Learn more about Logotherapy on this radio interview: Logotherapy: A Way of Life to Meaning
How do you view what your life is about? Were you born to simply suffer, have some fun here and there, and then die? Are you here to cope with a basically meaningless existence? Dr. Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), psychiatrist, neurologist and author of the bestseller Man’s Search for Meaning thought otherwise.
He believed that a human being is a noble creature, who has a body and has a psyche but is a spiritual being, and that every person’s life has meaning and purpose. You are here for a reason. There is a meaning to what you have to teach, what you have to learn and what you have to experience. Everything you have at your disposal — your innate gifts, your particular circumstances, and yes, even your suffering, stands as a commission for you to use in order to fill your space in the world. Therefore, logotherapy does not focus on your complaints and how to cope, rather, on your destiny and the value you bring to the world.
In the centers for suicide prevention where Frankl successfully treated youth in Vienna and later on under the most extreme conditions of the Nazi concentration camps, Frankl found that what mattered to people most was for their lives to have meaning.
Evidence-based psychological studies have proven that those who find meaning and purpose in life actually live longer. Whether someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, OCD, anger or is just plain feeling empty inside, an unheard cry for meaning always sits at the bottom of it.
Logotherapy is the only meaning-based and values-based approach in existential psychology or psychology generally.
Most of the modern approaches to self-help today rely on the principles of Logotherapy ~
- Freedom of Will: free and available to determine the course of one’s life
- Will to Meaning: motivated by higher values
- Meaning of life: aware that meaning is present at all times and everywhere
The Logotherapist takes the role of mediator in a dialogue between the person and his or her life. What is life challenging/requiring/demanding/inviting you to do? It is not the coercive voice of societal ‘shoulds’ that can answer this, rather, the response-able consciousness of who you know you ‘ought to be.’ It is not the cold and often misleading deceptive voice of pure logic but the inner wisdom of the heart that can answer this question when you tune in to it. Nothing is more empowering than being yourself.