Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and
psychiatrist. But this was not the only reason Frankl was known. Viktor Frankl
was a Holocaust survivor. A man who used his experiences as a concentration
camp prisoner to unearth the importance of finding meaning in all forms of
existence, even the most dreadful ones, and thus, a reason to continue living.
Frankl was the founder of logotherapy which is a form of existential analysis,
an inspiration to professional and non-professional people all over the world. In
Logotherapy/Existential Analysis (LTEA) the search for a meaning in life is
identified as the primary motivational force in human beings. Frankl's approach
is based on three philosophical and psychological concepts:
- Freedom of Will: According to LTEA humans are not completely subject to circumstances and environments but are essentially free to decide and able to take their position towards internal (psychological) and external (biological and social) conditions. Freedom is here defined as the space of shaping one's own life within the boundaries of the given possibilities. Humans are not just reacting organisms but autonomous beings that able to actively shape their lives.
- Will to Meaning: As humans we are not only free, but most importantly we are free to something - namely, to achieve goals and purposes. Logotherapy/Existential Analysis will provide the means to assist clients in perceiving and eliminating those factors that hamper them in pursuing meaningful goals in their lives. Clients are sensitized for the perception of meaning possibilities; however, they are not offered definite meanings. Rather, they are guided and assisted realizing the meaning possibilities they have become aware for themselves.
- Meaning in Life: Humans have freedom and responsibility to bring forth their best possible selves in the world. This can be accomplished by perceiving and realizing the meaning of the moment in each and every situation (be it a good situation or a bad situation). However, meaningful possibilities are always linked to the specific situation and person, and are therefore continually changing. Thus LTEA does not proclaim or offer some general meaning of life. Rather, clients are assisted in achieving the openness and flexibility that will allow them to shape their day-to-day lives in a meaningful way.
“Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.” (Viktor E. Frankl)