June 15, 2021
The founder of logotherapy is Frankl. In this area, the meaning of human existence and search of its sense is considered. According to the views of Frankl, the human desire to search and realization of the meaning of life is a motivational tendency inherent in all people, which is the main driver of behavior and personality development. Frankl believed that “the pursuit of the meaning of life” is opposite to “the pursuit of pleasure”: “A man does not need a state of equilibrium, peace, and the struggle for a purpose worthy of it” (Frankl & Lasch).
However, the human desire for realization of the meaning of life can be a penultimate goal, and this existential frustration can lead to neurosis. Frankl believes in the human creator that is building up spirituality. Human actions are divides into three types: those contributing to the spiritual edification of the individual, to destructive spirituality, and indifferent to spirituality. A man is responsible for his/her actions. Abdication of responsibility is also an act for which a person pays. The man is always free to choose his/her actions in making decision, but only in the event of an act of choice the meaning of life is realized.
The main advantage of logotherapy approach is in its “positive” psychology and psychotherapy. It is also important that despite most of therapies, logotherapy is focusing on what is right, but not on what is wrong. Because of this, logotherapy becomes the approach that can be applied in different spheres like medicine, counseling, pastoral care, education, and management. However, logotherapy has its limitations. First of all, most psychologists perceive logotherapy as a philosophy of Frankl; therefore, it has a limited amount of empirical studies. Some researchers think that logotherapy approach usage can bring more harm than good. Nevertheless, the impact of logotherapy cannot be understated.
In practice, logotherapy helps to build up actions aimed at finding the values of creativity, emotions and relationships. For each person, these values are specific and unique, so a person in search of the meaning of life is seeking and finding its area in which he/she realizes him/herself and builds his/her identity. If a person happens to lose the meaning in life, Frankl recommends him/her to understand and feel the uniqueness and originality of the self. Having gained self-worth, the value of other people and the world in which he/she lives, a person acquires self-confidence and the meaning of existence. A person’s life cannot be deprived of meaning under any circumstances – the meaning of life can always be found.
There are three main concepts of Frankl’s approach to personality: the “free will”, “will to meaning” and “the meaning of life.” According to Frankl, the question of the meaning of life is natural for a normal modern person. Meaning, according to Frankl, is an objective in every moment of life, including the most tragic. The psychologist cannot give a person that sense, everyone has his own. However, the psychologist in his/her power should help the client understand. Typically, the loss of meaning in life comes with strong traumatic events: the death of loved ones, participation in military actions, etc.
Experiencing any situation, a person who has lost the meaning of life, should show that he/she needed another person, that life without it loses meaning for that person. For a mother who has lost an adult child, the meaning of life can be a parenting grandchild. A woman, who lost a child as a result of cancer diseases, establishes a charitable foundation and finds the meaning of life is to help other mothers who find themselves in a similar situation. Thus, a person acquires the meaning of his/her life through realization that it is necessary and useful to others, and people keep close to him/her. A man can find meaning in the work of his/her life in that he/she is doing well for others, in search of the truth, in communion with the other person. Most importantly, one can get satisfaction from all of these cases and activities. According to Frankl, the problem is not in the position in which a person was, but how he/she relates to his/her position.