Logotherapy By Dr. Viktor E. Frankl Essay, Research Paper
Logotherapy, practiced and described by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, is a form of psychotherapy that requires individuals to assume responsibility for their own existence to search for meaning. Dr. Frankl, himself a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, developed this psychotherapeutic method as a means to endure the horror and suffering he witnessed and endured in the camp. Dr. Frankl believed that no matter what degree of human suffering he witnessed in the camp, one lost everything except, ?the last of the human freedoms, to choose one?s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one?s own way.?
Ironically, this same ultimate freedom is recognized by the ancient Stoics and has vivid significance in Dr. Frankl?s story. I, too, like the Stoics, believe that once we come to know what we and the world around us are really like, we can and will be utterly transformed; our destiny embodies the will of the universe. I believe that both Logotherapy and Stoicism are synonymous with patience and long-suffering. However, once a person attained moral and intellectual perfection, he would never undergo fear again.
Largely, Dr. Frankl observed that those prisoners who allowed themselves to be overwhelmed by despair, who gave up their freedom to choose, often descended into paralytic apathy and depression. Furthermore, he believed that the key to helping people that are in a state of hopelessness is to help them find meaning even in the face of the unimaginable horrors of the world. Meaning may be something as simple as holding on to pleasant memories, much like Dr. Frankl did while he was a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps. In other words, an individual will not understand the meaning of his suffering if he loses the power to understand what the future holds. Subsequently, he will lose the capacity to survive since he no longer understands the meaning of his suffering.
With this in mind, one can see how easy it is to lose hope or give up if the means of the suffering is not worthy of the suffering. According to Dr. Frankel, man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose.
Thus, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, allows one to choose one’s own way. In brief, each person must decide what attitude to adopt in any situation. Happiness is entirely in our power and therefore, once achieved, is absolutely inalienable. Epictetus, for example, claimed to be happy even when being tortured.