What is Logotherapy and Existential Analysis?
The concept of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis emerged during the 1930s and continued to flourish following Frankl’s experience in the Concentration Camps (Frankl, 2004). Logos is the greek term for "meaning" (Frankl, 2004). The psychiatrist and neurologist, Viktor Frankl explored Sigmund Freud’s philosophy of Psychoanalysis and Alfred Adler’s thoughts on Individual Psychology, which he incorporated and altered to form the basis of an original and stimulating new approach, sometimes referred to as: "The Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy"( Boeree,2006).

At the core of Frankl’s theory, is the belief that the search for a meaning in life is the primary motivational force for human beings (Frankl, 2004). Logotherapy is internationally accredited and an empirically based humanistic-existential approach to psychotherapy (Schulenberg, 2004).


Logotherapy encapsulates the following three psychological and philosophical concepts:


1. Freedom of WillLogotherapy illustrates the idea of self- determination and that meaning can be achieved under all circumstances. The theory explains how, as humans we are free to decide and shape our lives within the limits of given possibilities. Logotherapy illuminates that humans are not just reacting organisms but self-governing entities capable of determining and shaping their lives.
2.Will to Meaning
Logotherapy demonstrates that the primary motivational force in man, is to find a meaning in one’s life.

3. Meaning in Life This concept directs human beings to use their freedom and responsibility to develop an understanding of the meaning of their life as it changes from moment to moment. Logotherapy emphasises that human beings must fulfil their own meaning in life.

(Schulenberg, 2004)
Frankl regarded conscience as one of the major concepts within Logotherapy. Unlike Freud, Frankl viewed the conscious in a more spiritual light, focusing on it in terms of an unconscious spirituality ( Boeree,2006).

Frankl illustrates that the conscious is the centre of the human being (Boree, 2006). Frankl stresses the importance of viewing the conscience in terms of the essence of the individual, and views it as the "wisdom of the heart" (Boree,2006, p.3). Frankl states that through the conscience, one can develop and find true meaning in their lives. Frankl illuminates the importance of finding one's own meaning in life as it is unique to each individual (Frankl, 2004). Frankl articulates that each individual is responsible for finding their own meaning in life and cannot look to society or another individual. People must look within themselves, for meaning is like laughter, one cannot laugh without having something to laugh for (Frankl, 2004).

How Can we Find Meaning in Life?
(Frankl, 2004)
The above three ways of finding meaning in one’s life stem from a more fundamental concept called supra- meaning or transcendence (Boree, 2006). This idea encapsulates Frankl’s religious views. Jean Paul Satre, states that one must endure ultimate meaninglessness however; Frankl illustrates man’s inability to comprehend ultimate meaninglessness and states that we must learn to acknowledge and accept this as “Logos is deeper than logic” (Boree,2006,p.4). Frankl’s view of religion and spirituality are very extensive but his core idea is that God is a God of the “inner human being, a God of the heart” (Boree, 2006, p. 4).

Frankl’s primary aspiration was to create a therapy that encapsulated both a physiological and spiritual perspective (Frankl, 2004) . Frankl wanted Logotherapy to distance itself from reductionism and explore the spiritual side of human beings (Frankl, 2004). Frankl maintains that "...the de-neuroticization of humanity requires a re-humanization of psychotherapy." (Frankl,1975, p. 104;as cited in Boree, 2006).

Viktor Frankl talking about Logotherapy

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