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Psychotherapy Research: Logotherapy Jonathan Guillen Langara College Abstract This paper is intended to describe and provide examples of logotherapy and where it came from. Logotherapy was developed by Viktor Frankl and is used to help clients perceive their own life and try to find meaning for it. The process of logotherapy is based on the idea that our primary motivation to life is to find meaning. This Unique form of therapy uses the idea of meaning like no other therapy has.
It has received generally positive criticism and is still in use today to help people deal with anxiety disorders. LOGOTHERAPY The term “Logotherapy,” which is founded by Viktor Frankl, is derived from the Greek word, “logos”, which means “meaning”. The word “therapy” deals with the treatment for disorders. Frankl’s concept is based on the idea that our primary motivation in life is to find a meaning in life. Logotherapy was first published in 1938 Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy.
During his early teenage years, Frankl became interested in psychology and even though he was in high school he also attended college psychology classes. He became interested in Sigmund Freud’s work and sent an article to him, titled “Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psycholanalyse” to which he accepted. But by the time it was published, Frankle was now influenced by Adler’s work. At 17, Frankl lectured at his college and discussed a topic on the meaning of life.
His two main points were that “life does not answer our questions about the meaning of life but rather puts those questions on us,” and “the ultimate meaning of life is beyond the grasp of our intellect, but is something we only can live by, without ever being able to define it cognitively” After Adler established his school of psychology around the same time the First World War ended, many people had the existential question of the meaning of life, which was of course what Frankl took advantage of. In 1930, new concepts and coined new terms, namely,
Logotherapy. ‘With the rise of Hitler, Frankl was taken to a concentration camp. Although he was stripped of everything, during this time he managed to write his book Aerztliche Seelsorge, later published in English as “The Doctor and the Soul. ”’ “The Doctor and the Soul” had Frankl’s theories. The 3 tenets of Logotherapy were tested in the camps in which he was in. 1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. 2. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. 3.
We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or a least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering. After his release, Frankl refined and strengthened the idea of Logotherapy. He worked at a hospital where he would practice his methods on patients Assumptions There are several assumptions in Logotherapy, which like any other form of psychotherapy, cannot be proven or disproven with any absolution. The Logotherapy Institute states that “to see if these assumptions make sense in our lives, we must assume that they are true. The following list is the assumptions of Logotherapy as listed on the Logotherapy Institute website. 1. “The human being is an entity consisting of body, mind, and spirit. 2. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable. 3. People have a will to meaning. 4. People have freedom under all circumstances to activate the will to find meaning. 5. Life has a demand quality to which people must respond if decisions are to be meaningful. 6. The individual is unique. “The first assumption deals with the body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (noos).
According to Frankl, the body and mind are what we have and the spirit is what we are. Assumption two is “ultimate meaning”. This is difficult to grasp but it is something everyone experiences and it represents an order in a world with laws that go beyond human laws. The third assumption is seen as our main motivation for living and acting. When we see meaning we are ready for any type of suffering. This is considered to be different than our will to achieve power and pleasure. Assumption four is that we are free to activate our will to find meaning and this can be done nder any circumstances. This deals with change of attitudes about unavoidable fate. Frankl was able to test the first four assumptions when he was confined in the concentration camps. The fifth assumption, the meaning of the moment, is more practical in daily living than ultimate meaning. Unlike ultimate meaning this meaning can be found and fulfilled. This can be done by following the values of society or by following the voice of our conscience. The sixth assumption deals with one’s sense of meaning. This is enhanced by the realization that we are irreplaceable. Key Concepts Frankl’s approach is based on three concepts: * Freedom of Will * Will to Meaning, * Meaning in Life Freedom of Will According to Logotherapy, we are free to make decisions and we are capable of taking our stance towards psychological and biological or social conditions. Freedom is defined by Logotherapy as the space of shaping one’s own life within the limits of the given possibilities. Our freedom comes from the spiritual dimension of the person. As spiritual people, we are autonomous beings capable of actively shaping our lives.
The idea of freedom of will plays an important role in psychotherapy, in that it provides clients with room for autonomous action even in the face of somatic or psychological illness. It will help them cope with their symptoms and will be able to take control of their lives and gain some determination to take control. Will to Meaning This concept describes humans as striving to achieve goals and finding a purpose. This is derived from the idea that our primary motivation is to find a meaning in life.
If we cannot realize our Will to Meaning, we pose our existential questions and consider ourselves to be meaningless and feel a sense of emptiness. This frustration of the need to be able to find meaning and not being able to could lead to aggression, addiction, depression and possible suicide and could increase neurotic disorders. Logotherapy/Existential Analysis (LTEA) assists clients in perceiving and removing the factors that hold them back from pursuing meaningful goals in their lives. Clients are assisted in the perception of meaning potentials; clients are not offered specific meanings.
Instead, they are guided and assisted in finding out their own meanings and purposes that could be possible for their own lives, on their own. Meaning in Life LTEA is based on the idea that meaning is not an illusion, but an actual obtainable substance. According to LTEA humans try their hardest to do the best for themselves and for their surroundings by finding a meaning in every situation of each moment. The meaning potentials are continually changing based on the current situation of a person.
LTEA does not tell or offer a meaning to client, but instead, helps the client achieve the ability to shape their own lives in a meaningful way to help them find their own meaning in their own lives. Therapeutic techniques Paradoxical Intention Paradoxical Intention is used for those with compulsive disorders and anxiety disorders. The idea is to get the client to expose themselves intentionally or to wish for a situation that creates anxiety. This is used to break the cycle of a symptom that creates a symptom that is so feared that the anxiety rises, and thus, creates that very symptom one feared.
A popular case study is the case of the sweating doctor: “A young doctor had severe hydrophobia. One day, meeting his chief on the street, as he extended his hand in greeting, he noticed that he was perspiring more than usual. The next time he was in a similar situation he expected to perspire again, and this anticipatory anxiety precipitated excessive sweating. It was a vicious circle … We advised our patient, in the event that his anticipatory anxiety should recur, to resolve deliberately to show the people whom he confronted at the time just how much he could really sweat.
A week later he returned to report that whenever he met anyone who triggered his anxiety, he said to himself, “I only sweated out a litre before, but now I’m going to pour out at least ten litres ! ” What was the result of this paradoxical resolution ? After suffering from his phobia for four years, he was quickly able, after only one session, to free himself of it for good. (from Pyschotherapy and Existentialism, p 139)” Dereflexion Dereflexion is used for those with Sexual disorders and sleeplessness and also for anxiety disorders.
The aim of this technique is to get the client to obtain focus on something different than the problem, presumably, something more positive or meaningful. For example, if the client is not able to sleep and they try too hard to fall asleep that it is keeping them awake, their thoughts must be diverted. Socratic dialogue / modification of attitudes Socratic dialogue is often used by logotherapists, they use this to help the client be aware of, at least, the possibility to fine the freedom to find and/or fulfill the meaning in life. Logotherapy and Other Therapies Psychoanalysis
In Psychoanalysis Adler and Freud both focus on the past problems whereas “Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled in his future” (Frankl, 1984, p. 120). Psychoanalysis also focuses on the “Will to Power” and the “Will to pleasure” whereas Frankl believes that the main striving for mankind is to find a meaning, and pleasure is merely what happens when one finds meaning. Existential Logotherapy is often considered to be part of existential analysis because they both deal with guiding a patient when existential questions are asked.
Logotherapy helps the client find the “hidden logo of his existence. ” (Frankl, 1984, p. 125) this is said to be an analytical approach; however, there is a difference. Logotherapy is a spiritual oriented approach whereas existential is an analytical process in which the clients spiritual needs are addressed. Person-Centered Therapy It is claimed by many, that logotherapy is a person-centered therapy that focuses heavily on the future Gestalt Therapy Gestalt is similar in that it is existential therapy, but it also incorporates phenomenological approaches.
Gestalt is based on the idea that people must be “understood in the context of their environment. ”(Gerald Corey, 2009, p198) Gestalt focuses on the perceptions of reality, as well as the idea that people are always discovering themselves and life, based on their environment. Logotherapy focuses only on the meaning of life to cure current problems and have a better future. Criticism Logotherapy has been mostly favourable by psychologists. Some strengths of logotherapy include the inspiration of Frankl’s life. If people understood what experiences he had during the holocaust, people would be able to find hope in smaller istuations.
Logotherapy is simple to understand, and could really change ones life and enhance it. It speaks mostly of meaning, which is not usually addressed in most other therapies. There have a been very few negative criticisms, including that logotherapy may be too authoritarian, not scientific enough, based on intuition, and not enough things are covered, so some may call it too narrow as well. Some have said that it is only an excuse for Frankl for not being able to deal with people with existential problems