Frankl was referring to the prisoners in WWII concentration camps. The atrocities they suffered required them to go to extremes to survive the immense psychological, emotional, and physical distress they were exposed to. While it may be impossible for us to relate to their experience, we share the same humanity and with it, the same survival instinct.

Many times, what we see as problems are actually ways we have learned to cope with enduring suffering. I’m reminded of another quote from John Bowlby, “all behavior makes sense in context”. This is important because it validates the good reasons behind why we’re struggling which in turn creates more openness to change. Validation is something that none of us get enough of in this world, especially when it comes to “abnormal” reactions. Often times, we need our context acknowledged before we can summon the courage to find new ways to cope. This isn’t meant to endorse or excuse behavior but rather make room for reality. Being seen in this way is an essential part of recovering from those abnormal circumstances that continue to impact us throughout our lives.

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* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.⁣


Jonathan Dixon, LMFT
Alpha Omega Team