Optimal Sense-Making and Resilience in Times of Pandemic: Integrating Rationality and Meaning in Psychotherapy

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Matti Ameli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The global COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a wide variety of psychological crises worldwide. In order to respond rapidly and efficiently to the complex challenges, mental health professionals are required to adopt a multidimensional and integrative view. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) founded by Albert Ellis promotes rationality and self-acceptance. Logotherapy, pioneered by Viktor Frankl potentiates meaning and resilience. Both approaches are complementary and mutually enriching. The goal of this paper is to propose an integrative model of “optimal sense-making,” a concept that combines both rationality and meaning, as well as the role of self-transcendence and healthy negative emotions. The model offers a theoretical and clinical foundation for efficient and effective psychological intervention plans for those affected by the pandemic. Along with theoretical background, illustrating case studies are presented to support potential application of the integrative model to affected individuals as well as the work of first-line health professionals during these times of pandemic. Implications are considered for utilizing theoretical and applied insights from the model to cultivate resilience in face of adversity and suffering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number645926
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Russo-Netzer and Ameli.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • logotherapy
  • meaning
  • rational emotive behavior therapy
  • rationality
  • resilience
  • self-transcendence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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