Introduction

 

Introduction
by Viktor E. Frankl, MD

 

For Elisabeth Lukas there is no human being that would not have the opportunity to grow beyond itself; no life situation in which a spark of meaning could not be discovered and rekindled. To observe how this happens in dramatic ways will always stimulate the reader. This bringing to light of possibilities for meaning is due to the great skills of Elisabeth Lukas who stands fully dedicated to the tradition of logotherapy. Logotherapy is defined as meaning-centered psychotherapy, and as such, provides assistance to persons in the search for meaning, in all of their human interests. She also poses the challenge to the feeling of meaninglessness that definitely has developed into mass-neurosis on a global scale. The more acute this feeling of mass-neurosis becomes, the more relevant logotherapy becomes. Gordon Allport has described logotherapy as 'the most significant psychological movement of our day'.

Logotherapy's unquestioned, underlying basic conviction is that life is filled with meaning. On this basis, the present work does not only take part, but rather contributes [immensely] to logotherapy. As the principal teacher of one of the great psychological counseling centers in Munich, Elisabeth Lukas draws from years of rich experiences from her logotherapeutic practice and life, within the context of individuals sitting opposite her day after day who have to examine the typical problems and crises of our world in our time.

What stands her in good stead is the scientific soundness of her statements. One notices her empirical beginnings step by step. She began with experiential research and statistical examinations. She is also the one to whom we are indebted for implementing the first German-speaking logo-test, which she developed at the University Institute of Vienna for experimental psychology. As a result, we have Elisabeth Lukas's practical experiences coupled with her empirical research interconnected with the process of a productive feedback. Her contributions to logotherapy and to its basic theoretic research does not restrict itself solely to research. In fact, she also effectively invents and creatively builds on that solid foundation using two of her independently developed techniques of 'naive questioning' and the logotherapeutic method of 'de-reflection'.

The reader will appreciate how she grants insight into the workshop of the logotherapist in an instructive and illustrative way. She illustrates by means of concrete case examples. The reader, therefore, becomes an eyewitness to 'Logotherapy in Action'. In creating possibilities for psychotherapeutic self-help Elisabeth Lukas thereby adopts a modern trend. Actually she gives the reader the ability to apply logotherapeutic ideas personally and achieve individual success. There are people who have suffered for years from serious neurosis without beneficial results from regular therapy, however many of these people have freed themselves from neurosis solely on the grounds by the reading of a book and independently applying its method of psychotherapy to themselves. (Substantiated evidence is available.) Both psychotherapists and patients can draw directly from this book on what logotherapy has to say and through direct application, can even avoid the detour to professional therapy. In short, this book about logotherapy is logotherapy.

Some years ago, while attending a presentation by Elisabeth Lukas, I was very impressed by her characteristic blend of humanness and scholarliness. In a subsequent conversation with her, I mentioned that I could somehow face death easier knowing that my legacy rests in such hands. Years later, as I read another manuscript by Elisabeth Lukas, this feeling deepened and repeated itself. I laid the manuscript down with pride because of my former pupil's work, and maintained the view to have the courage to hope: 'non frustra vixi' (I have not lived in vain).

 

Viktor E. Frankl, MD
Founder of logotherapy,
International professor