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Viktor Frankl and his Theory of Logotherapy Essay

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In September of 1942, Viktor Frankl was arrested in Vienna and taken to one of the many Nazi death camps. Frankl was working on a manuscript which was confiscated from him in a move to Auschwitz. In this manuscript entitled, The Doctor and the Soul, Frankl had began his work on a theory he would later call logotherapy. The term logotherapy is derived from the Greek word logos, which means meaning. According to logotherapy, the striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man (Frankl 121). Frankl’s theory and therapy generated and grew through his experiences in the concentration camps. While being held prisoner in the death camps, Frankl began to observe his fellow inmates. He payed close attention to…show more content…
Frankl had compared himself to two other Viennese psychiatrists, Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. In saying that Freud suggested a will to pleasure while Adler suggested a will to power. Logotherapy on the other hand is a will to meaning. This indicating that when a person cannot realize his or her “Will to Meaning” in their lives they will experience an abysmal sensation of meaninglessness and emptiness (Frankl Institute). This focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as the search for that meaning. According to logotherapy we can discover the meaning of life in three different ways: by creating a work or doing a deed, by experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering (Frankl 133). The meaning of love is a core factor in logotherapy. Every human posses the potential to achieve greatness and unless someone loves that person these potentials will not be fulfilled. By being or feeling loved, people become more aware of what they are capable of through the encouragement of the lover. No one can be fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him (Frankl 134). An additional way to find meaning in life is through irreversible suffering. When someone no longer has the power to change their situation, that person now has the opportunity to choose their attitudes about that
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