The Four Seasons is a timeless piece of music composed by Antonio Vivaldi. It evokes life-like images and allegorical illustrations. The melody, the tempo, the timbre, the dynamics and the harmony paint a vivid picture inviting the audience to join in the full drama of being: to experience the rapturous joys of birth and creation, the quiet moments of reflection and contemplation, the silence of discernment and observation, the angst of longing, the hope of planning, the excitement of action and reflection, the mystery of death and re-birth, and many more such significant instances.
What is the meaning of Vivaldi's Four Seasons for our contemporary way of living? Viktor E. Frankl, MD, PhD (1905-1997) is the founder of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, a humanistic-existentialist approach to health care, counselling and psychotherapy. Logotherapy is unique among other approaches as it offers a holistic view of the human person as a three-dimensional being with a body, mind, and spirit. Its main premise is that human beings are primarily motivated by the will to meaning. Existential Analysis offers an explication of human experience in relation to meaning.
The authors employed a qualitative method to disseminate the many layers of meaning apparent in Vivaldi's engaging work. The Sonnets upon which Vivaldi wrote his music were examined in the light of the author's understanding of Frankl's Logotherapy and Existential Analysis.
The findings of this inductive and deductive process are summarized in successive chapters. They present the emerging key concepts of Frankl's theory. They describe the "seasons of growth" as an evolving appreciation of the significance of finding meaning in life in all circumstances, even the most miserable. They illustrate the dynamics in the music which appear to dovetail the dynamics of meaning-seeking, finding meaning, and the actualization of meaning in the four seasons. Conscious and unconscious resources of the human spirit for finding meaning, and fostering the dynamics of meaning seeking through self-discovery, and increased capacity for self-awareness, self-distancing and self-transcendence are discussed. The paramount importance of finding meaning for optimal well-being is highlighted. The benefit of employing art therapy in addition to traditional talk therapy is that is aids the visual representation of conscious and unconscious phenomena.
Meaning-oriented art therapy allows to tap into the conscious and unconscious resources of the human spirit, which offers an indispensable dimension for healing. Forty exercises were selected from review of literature and the authors' clinical experience. They were grouped based on face value into four categories for facilitating self-discovery, self-distancing and self-transcendence through the "four seasons," corresponding to the main theme of each season. Meaning-oriented artistic expressions are a natural way of utilizing the resources we possess for increasing well-being. They are instrumental in visualizing the dynamics and processes involved in our search for meaning.
About the Authors:
Maria Marshall, Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada, began her studies in psychology at the University of Budapest, Hungary. She moved to Canada and completed her Bachelor's Degree with first class honours in psychology in Calgary, Alberta. She continued her studies at Hardin-Simmons University, Texas, where she completed her Master's Degree in Counselling and Human Development. She returned to Canada where she earned her PhD Degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Subsequently, she trained with Elisabeth Lukas, a former student of Viktor Frankl in Vienna, Austria. She worked as a counselling psychologist in Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. She taught psychology at the University of Portsmouth, England.
Her research interests are evidence based meaning-centered interventions and their applications in clinical practice and everyday living. She is author of several books and peer review articles.
She offers courses on Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
Edward Marshall, Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada, worked as a family doctor and completed a PhD in Neurosciences in Spain.
Subsequently, he studied psychotherapy within a Clinical Psychiatry program at the University of Leeds in England. He worked in hospitals and community mental health centers. He trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and humanistic-existential psychotherapy.
Since he moved to Canada, he worked as psychotherapist and offered courses on Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy. In addition, he provides executive coaching services.
His research interests are studying models of the freedom of will and consent in relationships. He is author of several books and peer review articles.
Edward is Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. He offers bilingual courses on Logotherapy and Existential Analysis and Existential Coaching.