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Logotherapy in a Nutshell. Man’s Search for Meaning By Victor E. Frankl.

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logotherapy in a nutshell

Logotherapy in a Nutshell

Man’s Search for Meaning


Victor E. Frankl


Literally, logotherapy means 'therapy through meaning'. It's an active-directive therapy aimed at helping people specifically with meaning crises, which manifest themselves either in a feeling of aimlessness or indirectly through addiction, alcoholism or depression. Logotherapy also employs techniques useful for phobias, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and medical ministry. Other applications include working with juvenile delinquents, career counselling and helping all of us find more meaning in life.

the existentialist framework
The Existentialist Framework
  • It's existentialist because it emphasises the freedom of the will and the consequent responsibility.
  • Italso asserts the importance of the meaning of life.
  • Freud said human's have a will to pleasure and Adler the will to power, Frankl says we have a will to meaning. If it is frustrated, spiritual (noogenic) neuroses result.
  • Frankl argued that the spiritual (noetic) dimension of man should be added to the physical and psychological dimensions.
  • For Frankl, ultimate meaning does exist and is unique to each person and each situation. Each moment offers 'a sequence of unrepeatable situations each of which offers a specific meaning to be recognized and fulfilled'.
  • Meaning cannot be invented but must be discovered.
the stoic connection
The Stoic Connection
  • No matter what the state of the world, our
  • attitude can always help us.
  • The Stoic, Epictetus held that 'Men are not
  • moved by events but by their interpretations'.
  • Even in facing death and suffering, by showing
  • courage we can turn a situation into a supremely
  • meaningful one. 
the meaning of life
The Meaning of Life
  • It differs from person to person; from day to day; from hour to hour
  • It isn’t about the general meaning of life
  • It is about the meaning of person’s life at any given moment
  • Frankl argues that one shouldn’t ask “What is the meaning of life?”
  • It is, rather, life asking us to speak for our own lives
  • We can only respond by being responsible
the essence of existence
The Essence of Existence
  • “Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now”
  • Imagine that the present is past and that the past may yet be changed
  • Human beings are charged with the responsibility of actualizing their own potential meaning in life
  • The only true meaning in life is to be discovered in the world and not in the human psyche
  • This is known as the “Self-transcendence of human existence”
self actualization
“Self Actualization”
  • The more one forgets one’s own self, the more human the person becomes
  • One cannot attain self-actualization. Rather, self-actualization is a side effect of self-transcendence
  • This is achieved in one of three ways:
    • By doing some work or deed
    • By experiencing something or encountering someone
    • By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering
the meaning of love
The Meaning of Love
  • Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of one’s personality
  • In order to become fully aware of another, one must love that person
  • Love enables one to see the essential traits and features in the beloved
  • It allows one to see the potential in the other
  • Furthermore, the loving person helps the other achieve those potentialities
  • In some cases, sexual expression is a side effect of that love
the meaning of suffering
The Meaning of Suffering
  • Suffering provides for one to bear witness to the human potential at its best
  • We transform personal tragedy into triumph
  • Suffering, however, is not necessary to finding meaning in life
  • Meaning is possible in spite of suffering – if the suffering is unavoidable
  • Frankl is speaking of the attitude one takes towards one’s fate and the potential to see a meaning in one’s suffering