Excerpts from the book:

Excerpts from chapter one:


Foundation of Logotherapy
(Arrangement and Axioms in Logotherapy)

Logotherapy was founded by psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor E. Frankl, MD (1905 - 1997) of Vienna.

Giambattista Torello once asserted that logotherapy is the ultimate complete system in psychotherapy's history. What he meant by 'complete' is that, as an art of healing, logotherapy is based on the finely honed conception of an image of human beings and of the world. The edifice of logotherapy's ideas is quasi supported on three pillars, which Viktor E. Frankl describes as follows:


Pillar 1

Logotherapy's concept of human beings is based on three pillars, freedom of will, will to meaning, and meaning in life. The first, freedom of will, is opposed to the principle that characterizes most current approaches to human beings, namely, determinism. Really, it is only opposed to what I call pan-determinism, because speaking of freedom of will does not imply a priori in-determinism. After all, freedom of will means freedom of human will, and human will is the will of a finite being. Human freedom is not freedom from conditions but rather, freedom to take a stand, to face whatever conditions might confront him. (Frankl, The Will to Meaning, Penguin 1988)

Pillar 2

Meaning is something objective, and that is not just my own private expression and personal world view, but also the results of extensive psychological research. Max Wertheimer, one of the founders of gestalt therapy, explicitly indicated that every situation possesses a demand character, simply 'the meaning' that this person who is facing the situation has to fulfill and that 'the demands of the situation' are to be approached as 'objective qualities'. What I call will to meaning, seemingly leads to something like a gestalt concept. James Crumbaugh and Leonard T. Maholick describe will to meaning as the original human ability to discover the meaning character not only in actualities, but also in possibilities. (Frankl, Der Wille zum Sinn, Piper 1996)

Pillar 3

There is no situation in life that would really be meaningless. This refers back to the seemingly negative aspects of human existence, which could be fashioned into something positive, into an achievement, especially the tragic triad, which consists of suffering, guilt and death, if only it could be faced with the right composure and attitude. (Frankl, Das Leiden am Sinnlosen Leben, Herder 1996)

Pillars diagram

The figure illustrates that each pillar corresponds to a form of discipline that shapes logotherapy. Freedom of will is the foundation of its view of the human being and imprints its anthropological foundation. Will to meaning is the starting and pivotal point of its healing science and, therefore, runs through all of its psychotherapeutic works. Meaning in life, that is, the belief in unconditional meaningfulness of human life under any and all circumstances, is part of its worldview and part of its philosophy.

In this present textbook for logotherapy, we will concern ourselves principally with logotherapy as a science of healing. To apply its methods successfully, it is imperative to at least get to know the highlights of its view of human beings. It is just as essential to bring logotherapy's world view into the work of prevention and aftercare. For that reason, a brief description of its anthropological foundation is introduced to implement logotherapeutic dealings with psychic disturbances in order to finish with a broader view of its philosophical structure of teachings.

Admittedly, logotherapy and existential analysis stem out of clinical practice; however, it cannot be avoided that they drift together into a meta clinical theory, as it is basically implicit in all sorts of psychotherapy; and in theory will mean a manifestation, which means a manifestation of an image of the human being. In such a way we come full circle, the clinical practice to a great extent is always determined and influenced by the view of the human being that the doctor brings to the patient, even though it may be hardly conscious and controlled.

Actually, every psychotherapy plays itself out under a priori horizon. Certainly there always lies an anthropological concept at its foundation whether psychotherapy is conscious of it or not. (Frankl, Logotherapie und Existenzanalyse, Psychologie Verlag Union 1994)

Excerpts from chapter four:

Therefore, the human-being proves to be one who has freedom to decide how to answer fateful conditions, and in doing so, must be accountable for his answers. This non-deterministic point of view in logotherapy draws with itself the re-acceptance of accountability and the possibility of guilt of human-beings into psychotherapy.

Humanity brought knowledge to a maximum on knowing, on science and to a maximum of responsibility; however, at the same time, it brought awareness of being accountable to a minimum. The human-being of today knows much more than ever before, and he is also responsible for much more than ever before; however, what he knows less of than ever before is how to be accountable. (Frankl, Der leidende Mensch, Huber 1996)

One ought to offer help, however, not take away accountability

Excerpts from chapter ten:

Sufficient awareness in and of itself can never remain its ultimate purpose; rather it is much more a transitional stage that ought to lead beyond the self. Logotherapy’s requirement for such an aiming-beyond-the-self’ turns itself into a life-training course that breaks open the confining sphere of psychotherapy and leads into a training towards accountability’.

A humane, a humanized, a re-humanized psychotherapy presupposes that we take sight of self-transcendence and to get a grip on self-distancing. (Frankl, Der leidende Mensch, Huber 1996)