What is Logotherapy?
Literally, logotherapy means 'therapy through meaning'. It's an active-directive therapy aimed at helping people specifically with meaning crises, which manifest themselves either ina feeling of aimlessness or indirectly through addiction, alcoholism or depression. Logotherapy also employs techniques useful for phobias, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and medical ministry. Other applications include working with juvenile delinquents, career counselling and helping all of us find more meaning in life. b) Foundations
It's existentialist becauseit emphasises the freedom of the will and the consequent responsibility.It also, of course, asserts the importance of the meaning of life. Whilst Freud said human's have a will to pleasure and Adler the will to power, Frankl says we have a will to meaning. If it is frustrated, spiritual (noogenic) neuroses result. Frankl argued that the the spiritual (noetic) dimension of man should be added to the physical and psychological dimensions. For Frankl, ultimate meaning does exist andis unique to each person and each situation. Each moment offers 'a sequence of unrepeatable situations each of which offers a specific meaning to be recognised and fulfilled'. Meaning cannot be invented but must be discovered. ii) Stoicism
It's Stoic, because it holds that no matter what the state of the world, our attitude can always help us. The Stoic Epictetus held that 'Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations'. Even in facing death and suffering, by showing courage we can turn a situation into a supremely meaningful one. iii) Frankl's own experiences, in concentration camps and as a psychiatrist "This was the lesson I had to learn in three years spent in Auschwitz and Dachau: other things being equal, those apt to survive the camps were those oriented toward the future - toward a task, or a person, waiting for them in the future, toward a meaning to be fulfilled by them in the future" . But Logotherapy was also the result of Frankl's own ideas and improvisations, not all of which are very obviously connected with his experiences in the camps or the meaning of life. 2.Techniques of Logotherapy
The therapist encourages the patient to intend or wish for, even if only for a second, precisely what they fear. oUsed for obsessive, compulsive and phobic conditions (not for suicidal or schizophrenic patients). oUseful in cases of underlying anticipatory anxiety, often works very quickly. oMobilises the human capacity for self-detachment, often with a sense of humour oHans Gerz claims that paradoxical intention is successful in 80-90% of cases The case of the sweating doctor (from Pyschotherapy and Existentialism, p 139) A young doctor had severe hydrophobia. One day, meeting his chief on the street, as he extended his hand in greeting, he noticed that he was perspiring more than usual. The next time he was in a similar situation he expected to perspire again, and this anticipatory anxiety precipitated excessive sweating. It was a vicious circle … We advised our patient, in the event that his anticipatory anxiety should recur, to resolve deliberately to show the people whom he confronted at the time just how much he could really sweat.A week later he returned to report that whenever he met anyone who triggered his anxiety, he said to himself, "I only sweated out a litre before, but now I'm going to pour out at least ten litres !" What was the result of this paradoxical resolution ? After suffering from his phobia for four years, he was quickly able, after only one session, to free himself of it for good. You are the logotherapist
In the following cases, what paradoxical intention, if any, would you recommend ? i)A man is fearful that he will die from a heart attack. Physical check-ups reveal him to be in good health. ii) An obsessive-compulsive comes to you because she is concerned about...
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