Theoretical outline of existential/logotherapy

I found this as I was going through my Google Doc drive. This was the  counseling theory I used when while I was in school. All of my papers, clients, etc. had to be done through the Logotherapy lens (developed by Viktor Frankl. I was told it would not be possible. I was encouraged to consider another orientation as Logotherapy was “too existential” and not able to be applied to real life. I chose to stick with it and at the end of my 2 years, I was commended for how well I was able to incorporate it into my counseling and papers. It was not just a theory to me, it was a way of living. I felt as a Christian, we live our lives according to the Logotherapy expectations.

I would love to get your opinion on the matter. Hopefully this outline will provide clarity and not confusion. If it is too technical or not in depth enough, feel free to let me know, I would love to discuss it in details. 🙂

Theoretical outline of existential/logotherapy

Vanessa Gore

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

  • Basic Assumptions of the Orientation

    • View of self
      • Responsibility
        • Each individual assumes responsibility for his/her own life
        • Must take responsibility in order to create meaning for one’s life
      • Meaning
        • The search for meaning is the main motivating factor which drives every individual
        • This search for meaning creates a desire to make the most of one’s life
          • There will always be a slightly uncomfortable feeling which pushes one to pursue life
          • Every individual must learn to accept this feeling and deal with it
          • With out this feeling/drive one will become complacent in life and stop pursuing life’s meaning
        • Life’s meaning can change
          • The idea is to live in the moment
          • Understand the meaning for life at that particular time
        • Unique to each individual
          • Each individual has a unique meaning in life
          • One’s life can never be repeated by anyone
        • Meaning is to be found in the outward and not the inner self
          • One should focus on others more than self
          • This allows the individual to become more human
        • 3 ways to create meaning
          • Create work or do deeds
          • Invest into someone’s life (to love them)
          • Adopt a positive (triumphant) attitude towards unavoidable suffering
        • View of the world
          • Complex and full of controversy
            • Life-death
            • Joy-sadness
            • Health-pain
            • Pleasure-suffering
          • Each individual must learn to accept all elements of life
          • Meaning can be found in all of life’s elements, even death and suffering
            • Death is only part of life’s journey-not something to be feared
            • Suffering can create triumph
              • This refers to unavoidable suffering (suffering which occurs and nothing can be done to escape it or avoid it)
              • Suffering is not required to find meaning in life
            • View of person in crisis
              • Has lost hope in life
                • When one loses hope, then he/she has given up on life
                • Hope is what keeps an individual alive
                  • Provides a reason to live
                  • Gives the ability to see beyond the current circumstance
                • Stopped searching for what life truly means
                  • Has become complacent with life
                  • Only going through the motions of life, and not engaging it
                • View of the therapist’s role
                  • There to guide the client
                    • Assist the client in restoring hope
                      • Help to see the triumph in unavoidable suffering
                      • See beyond the current circumstance, and how to make meaning from what is occurring
                    • Get back to searching for life’s meaning
                      • Discover the 3 ways to create meaning
                      • Successfully cope with the inward drive which pushes every individual to make the most of life
                    • Help client accept all elements of life (good and not so good)
                  • Set an example
                    • How to engage in life
                    • How to keep hope alive in one’s life
                    • How to create meaning
                    • How to deal with the inner tension which is created by the pursuit of life
                    • How to make meaning in the moment
                  • Journey with the client
                    • Investing in the client
                    • Taking interest and showing care and concern
  • Major Components of the Orientation
    • Hope
      • It is what keeps every individual engaged in living life
      • If hope is lost, then one has lost the will to live
      • Hope must be restored to be able to successfully make the most of life
    • Responsibility
      • It is important for each individual to accept responsibility for his/her own life
      • Without responsibility then the individual will feel no need to change
    • Meaning
      • Individual must discover meaning for his/her own life
      • Each individual has a different meaning for his/her own life
      • Meaning can change, so the goal is to make the most of the moment
      • Found in the world, not inside the self
      • The more focus put towards outward things rather than an inward search, the easier it becomes to discover life’s meaning
    • 3 ways to discover meaning
      • Create work or do deeds
        • Work does not necessarily refer to  a “career”
        • Deeds something done for someone else
        • The purpose is to engage the mind and create a sense of accomplishment and achievement
      • Invest in someone’s life (to show him/her love)
        • This allows the individual to see his/her own potential
        • It encourages the person to pursue life and live up to this potential
        • Leads him/her to pursue his/her own meaning in life
      • Adopting a positive (triumphant) attitude towards unavoidable suffering
        • Acknowledge meaning can be created from suffering
          • This is done by adjusting to the situation
          • Cannot change the circumstance, then must change self
        • Find a meaning in the suffering and then one will no longer be suffering
  • Treatment Applications or Processes of Change for the Orientation
    • Restore a sense of hope
      • Find what caused one to lose hope
        • Not a dig into the past
        • A search for the trigger so as to change the mindset towards the trigger
      • Recognize hope is what allows a person to engage life
    • Take responsibility for finding life’s meaning
      • Creating work or doing deeds
        • Not always a career, although it can be
          • If work is equal to career then begin search for a career that is more suitable to the individual
          • Find a career which would benefit the individual and lead him her to engage life
          • If not career
            • Search out an interest/hobby
            • Something which can provide a sense of accomplishment and achievement
          • Investing in someone’s life
            • Find someone to mentor
            • Encourage someone who is experiencing a loss of hope
            • Must take the time to make a difference in the individual’s life
          • Adopting a positive attitude towards suffering
            • Accepting one cannot change the circumstance
            • Must change how he/she responds to the circumstance
            • Find meaning in the suffering
          • Learn to deal with the inner conflict which pushes one to search for meaning
            • Understand it is a driving force/a source of motivation
            • It encourages us to never become complacent
          • Learn to become comfortable with all elements of life
            • Understand death is a part of life’s journey and is not to be feared
            • Accept some things cannot be changed but how one responds to it can
            • Recognize suffering is a part of creating meaning for one’s life
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