Logotherapy as the Foundation for Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

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When considering real-world issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder from logotherapy’s viewpoint, individuals with PTSD have haunting, horrific thoughts and recollections of a traumatic experience. They begin to feel emotionally numb, particularly with people they were once closely connected to. PTSD was first publicly addressed by war veterans; however, it can result from any traumatic experience. The experience that triggers PTSD might be something that threatened the individual’s life or the life of a close friend or relative. Whatever the root of the issue, some people with PTSD continually relive the trauma in nightmares or disturbing memories daily. PTSD sufferers are usually irritable, overwhelmed with waves of emotions, in despair, sadness and hopelessness about the future, control issues, substance abuse, experience existential vacuum, and self-destructive behavior.

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Viable approaches with solutions on addressing PTSD, could be the use of group logotherapy. A group of PTSD sufferers meet with a therapist as a group and share their experience that caused the issue. Client-centered therapy (CCT) is effective as it supports people with PTSD, and treats them with regard, as it is viewed as a non-directive form of therapy; it is used by counselors and psychologists today (Selva, 2019). Logotherapy does not focus on the symptoms of PTSD, or the trauma. Instead, it accentuates the investigation of the experience and, most significantly, of its existential meaning.

Personality is a combination of patterns and traits that influence emotions, behavior, motivation, and thought. It is what makes each of us unique. There are several different approaches to gain understanding of personality development. Several theorists developed their theories on how personality is developed, however, personality is very inconsistent and complex. Logotherapy goes beyond trying to define personality, it helps people search for meaning in life. Logotherapy can advance the knowledge of personality psychology by helping those who suffer from trauma or existential vacuum to find purpose and meaning in life. It is good to have a support system to help a person get through life challenges and sufferings, however, not every has support. Group logotherapy can be a support system for those who are suffering by being among like people who suffer with similar experiences. Regarding real-world issues such as, substance abuse, obesity, suicide, and PTSD, by incorporating logotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy can be a contemporary approach for therapeutic purposes and can be effective in helping reduce real-world issues cases by helping people find meaning and purpose in life to have a happier and healthier life.

The root of Frankl’s logotherapy were thusly a significant issue of consistency that critics argued were possibly questionable for Frankl on the grounds that he had laid out the primary components of logotherapy while working for to the Nazi-associated Göring Institute (Wong, 2014). Primarily Frankl’s 1937 paper was distributed by the institute. This relationship became a topic of controversy, suggesting that logotherapy was appeasing to National Socialism. Frankl took two distinct positions on how his experience in the concentration camps influenced the course of his psychotherapy theory. To be more specific, inside the initial English edition of Frankl’s most notable book, Man’s Search for Meaning, suggestion was made and still to a great extent held that logotherapy was developed from his experience in the concentration camps. With the case as it appears in the initial version, this type of psychotherapy was not created in the rationalist’s chair nor at the philosopher’s sofa; it came to fruition in the hard school of bomb crater and air-raid shelters; in prison of war camps and concentration camps (Wong, 2014). Frankl’s claim however with this impact would be erased from later editions. Interestingly, in the 1963 edition, a comparable explanation appeared again on the back cover of Man’s Search for Meaning (Wong, 2014).

Frankl throughout the years would switch between the case that logotherapy came to fruition in the camps to the case that the camps simply legitimized his preconceived theory, as the definitive word on the issue. In 1977, he started to explain the controversy, expressing people thought he left Auschwitz with a new psychotherapy; however, that was not the case.

Over the years, logotherapy has advanced into meaningful therapy. Dr. Paul Wong, author, tried to make an interpretation of logotherapy into psychological mechanisms in effort to make it progressively significant to the more extensive psychological community (Wong, 2014). Not only does this expansion incorporate meaning therapy with positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy, it also links meaning therapy with the positive psychology research on meaning. Another new development is the use of logotherapy to palliative care. These new developments introduced logotherapy with new age and extended its effect on new areas of research.

The reasonability of any theory and the utility of its clinical practice both depend upon the life history of its developer. For instance, Frankl’s relevance to contemporary therapy in therapeutic settings is getting progressively perceived and acknowledged inside a broad spectrum of clinical practice. The effect of his therapeutic structure of theory and therapy has not yet reached its peak on the level of impact in contemporary counseling circles, however, the foundation of the Graduate Center for Pastoral Logotherapy at the Graduate Theological Foundation comprises a significant jump forward in its development (Wong, 2014).

Viktor Frankl’s development of logotherapy holds a great relevance to a wide number of cases. It offers great insight into the dimension of meaning. Logotherapy can also strengthen other therapies when combined, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Because of the supporters of logotherapy, and their strong alignment with the requirements of this focused populace, it is imperative to execute logotherapy to benefit a population searching for help from PTSD. Meaning can be found in the darkest, most difficult situations. It is the role of logotherapists to make people fully aware of the quest for meaning, and to guide patients through treatment procedures with the hope of achieving the best mental health to lead a happier life.

The applications of logotherapy teaches everyone that all hope is not lost. Meaning can be found in any situation. Frankl believed that when people realize that their situations are beyond their control, they are then forced to look within themselves (Frankl & Lasch, 1962). The ideas of logotherapy are consistently studied in the present day. It is less likely most will hear of people receiving this form of therapy directly. Instead, the components of logotherapy are more likely to be combined with other treatments or therapies. If someone begins to feel like stress is consuming their life, and wrestles with how to incorporate more meaning in their life, they can use Frankl’s theory of logotherapy, which can teach them how to manage the effects of stress while doing everyday routines.   

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