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Widgets Settings. See Roumen Bezergianov's author page. Search Roumen's books. Members with Roumen 's books This information is loading. Loading may take as much as a minute if it hasn't been updated recently. In an interview with Matthew Scully when he was already 90, he seemed to be more explicit about the important role of religion and faith in logotherapy:.
The positing of a super-meaning that evades mere rational grasp is one of the main tenets of logotherapy, after all. And a religious person may identify Supermeaning as something paralleling a Superbeing, and this Superbeing we would call God.
The Greek word Logos represents the word, the will of God, the controlling principles of the universe, or meaning. Frankl translates logos as meaning Fabry, , p. Therefore, logotherapy means healing and health through meaning. But what is meaning? According to Frankl , , there are two levels of meaning: a the present meaning, or meaning of the moment, and b the ultimate meaning or super-meaning. He cautions against addressing ultimate meanings in therapy, unless the client is openly religious Frankl, Each individual must discover the specific meanings of the moment.
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Only the individual knows the right meaning specific to the moment. The therapist can also facilitate the quest and guide the client to those areas in which meanings can be found Fabry, ; Frankl, , In his earlier writings Frankl, , , Dr. Frank often used meaning and value interchangeable. Fabry has clarified the difference between meaning and value:.
We create unique relationships and accept unique tasks, face unique sufferings, experience unique guilt feelings and die a unique death. The search for meaning is highly personal and distinct. But millions of people have gone through situations that were similar enough so they could react in a similar way. They found what was meaningful in standard situations.
The Value of Self-Transcendence
Therefore, values are abstract meanings based on the meaning experiences of many, many individuals. Frankl , believes that these values can guide our search for meaning and simplify decision-making. For example, life can be made meaningful if we realize three categories of values -- experiential, creative and attitudinal. Traditional values are the examples of the accumulation of meaning experiences of many individuals over a long period of time. However, these values are threatened by modernization. Thus, every experience of meaning involves the realization of some values.
But these values may lie latent and need to be awakened or cultivated through existential analysis. The logotherapeutic credo consists of freedom of will; will to meaning and the meaning of life Frankl , These are cornerstones of logotherapy and existential analysis. Man is not free from conditions.
The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy
But he is free to take a stand in regard to them. Although our existence is influenced by instincts, inherited disposition and environment, an area of freedom is always available to us. Therefore, we always have the freedom to take a stand towards the restrictive conditions and transcend our fate. With freedom comes responsibility. Frankl , points out that we are responsible not only to something but also to Someone, not only to the task, but also to the Taskmaster.
Frankl differentiates between responsibility and responsibleness. The former comes from possessing the freedom of will. The later refers to exercising our freedom to make the right decisions in meeting the demands of each situation. Self-transcendence often makes use of the power of imagination and optimism. Self-transcendence is essential for finding happiness, which is not the end, but the by-product of trying to forget oneself. The therapist can only challenge and guide the patient to potential areas of meaning: creative, experiential, and attitudinal values. Attitudinal values are especially important in situations of unavoidable suffering.
Existential frustration is a universal human experience, because the will to meaning can be blocked by external circumstances and internal hindrances. Existential frustration leads to noogenic neurosis or existential vacuum.
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Therefore, logotherapy is uniquely appropriate in dealing with existential neuroses. Existential vacuum refers to general sense of meaninglessness or emptiness, as evidenced by a state of boredom. It is a widespread phenomenon of the twentieth century, as a result of industrialization, the loss of traditional values and dehumanization of individuals. People may experience existential vacuum without developing existential neurosis.
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Many feel that life has no purpose, no challenge, no obligation and they try to fill their existential vacuum with materials things, pleasure, sex, or power, busy work, but they are misguided Frankl, Suffering is not a necessary condition for meaning, but it tends to trigger the quest for meaning. Frankl , , has observed that people are willing to endure any suffering, if they are convinced that this suffering has meaning.
However, suffering without meaning leads to despair. Logotherapists do not ask for the reason for suffering, but guide their clients towards the realization of concrete meanings, and choose the right attitudes. Often, logotherapists appeal to their clients to stake a heroic stands towards suffering, by suggesting that unavoidable suffering gives them the opportunity to bear witness to the human potential and dignity. Search for meaning is more likely to be occasioned by three negative facets of human existence: pain, guilt and death.
Pain refers to human suffering, guilt to the awareness of our fallibility and death to our awareness of the transtoriness of life Frankl, , These negative experiences make us more aware of our needs for meaning and spiritual aspiration. Neuroses are more likely to originate from our attempt to obscure the reality of pain, guilt and death as existential facts Frankl, , Logotherapy provides an answer to the tragic triad through attitudinal values and tragic optimism:.
Noogenic neurosis is regarded as the collective neurosis of contemporary Western society Frankl, , Guttmann, The goal of logotherapy is to enable patients to discover their unique meanings and consider their own areas of freedom. In cases of psychogenic or individual neurosis, which may be treated by traditional psychotherapy or medication, logotherapy serves as a supplement and helps break the vicious circles of neurosis. According to Lukas the four main logotherapeutic techniques are: paradoxical intention, de-reflection, modification of attitudes and appealing techniques.
This technique builds upon the human capacity for self-detachment to break the vicious cycle, which traps people in psychogenic neuroses, such as phobia, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Self-attachment enables to patient to adopt a new attitude, to stand back or laugh at the situation or self. As a result, the patient no longer avoids situations that create anxiety. With phobic patient, paradoxical intention typically begins with self-detachment often after invitation and persuasion. The second step is to ask the patient to develop a new attitude of not fearing but welcoming the symptoms.
This typically results in a reduction of symptom, which allows therapist to work towards enhancing meaningful living. In the case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the patient fights against the obsessions or compulsions. However, the more he fights against these symptoms, the stronger they become.
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Again, a vicious cycle is created. Paradox intention has been used with increasing frequency with good results especially in treating clients who suffer from phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder Guttmann, Frankl developed de-reflection to counteract hyperintention trying too hard and hyper-reflection thinking too hard. Examples of hyperintention include trying very hard to fall asleep, excessively pursuing pleasure, happiness, or power. Addiction is a form of hyperintention. Hyper-reflection may turn everyday minor problem into catastrophes, and small obstacles into insurmountable hurdles.
This technique is built upon the human capacity for self-distancing and self-transcendence. Clients are asked to redirect their attention away from their problems to more positive aspects of their lives.