Viktor Emil Frankl was born on 26 March 1905. He was an Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist, author, philosopher. He had survived holocaust survivor.

His autobiographical book Man’s Search for Meaning has been a best-selling book for several decades, the book is based on his experiences in various concentration camps during the Nazi era in Germany.

He was the founder of the very popular school of psychotherapy that describes a search for the meaning of life as the central human motivational force called Logotherapy.

Source: Wikipedia

“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

Viktor Frankl

LOGOTHERAPY

Logotherapy is a term derived from the Greek word “logos,” which translates as “meaning,” and therapy, which is defined as the treatment of a condition or illness. Developed by Viktor Frankl, the theory is founded on the belief that human nature is motivated by the search for a life purpose; logotherapy is the pursuit of that meaning for one’s life. Frankl’s theories were heavily influenced by his personal experiences of suffering and loss in Nazi concentration camps.

There are 3 components of Logotherapy:

  1. Everyone has a healthy inner core.
  2. The primary goal is to enlighten people to one’s internal resources and equip them with the tools and technologies to use the inner core.
  3. Life does not owe us a sense of fulfillment or happiness, it only offers us all purpose and meaning.

MEANING AND PURPOSE

We all are driven to find purpose and meaning in life and it can be discovered in 3 different ways based on Frankl’s Logotherapy.

  1. Create work or accomplish some task.
  2. Experiencing things fully or love someone fully.
  3. Your attitude toward unavoidable sufferings in life.

Suffering is an integral part of life design and we humans have the ultimate freedom as our ability to choose our response to unwanted and painful events in life. By identifying unique roles in our lives that only we can fulfill, we give meaning to our individual life.

VIKTOR FRANKL TECHNIQUES

The 3 main techniques are:

  1. Dereflection: It is used when someone is overly selfish on any matter or achieving of a goal.
  2. Paradoxical intention: It involves asking for something that the person fears the most in his or her life.
  3. Socratic dialogue: This technique involves using a person’s own words for self-discovery.

CONDITIONS TREATED

According to Frankl most illness and mental health issues are because of existential anxiety. He says that most people struggle with meaninglessness in life which is also called existential vacuum. Logotherapy is considered a possible treatment method for a lot of issues in life that are existential in nature, like depression and substance abuse.

CRITICISM

Rollo May is considered the founder of the existential movement in the USA. He says that Frankl’s therapy is authoritarian in nature, The therapy promises clear solutions to all problems in life and that it provides people with meaning of life.

Frankl on the criticism said the logotherapy does not takes responsibility away from the people to find meaning in their life; He says that therapy educates the people about their own responsibility in life to find solutions and meaning.

Photo Credit: Barry Brownstein