Logotherapy: Finding Meaning in Life with 4 Basic Principles

Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl on the assumption that the primary driving factor of a person is to find purpose in life. Frankl defines it as the Third Vienna School of Psychotherapy, along with Freud’s Psychoanalysis and Adler’s Individual Psychology.

Logotherapy is a method to tackle painful human conflicts. It allows us to find meaning in difficult, painful situations. Thus, such situations become an opportunity for us to develop and grow. This method allows us to find meaning in everything that happens to us in life and makes it possible to live a complete life. The logo in the word logotherapy means “meaning”. What people are always looking for. Therefore, logotherapy means therapy through “meaning”.

What is Logotherapy?

Logotherapy consists of the combination of the words “logos” meaning “meaning” in Greek and therapy. Logotherapy assumes that life exists in every condition, even under the worst conditions. Viktor Emil Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy, says that by resisting and struggling even the worst conditions one can think of, he can stand up.

What Does Logotherapy Highlight?

In order for a person to be put to life, he must have a reason to make life and death meaningful, something to live for. Individuals, whose sense of meaninglessness prevails in their lives, have been caught with the sense of emptiness, that is, existential void, in their inner worlds, lacking a sense of meaning worth living for. At this point, the role of the Logotherapist is to help the client find meaning and purpose in life or to make the existing spectrum of meaning conscious and visible.

Logotherapy adds optimism and a positive approach to life. It increases self-confidence and improves interpersonal relationships. It builds resistance and confidence to combat difficulties and even get rid of them. It allows to see new possibilities and opportunities for development. It refreshes the client and the practitioner, taking them beyond the traditional point of view on biopsychosocial factors, towards the dimension of meaning and values.

Logotherapy helps clients recognize the most constructive answer to an event. He teaches them that they are not powerless, but have the freedom and power to overcome problems, and this will lead to a very satisfying and meaningful life.

Basic Principles of Logotherapy

  1. Freedom of Will
  2. Search for Meaning
  3. Perception of Life

Freedom of Will

Freedom of will emerges through a human ability known as “self-divergence”. It is the possibility of seeing, accepting, regulating, and imagining a person. According to the teachings of Frankl, it gives us freedom from 3 sources of influence:

  • Instincts
  • Hereditary traits
  • Environment

Man has each of these three sources, but it is not they who “determine” us. We are not predetermined or finalized. We are free from these three aspects. Whenever people are free from something, there is a reason. There is a concept of responsibility here. Man is free to be responsible and responsible for being free.

Search for Meaning

The desire for meaning and self-transcendence that shape people are closely related concepts. Man always aims beyond himself, turns towards a meaning he wants to discover and complete.

From the perspective of logotherapy, pleasure and power are the results of reaching an end, but not the end itself. That is why people who pursue only pleasure or power live in frustration. They feel that they are drawn into a large existential vacuum.

The desire for meaning is not in search of power or pleasure. It is not even seeking happiness. The focus is on finding an argument – a reason – to be happy.

Perception of Life

In the two principles we have mentioned above, before meeting the conditions of life, the person who takes a stand according to them is mentioned freely, focusing on the meaning it carries. This is the profile of the person in search of meaning.

Life has a meaning. The meaning of life is unique for each of us. That is why our task as conscious and responsible beings is to discover this meaning that is unique to us. Death can only frighten those who do not know how to fill the time given to them to live. In any case, it will always have a hidden meaning until life ends. There is an intriguing and endless call for us to discover and realize.

Anger Management

The purpose of anger control programs is to measure anger by challenging irrational or unfair cognitions, by raising awareness about the consequences of anger, by increasing the ability to control anger. The overall purpose of anger management programs is to reduce aggressive behavior in general and thus reduce more violence. Meta-analysis studies reveal that anger management programs produce “significant and moderate improvement in subjects that are difficult to treat”. 

Anger control group studies can be performed with parents who harm their children, undergraduate students, veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, school children, abused spouses, prisoners, juvenile offenders, clinical adolescents, and forensic patients.

It is difficult for angry individuals to establish relationships. Their relationship with the therapist will also be angry, intimidating, accusatory, and degrading. They tend to keep comments and values ​​that the therapist finds negative and harmful. At this point, it is very important for the therapist to listen carefully, empathically and respectfully, to clarify the person’s sense of anger and how it came about. The therapist should take care to define the hurt and victimization of the angry person. Open-ended questions, empathetic listening, underlining emotional themes will contribute to the client feeling rested and understood. 

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The therapist is not required to participate in the approach of the angry person but should share the person’s feelings and thoughts about pain, hurt, rejection, harassment, maltreatment, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation. This is important for building trust, faster progress, and speeding readiness.

In therapy, the client’s “anger helps me get what I want?” It is aimed to answer the question. The therapist gives the opportunity for the client to evaluate the anger’s profits and losses through this question. Angry individuals often benefit from short-term benefits and short-term losses. At this point, clients may think that short-term positive results of anger are more effective than negative results.

The clients are then asked to evaluate the long-term consequences of anger. However, people have difficulty in determining long-term benefits. At this point, the person is asked if he will take short and long-term losses for short-term benefits.

Cognitive interventions, thoughts and images that cause anger, dysfunctional familial and cultural assumptions, Cognitive interventions cover thoughts and images that cause anger, dysfunctional familial and cultural assumptions, bias evaluation, information processing, etc. Clients are guided to identify the cognitions that cause anger and replace them with more realistic ones.

Cognitive restructuring and problem-solving interventions focus on the cognitive elements of anger. The therapist assists the client in developing an inner dialogue and imagination that reduces anger, and in keeping calm in a triggering event, and acting in a goal-oriented manner. In therapy, these cognitive coping skills are rehearsed and then generalized to real-life through homework. Cognitive interventions have also been found to be effective in medical patients with anger problems, angry community volunteers, college students, and drivers.

Last Updated on March 12, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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