Encounters as Sources of Meaning: Remembering Dr. Robert C. Barnes
Maria (Ómoroviczai Ungár) Marshall, PhD, RP
Summary: On July 6, 2021, we received notice that the spirit of Dr. Robert C. Barnes transitioned into eternity. Dr. Barnes was my teacher, professor, mentor, friend, and colleague. He was a towering example of humility, grace, wisdom, and resilience.
At the time, I had already submitted my proposal for the next International Congress on Logotherapy, entitled “Encounters as Sources of Meaning: What the Meeting of Viktor Frankl and Sigmund Freud tells us about the Defiant Power of the Human Spirit.” Dr. Barnes phoned us on May 13th, to invite my husband and I to be Featured Speakers at that conference, which we accepted.
As requested by Dr. Patricia Starck on July 15th, I began to re-formulate this original presentation to include details about my memories with Dr. Robert C. Barnes. It is an honor to recall details of our collaboration, which started with me being accepted as one of Dr. Barnes’ students at Hardin-Simmons University in September 1994 and spanned 27 years.
Much like Viktor Frankl, who was smitten by Sigmund Freud’s poise when he encountered him by accident on the streets of Vienna in late 1924 or early 1925, I was stunned by the phenomenal presence of Dr. Barnes since I first met him in July of 1994. During this meeting Dr. Barnes told me that he pledged the rest of his life to disseminating the work of Dr. Frankl’s Logotherapy and Existential Analysis. I know that Dr. Barnes kept this promise faithfully, to the very last minutes of his earthly life.
This presentation will review new archival findings about the meeting of Viktor Frankl and Sigmund Freud that suggest that engagements where individuals are genuinely willing to de-reflect from themselves and offer their presence are conductive to learning about each other, learning from each other, and transcending physical, social, and psychological barriers and circumstances toward meaning that beckons. It will highlight the defiant power of the human spirit as a healing and life-giving inner resource and the hallmark of meaning centered encounters—the kind of meeting that I was privileged to have with Dr. Robert Barnes, who lived logotherapy to the fullest.
Maria Marshall, PhD, is the Mignon Eisenberg Professor of Logotherapy at the Graduate Theological Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK, US. She is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, Canada. She began her studies in psychology at the University of Budapest, Hungary. She completed her bachelor’s degree with first class honors in Psychology in Calgary, Alberta. She continued her studies at Hardin-Simmons University, Texas, where she completed her master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development. She earned her PhD degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled: Viktor E. Frankl’s meaning-oriented approach to counselling psychology. She trained in logotherapy and existential analysis (LTEA) with Elisabeth Lukas, PhD, a prominent student of Viktor Frankl in Vienna, Austria. She is Diplomate Clinician, Lifetime Member and Faculty Member of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy. She worked as Registered Psychologist in British Columbia and as Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, England, UK. She is Certified Supervisor with the National Consortium in Health Education, University of Ottawa, Canada. Her research interests are the applications of evidence-based meaning-centered interventions in clinical practice and everyday living. She is the author of several books and peer reviewed articles on logotherapy and existential analysis.