Dr. Alex BatthyanyAlex Batthyány holds the Endowed Viktor Frankl Chair for Philosophy and Psychology at the International Academy of Philosophy, University in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He teaches theory of Cognitive Science at Vienna University’s Cognitive Science Program and Logotherapy and Existential Analysis at the Department of Psychiatry at Vienna Medical School. Since 2012, Batthyány is Visiting Professor for Existential Psychotherapy at the Moscow University Institute of Psychoanalysis. He is director of the Viktor Frankl Institute and the Viktor Frankl Archives in Vienna and first editor of the 14-volume Edition of the Collected Works of Viktor Frankl. Together with David Guttmann (Univ. Haifa), he authored the first comprehensive research monograph on logotherapy and existential analysis, covering over 600 peer-reviewed experimental and clinical studies published between 1975 and 2006.

Dr. Batthyány is editor-in-chief of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis: Proceedings of the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna (New York: Springer 2016). He has written or edited 15 books and a large number articles and lectures internationally on logotherapy, existential psychology and psychotherapy, philosophy of psychology, and theory of cognitive science. His publications have been translated into Russian, Hungarian, Spanish, Japanese, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Italian.

Dr. Alex Batthyány will be giving the following keynote lecture for the 9th Biennial International Meaning Conference, July 28-31, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.


Keynote Title

The Forgotten Key: Responsibility and Empowerment

Scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Abstract

With the advent of positive psychology and the renaissance of contemporary existential psychology, meaning and purpose developed into one of the core themes of current psychological thinking and research. At the same time, it has to be noted that these two psychological schools of thought take two slightly differing perspectives on meaning: positive psychology tells us that meaning awareness helps us to function and flourish; and existential psychology tells us that it helps us to cope with uncertainty, death awareness, and existential anxiety.

What appears to missing, however, is a more thorough conceptual understanding of the mindset which facilitates meaning-orientation (and thus, by extensions, activates both potent thriving and coping resources and well-being). Indeed, in comparing a large number of successful and unsuccessful meaning-oriented clinical interventions, our study group at the University of Vienna found one single and decisive factor, the presence or absence of a mindset encompassing responsibility and empowerment.

Based on these findings, I will attempt to reintroduce a core psychological concept which was held to be a key meaning ingredient by most of the early proponents of meaning-oriented psychology, namely responsibility. I will present a wide range of empirical, clinical, and theoretical evidence which strongly suggests that a mindset of responsibility is indeed one of the key factors for activating meaning awareness and existential fulfillment. This talk will make the point that if Second Wave Positive Psychology is to succeed to transform our understanding of meaning in life, it will need to consider not only meaning and meaning seeking as such, but also the psychological binding mechanism between the individual and his or her personal meaning: responsibility and responsiveness to the need and meaning potential of any given situation and life context.

Learning Objectives

  1. Making listeners aware of the larger corpus of existential psychology and its relevance for clinical practice, empirical research and theory building today.
  2. Equipping researchers and clinicians alike with a forgotten core concept of the process of commitment to personal meaning, responsibility
  3. Offering new perspectives on what research proves to be the core element which contrasts successful and unsuccessful meaning-oriented therapeutic interventions.
  4. Opening up the field of meaning-oriented research to two largely neglected, yet crucial interrelated factors for the practical application and realisation of meaning in life.
  5. Advancing 2nd Wave Positive Psychology by inclusion of one of the central elements of personal and existential maturity: Commitment and responsibility.