Logotherapy is a decades-old psychotherapeutic approach developed by Viktor Frankl.
Logotherapists believe that a lack of meaning can lead to “emptiness, hopelessness, or despair”, so they try to help people find meaning “through ‘creative values’, ‘experiential values’, and ‘attitudinal values’” (Ameli & Dattilio, 2013).
The techniques used in logotherapy underline this mission.
Some of these techniques include paradoxical intention, dereflection, and attitude modification (Ameli & Dattilio, 2013).
Paradoxical intention is a technique similar to exposure therapy where a client uses humor to get over their greatest fear.
In fact, existential analysis “may be understood as the philosophical and scientific basis of logotherapy as well as an essential part of a theory proper” (Batthyany).
For these purposes, existential analysis refers to the analysis of one’s own existence, which naturally flows into the question of meaning.Logotherapy has recently been used to help support students, whether it’s in the context of giving elementary school students a sense of meaning and lowering their levels of depression (Kang et al., 2013), or in the context of giving first-year University students logotherapy-based support (Mason & Nel, 2011).Logotherapy has also been used to improve the quality of life of adolescents with terminal cancer (Kang et al., 2009).Logotherapy is considered to be the third school of Viennese psychotherapy, along with Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and Alfred Adler’s individual psychology.Logotherapy is defined by the idea that humans are motivated by a “will to meaning” as opposed to the “will to pleasure” and “will to power” highlighted by Freud and Adler, respectively (Ameli & Dattilio, 2013).For example, a logotherapist might help a client move their focus from the negative things in their life (like money troubles) to the motivating things or people in their lives (like the family members they want to make money for), in order to foster a goal-oriented lifestyle.Dereflection is most often used with maladaptive neuroses such as sexual disorders, though.All three of these techniques underscore logotherapy’s focus on meaning by helping clients identify what actually gives their lives meaning, and what they should focus on in turn.Like the other schools of Viennese Psychotherapy, logotherapy is decades-old, which means it is important to evaluate its modern-day relevance.This indicates that logotherapy is widely applicable to a number of situations that might arise in therapy.Modern psychology views logotherapy as “a therapy for the sick, support for the sufferer, education for the confused, and philosophy for the frustrated …