Viktor Frankl – an Overview of Logotherapy Essay

The term ‘Logotherapy’ can be described as taken from the Grecian significance of ‘logos’ and ‘therapy’ . ‘Therapy’ is the intervention which is given to mend a upset. Having looked into the significance of the term ‘logos. ’ I was really surprised that the description was linked to Jesus!

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Harmonizing to Wikipedia. John’s Gospel identifies the ‘Logos’ as the one through which all things are made. and farther to this describes Jesus as being the ‘incarnate Logos’ ( bodied significance to be embodied in flesh or taking on flesh ) ( 1 )

The Grecian word ‘logos’ traditionally meant ‘word’ . ‘thought’ . rule. or address. Two chief waies can be followed from this- the first being ‘human reason’ ( the ability of the human head to understand the universe in a rational mode ) and. as already mentioned above. ‘universal intelligence’-the sense of the ‘Divine’ . ( 2 ) For Frankl the description of his work seems to indicate to the former- this being ‘human reason’- an single needing to happen a ‘meaning’ for being.

In his book ’The will to meaning’ ( 3 ) . Frankl is seeking to depict the manner psychologists/psychiatrists might seek to understand the many aspects of a human expressing or happening significance in the universe. He is showing the different thoughts given by depth psychology ; Adler ; and other persons.

The dimension ( he speaks of worlds as holding many dimensions- and that by seeking to encompass these one is able to acquire a full image of who they are ) . of ‘logos’ in the range of logotherapy. implies ‘meaning’ . and besides implies ‘spirit’ ( as mentioned above ) . Frankl says this is without any primary spiritual intension. He states that ‘logos’ means the humanity of the human being- plus the significance of being human. ( 3 )

So what I gather from his Hagiographas ; Frankl desired his ‘logotherapy’ to encompass all of what it means to be human and besides the significance of being human. ( my ain apprehension )

Introducing Dr Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was the laminitis of logotherapy In ‘Mans search for meaning’ ( 1959 ) the debut describes it as the ‘third Viennese school of psychotherapy’- after Freud’s depth psychology and Adler’s single psychological science ( 4 ) .

Frankl was born in Vienna to a Judaic household whose working background was in the civil service. Frankl took another path- he studied medical specialty at the University of Vienna. where he specialized in neurology ( a survey of upsets of the nervous system ) and psychopathology. The subjects he was most interested in were depression and self-destruction.

During his clip as a medical pupil. he organised a particular guidance plan for high school pupils ( this was between 1928 & A ; 1930 ) . One good known psychologist. Charlotte Buhler. was involved. The success of this plan resulted in no pupils perpetrating self-destruction in Vienna in 1931.

His completed his neurology and psychopathology preparation in Vienna in 1937 and afterwards set up a private pattern.

When the Nazi’s foremost occupied Austria. Viktor had the chance to fly to America. as he had been granted an in-migration visa. He couldn’t decide whether to travel and prosecute his work in logotherapy. or to stay with his parents and face the Nazi government.

He explains in ‘Man’s hunt for meaning’ ( 1992 )

‘It was so I noticed a piece of marble lying on a tabular array at place … ( his male parent ) had found it on the site where the National Socialists had burned down the largest Viennese temple. . … . . One gilded Hebrew missive was engraved on the piece ; my male parent explained that this missive stood for one of the commandments…’Honour thy male parent and thy female parent that thy yearss may be long upon the land. ’ ( p13 )

This was the minute that he decided to stay in Vienna with his parents and allow his visa oversight.

Experiences of life in concentration cantonment

Although Frankl had already begun to explicate thoughts of logotherapy before the war. it was the clip that he spent in concentration cantonments that truly cemented his thoughts together and persuaded him that his thoughts had a really practical usage.

His experiences of this clip are described vividly in his book ‘Man’s hunt for significance ; the authoritative testimonial to trust from the Holocaust’ . This was foremost published in German in 1946 and subsequently in English as ‘From Death-Camp to Existentialism’ . When I was get downing to believe about my research paper. I foremost read this book. It gave me such insight into the footing of his work and besides of the power that it had to change the class of an individual’s life.

That he continued to happen significance during this clip ; despite losing his married woman. brother. female parent and male parent in the Holocaust ; I think is a testament. both to his strength of character. and to the value of his work. The lone lasting member of his household was his sister Stella. who had managed to immigrate to Australia.

The major subject. I took from his book ; was in the battle found by persons as they tried to last prison camp life. both within the confines they found between each other ( as chap captives ) and when confronting the Capos ( captives who were given particular privileges ) . and eventually the SS guards. What stood out to me was that Frankl found – despite the Capos being Judaic captives. that they were comparable to the SS guards and the cantonment wardens. on a psychological footing. ( 5 ) .

I took from the book that. the world of prison life seemed. non merely a war against the Nazi’s ; but against persons. and about the resources that could be found within and between each other to last the environment. The state of affairs crossed over normal boundaries and intend that people were placed in state of affairss that meant they were stretched three ways: emotionally. physically and psychologically. Those that survived. were those that managed to undertake all these: and yet remain. It was within these confines. that Viktor Frankl managed. non merely to last. and to stay sane ; but besides to compose down his experiences ; run as a physician. and to convey together his curative ideas- into ‘logotherapy. ’

I want to convey into this paper a cardinal component of his experiences in the concentration camps- as to me it was such powerful reading ; it spoke strongly of what Frankl followed on to concentrate his work on. It besides has a clear message for anyone who faces agony.

The beginning of the book clearly says that it was non meant as an history of facts or events – but that it was an effort to do sense of the experiences that were faced by the captives that Frankl was a portion of. ( 6 ) . I translate this to intend that it is non of import to look into the item of the book. but to take from it the really kernel of the world of life in such utmost conditions as a German tally concentration cantonment in the 1940’s.

. Frankl describes the battle for endurance when people are confronting being taken to another camp- or confronting the gas Chamberss. The first graphic description of seeking to last. was in the face of the determination between those who were considered as worthless ( non suit to work ; weak or ailment ) – who would be sent straight to major cantonments to the gas Chamberss ) and those who tried to look good and able to transport on. In his book. Frankl explains that the battle was major. and that captives tried all kinds of methods to remain alive- even set uping for another individual to take his topographic point in the conveyance. Frankl concludes that the best of the people did non stay alive. ( 7 )

Frankl tries to explicate that he can non put his narrative as an nonsubjective description of what happened ; he besides tries to explicate that many people. who had experienced such atrocious. flagitious times in a decease cantonment. would non desire to live over them. He says that he wanted to print the book anonymously. but realised that this would intend it lost most of its value- so he agreed to all of it being published. even though he didn’t want any of the recognition. ( 8 )

Existentialism and logotherapy

Frankl began to utilize the term ‘Existenzanalyse’ every bit early as the 1930’s. American documents translated this term as ‘existential analysis’ ; but they besides translated the work of Ludwig Binswanger in the same way- in German his work was called ‘Daseinsanalyse’ .

The American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘existentialism’ as


‘A doctrine that emphasizes the singularity and isolation of the single experience in a hostile or apathetic existence. respects human being as unaccountable. and stresses freedom of pick and duty for the effects of one’s Acts of the Apostless. ’ ( 8b )

An alternate definition is

‘Existentialism is a philosophical manner of thought that is really different from other philosophical thoughts. It sees worlds. with will and consciousness. as being in a universe of objects which do non hold those qualities. The fact that worlds are witting of their mortality. and must do determinations about their life is what existential philosophy is all about. ’ [ 8c ]

My ain apprehension of ‘existentialism’ is that as human existences. as persons. we need to cover with life. and this consequences in the demand to do picks. It recognises the moral moral force and the demand to rationalize actions and their effects.

Because Frankl’s work embraced the construct of existential philosophy. ab initio the same definition was given. However Frankl did non experience that his theory was as such: he explains in the debut of his book ‘Psychotherapy and Existentialism’ ( 1967 ) . why he uses the term ‘logotherapy’ instead than ‘existential analysis’ .

‘Logotherapy represents one of the schools in the field of psychotherapeutics. and. more specifically. is considered by assorted writers to fall under the class of ‘existential psychiatry… . they ( American authors ) used the same term to cover the instructions of the late Ludwig Binswanger…Thus experiential analysis became an equivocal impression. In order non to add to the confusion…I decided to utilize merely the term ‘logotherapy’ and to forbear every bit much as possible from utilizing its equivalent word. experiential analysis. as a interlingual rendition of Existenzanalyse. ’ ( Foreword eight )

What is the footing of Logotherapy?

In his paper ‘The Philosophical Foundations of Logotherapy’ ( 1963 ) ( 9 ) Frankl discusses the footing of Logotherapy. He explains that logotherapy goes farther than experiential analysis because it is non merely concerned with being or world ( the Greek term- ‘ontos’ ) . but besides ‘logos’ or intending. It is non merely an analysis of a topic. but it besides has an application as a curative technique.

The roots of Logotherapy rely upon a peculiar philosophical expression at life ; Frankl describes this doctrine as holding ‘three cardinal assumptions’ ( 10 ) .

• Freedom of will

• Will to intend

• Meaning of life

Freedom of Will

This premise can be explained in footings that a individual has the freedom to believe or believe what they choose to. One exclusion to this is the schizophrenic patient who experiences psychotic beliefs and voices that can get the better of their head. and sense of world.

A individual is free to believe ; but this is limited by the conditions in which they live- whether this is biological. sociological or psychological. The freedom that is ever available nevertheless is the pick a individual is able to do about his attitude to the fortunes or state of affairs he faces. ( 11 )

Will to intend

Frankl distinguishes between ‘instinctual drives’ or ‘needs’ described in Freudian footings and ‘meaning’ : the desire of adult male to make out to other people and effort to happen significance.

If significance was a ‘need’ ( as inherent aptitudes are ) . so it will ensue in the single seeking to fulfill them. The difference with ‘meaning’ to life is that it is achieved when a individual finds a intent through relationship with others. The differentiation here is that the focal point is on the other individual and non on the single seeking significance. In simpler footings. the first 1 is selfish and the 2nd is unselfish.

Frankl considers self- realization as being a good thing. but merely in that it can be achieved in footings of how much a individual finds significance and intent in life. It is another ‘side-effect’ .

In ‘Psychotherapy and Existentialism’ ( 1967 ) . Frankl gives a valuable description of human being. After being given the gift of a throwing stick. he realises the symbolic nature it held:

‘Generally. one assumes that a throwing stick returns to the huntsman ; but really I have been told in Australia. a throwing stick merely comes back to the huntsman when it has missed its mark. the quarry. Well adult male besides merely returns to himself. to being concerned with his ego. after he has missed his mission. has failed to happen significance in his life. ’ ( p9 )

He explains farther that adult male finds individuality merely every bit long as he is working for some cause or intent. which is beyond himself. or greater than himself.

To foreground this point. he uses the Bible narrative of when the Israelites were going through the desert. God’s glorification went earlier them as a cloud. and showed them the manner to travel. If the cloud had been among the people. they would hold been blinded and got lost. In the same manner. if significance is sought after within a individual. so it will be clouded ; whereas if significance is separate or greater than a individual. so it can supply way. ( 12 )

In logotherapy. a individual is confronted with the significance of their life. and as such. who or what they are responsible to/for. This can be society. God. his scruples. humanity. This is the following measure in assisting him to happen significance to life.

The Meaning of Life

What is intending? Having considered ‘freedom of will’ and so ‘will to meaning’ . this leads us to believe about ‘meaning’ and what it entails.

Frankl describes life as meaningful in three ways

• In what we can give to life ( our creativeness )

• In what we take from the universe ( sing value )

• In the attitude we take in confronting something we can non alter ( such as a fatal disease. loss. in fact any agony )

All humanity faces hurting. decease and guilt. and Frankl believes that logotherapy can assist us confront these and still happen significance. ( 13 )

Following on from this. we can sometimes confront what Frankl describes as ‘meaning defeat or experiential frustration’ ( 14 ) . He finds that this presents itself in people who feel that their life has no significance. particularly when they experience a nothingness which he describes as an ‘existential vacuum’ . This he finds present in many pupils who have committed self-destruction.

At the terminal of his paper. Frankl referred to Goethe and stated that he was the kind of realist that agreed with the undermentioned statement:

“If you treat an person as he is. he will stay how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be. he will go what he ought to be and could be. ” ? Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is different about Logotherapy to other theories?

In his book ‘Man’s hunt for meaning’ ( 2004 ) Frankl explains one of the chief differences of logotherapy to depth psychology.

‘logotherapy in comparing to depth psychology. is a method which is less retrospective and less introverted. ’ ( p104 )

In contrast to depth psychology. which deals with a person’s yesteryear and possible account for how they are ; logotherapy concentrates a individual on their hereafter and seeks to happen a sense of significance or aim for their life in the present.

Psychoanalysis is based on the rule that adult male will ‘seek pleasure’- that is his cardinal thrust in bing.

Individual psychological science ( as described by Alfred Adler ) is based on the rule that adult male will endeavor for ‘power’ or a sense of ‘superiority’ ( as opposed to experiencing inferior ) .

Logotherapy focusses on a ‘will to meaning’ ; the belief that man’s chief thrust in bing is to happen significance and intent.

In the paper ‘Beyond self-actualisation and self-expression’ ( 1959 ) ( 15 ) Frankl discusses why human being is much more than merely seeking to run into demands and accomplish satisfaction/equilibrium. He explains that if all worlds were merely seeking to prolong their being. so they would stop up sing everything in the universe about them as merely a agency of fulfilling their demands. Frankl uses the term ‘monadologistic’ ( 16 ) to depict this degree of relationship.

In this paper he considers two common issues- the seeking of pleasance. and seeking peace of head. If a individual were to endeavor strictly for pleasance. Frankl sees that it is about ever traveling to neglect. He considers that this is because pleasance is a side consequence of accomplishing a undertaking. It is about as if the chase of pleasance entirely really destroys it ( the pleasance ) in the procedure. In the same manner he sees that a individual additions peace of head as a side consequence of his life style. and non by doing it a end.

‘It is a dogma of logotherapy that the more one purpose at pleasance. the more he misses it’ ( 17 )

Logotherapy and my ain ‘way of working’

The more I have studied logotherapy. the more I feel drawn to the construct of people necessitating to hold a significance for ‘being’ . Having faced terrible depression and self-destructive ideas ; it has ever been the desire for me to concentrate on why my life is worthwhile. Even during times when I couldn’t ‘feel’ worthwhile. the cognition that I was needed and mattered to others. ever spurred me on to go on populating. It is from this footing. that I feel the thoughts behind logotherapy are really of import.

The quandary I am still confronting is whether I include this position in my work as a counselor. It so follows that if I do make up one’s mind to ; so how do I work it in. as an attack which sits comfortably with the nucleus conditions.

In one sense I think being aware of construct of ‘existential meaning’ ; it gives me consciousness of the issues my clients may confront. If this issue is raised so I could research it in a really individual centred manner ; ever concentrating on what they find meaningful.

To give an illustration ; if a client was confronting injury from hard relationship issues. I would work with them ; this may or may non touch on their ‘meaning for living’ . unless it linked into their ‘conditions of worth’ . that they merely felt worthwhile by staying in the relationship at whatever cost to themselves. This might touch on their ain feelings of what they saw their intent in life was- and so by remaining focussed on what they were conveying into the room ; it might take into them researching their feelings around what they felt they desired for their ain life. and what they felt was most of import. I guess by understanding Victor Frankl and his whole theory. it will forever assist me to see the demand in my clients to gain their significance and sense of intent. As a Christian. I really much subscribe up to this. as the very nature of being a kid of God means that I am valued. non merely because I am alone. but because He has created me to carry through merely those functions and state of affairss that I am best designed to fulfil- this is what gives me intending in my life.

Logotherapy- an added significance to depth psychology.

In his book ‘The Will to Meaning’ ( 18 ) ; Frankl describes in item the different ways of looking at theories and thoughts of well-known psycho-analysists and psychologists. Throughout his work he is highly respectful of the work of Freud ; of Adler and of other good known theoreticians of his clip. He uses really simple images of a cylinder- ( see figure 1 ) He explains that the image of the cylinder can be seen in 1 2 dimensional manner as either a rectangle or a circle. Neither of these images gives a complete image of the cylinder. This Frankl likens to our ain construct of human being. We are made up of organic structure. head and psyche. In Freuds footings we are seeking to happen pleasance in our being. In ‘Adlers footings we are seeking power. Frankl uses the illustrations to demo that. yes we have these points of being. but unless we look at the whole image. we do non see worlds in the whole sense. The losing sense for Viktor Frankl is that as human existences. we need to experience a sense of significance or intent for being ; this is different to other theories. because by seeking significance. it about gives the other intents ‘life. ’

He goes on to depict the importance of being cognizant that adult male has different dimensions- particularly when handling a individual for a neuroticism. He explains three different types of neuroticism ( which are likened to the three circles on the figure 2 ) . The first being a neuroticism caused by a clinical upset ( encephalon chemical science ) ; the 2nd being caused by a physical upset. such as thyrotoxicosis and eventually the 3rd he calls ‘noogenic neurosis’ caused by spiritual/moral quandary. Frankl likens these as being the consequence of ‘existential vacuum’ or life feeling meaningless. The chief symptoms of this type of vacuity are ennui and apathy.

Using the illustration of the three circles. Frankl explains that the grounds behind a neuroticism. will non ever be known- the of import point is for the therapist/psychiatrist to be cognizant that there are other dimensions to a human. ( 19 )