Logotherapy is a branch of existential psychology, founded by Dr. Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), a Viennese neurologist, psychiatrist, holocaust survivor and author of the bestseller Man’s Search for Meaning. Logotherapy comes from the Greek word for meaning: logos; hence it is healing through finding meaning and purpose in life. Logotherapy is based on three principles:
l Freedom of will: As human beings we are always free to choose who we will be and what we will do.
l Will to meaning: Human beings are interested and have the capacity to act for the sake of higher ideals and values.
l Meaning of life: Every moment has potential for meaning, independent of our perception of it.
At its core, logotherapy teaches a different way of looking at life and looking at ourselves. Resilience comes from using everything that happens as an opportunity for meaningful response – to respond to adversity with courage, to respond to mistakes with correction or to respond to loss by appreciating life.
As for how we relate to ourselves, Frankl felt that psychology had ignored the spiritual dimension, the part of us that overcomes our psychological weaknesses and the source of our freedom and our greatest strengths. Thus, Frankl created logotherapy as an effective treatment for depression, addictions, illness and a wide variety of issues.