channels, securing more than a thousand water sources in the country.

In 2001 when food supply to Kabul was stopped by revenge attacks of the US army, he raised “funds for lives of people” and transported food for more than 200,000 people to Kabul with the funds.
Keenly feeling the necessity of drastic project for restoration of farming villages, he launched an irrigation canal project in 2003, completing in 2010 a 25.5 kilometer-long canal, which has been reviving once-deserted villages.

Asked reasons for continuing such difficult works, he answered that he had no firm belief but just has been responding to questions from the heaven and one day he found himself staying such a long time in Afghanistan.

Naming human conscience “meaning organ,” Frankl advocated that we can detect and assess the meaning of our behavior in any given life situation through conscience.
Dr. Nakamura used his conscience as an anthena to detect questions from the heaven and responded to the questions faithfully. According to Frankl, self transcend means intending something or someone other than oneself, which is unique human way of being. Dr. Nakamura has been achieving self transcend as a human being.

Ms. Chiristine Boden

Mrs. Christine Bryden (later Boden) had been living a busy successful life as a top civil servant and single mother with three daughters until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 46.
Disconnected with society, she had to struggle not only with the disease but also biased views to Alzheimer patients. ”

She then found consolation in Christian faith from which she had been far away for a long time, discovering her role to be a spokesperson for people with dementia.
Publishing her book, Who will I be when I die? in 1998, she came out with dementia.
In 1999 she got married with Mr. Paul Boden, with whom she performed activities to support people with dementia and made recommendation to the Alzheimer’s Disease International in her capacity as a patient.

When faced with unchangeable suffering, she braved the suffering and showed that one can choose one’s attitude even in worst conditions.
Frankl highly evaluated such attitude as saying yes to life in spite of everything.
He wrote that the way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life.

Since finding her role as spokesperson for people with dementia, Christine has been energetically fulfilling the role.
Frankl asserted that spiritual personality never becomes sick. Christine is a solid proof for the view.

Ms. Yukari Masuyama

Ms. Yukari Masuyama was born in 1963 in Hokkaido as a thalidomide baby deformed in both upper limbs.
She was transferred to a children hospital in Tokyo at the age of three months, staying there for ten years.
Then she returned to Hokkaido and stayed in a medical facility and then a children’s home for eight years.
After graduating from a high school, she got a job in a pharmacy company in Tokyo.
In her mid-twenties, she participated in a self-support program for the disabled in the U.S.A., where she learned that even the disabled have right to live in dignity and can demand support from society for it.
Awaking to her right to live in dignity, she can feel herself full of energy to brave her disability.
To convey her learning to the disabled, she opened a cooking class for the disabled.
When the disabled find they can cook meal as they like, they will learn they have freedom to choose their lifestyle.

Frankl asserted that the human dignity shall be granted to all people under any situation.
He wrote that man has spiritual freedom to decide what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.

Although we have become economically affluent, we today have many mental problems, much of which we can find solutions by using Frankl’s Logotherapeutic way of thinking.