1. Become familiar with the tenets of Logotherapy,
to include origins, the three pillars, interventions,
and methods and techniques.
2. Learn how Logotherapy can be incorporated
into your own counseling technique for treating
3. See how Logotherapy can be utilized with
Veterans or anyone with substance abuse issues.
4. Share experiences utilizing existential analysis.
“ I have used the techniques and interventions for
years, but I couldn’t speak the language”.
“..the most significant psychological movement of our
day.” Gordon Allport
“..perhaps the most significant thinking since Freud
and Adler.” American Journal of Psychiatry
“Logotherapy...remains a neglected but most worthy
legacy.” Liesl Kosma (Frankl’s niece)
“Frankl is..the last of the great European philosophers
and psychiatrists of the Twentieth Century.” Dr.
Robert C. Barnes
“As there is a Statue of Liberty on the East coast, there
should be a Statue of Responsibility on the West
coast” Dr. Viktor Frankl
1. Founded the Third Viennese School of
Psychotherapy, after Freud and Adler.
Founder of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
Held 29 honorary doctorates and authored 32
books in 26 languages
“Man’s Search for Meaning”, (1946) is his most
famous book; one of the ten most influential books
in America today.
Spent 3 years in concentrations camps during
WWII, including Auschwitz.
Institutes of Logotherapy have been
established around the world.
Logotherapy can be used in conjunction with
other forms of intervention, primarily CBT.
“Logos” (Greek) refers to meaning; life
involves suffering, but out of that suffering
comes meaning. Meaning can be described in
terms of creative, experiential, and attitudinal
virtues. Every human is body, mind, and spirit.
Self-transcendence is, according to Frankl, the
authentic essence of existence.
1. The Meaning of Life
(Life holds meaning in any situation, even the
most miserable).
2. Freedom of Will
(Not freedom from conditions, but freedom to
face whatever conditions might confront you).
3. Will to Meaning
(The primary motivator in life, as opposed to
pleasure (Freud) or power (Adler).
Avoiding hyper-reflection (open ended questions)
Distance from symptoms (freedom & responsibility)
Modification of attitudes
Letting go of hyper-intentions (manifested in
Combating negative self image (identify blockage)
Orientation toward meaning (joint venture between
the therapist and the client)(Creative, Experiential,
and Attitudinal).
Self Discovery – The Ah-Hah! Moment
Choices – “You may be trapped, but you are
not without choices.”
Uniqueness – “When we become aware of
personal uniqueness, meaning emerges.”
Responsibility – “Life will be meaningful if you
learn to take responsibility for your choices.”
Self-transcendence – the human capacity to
reach beyond ourselves to other people.
Paradoxical Intention – self distancing from
symptoms with the use of humor (facing fear).
Dereflection – happiness is not the goal,
distance ourselves from conditions and reach
Modification of Attitudes – there is meaning in
every situation, regardless of conditions. “The
defiant power of the human spirit”.
Humor, metaphors, and logoanchors
Every 80 minutes, a veteran of OIF (Iraqi Freedom), or
OEF (Enduring Freedom), commits suicide.
Many of these suicides are preventable if the veteran
can access help.
The Veterans Administration and Active Duty Military
are overwhelmed in terms of mental health services.
It falls on civilian counselors and therapists to pick up
the slack and provide services to our heroes.
The number of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans seeking
care for PTSD was roughly 30% of the total number
who sought health care from 2002 to 2012, according to
a revised VA report. NextGov (12/26)
Effects of Cognitive Therapy on symptoms of
PTSD and depression – TCA Newsline
Report chronicles the rising burden of military
mental health care – TCA Newsline
DOD to break ground on Ft. Belvoir TBI, PTSD
center – Army Times
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to pledge $100
million for state–of-the-art treatment centers at
nine military bases – AF Times
Center provides advice on post-deployment
intimacy issues – American Forces press
James is a 33 year old, white, male, with a wife
and a five year old daughter. He spent nine
years in the U.S Marine Corps, primarily in
motor transport. While in Afghanistan, he
suffered four TBI’s as a result of grenade and
rocket concussions. Each time, he was treated
and released to resume duty. Six months after
his return symptoms began to appear
(flashbacks, balance, migraines, social phobia,
nightmares, lack of motivation, and anger
issues). He was subsequently given a medical
Honorable Discharge two years ago.
Clients wife contacted me for help, because James had
never been able to find a counselor that he could
“relate to”. We established a good therapeutic
relationship, because I “spoke his language”, and could
provide interventions he had not experienced. The wife
has joined us twice to work on relationship issues.
I sought to establish meaning in James’ life by using a
combination of humor, story telling, and metaphors. I
used paradoxical intention to overcome agoraphobia
and anxiety. I used “will to meaning” to encourage him
to become involved in his passion, working on old cars.
I used concentration on a candle on the floor to
encourage Socratic dialog about his experiences.
I used a metaphor of “just as you need rehab to
get better, don’t you think your old car needs
rehab?” to encourage his mechanic hobby. I
also encouraged him to take “baby steps”, but
be sure to “complete the mission”. Repair with
his wife was condensed as “others have gone
through this and been successful”. I confronted
him over his anger issues by saying, “quit
treating your wife and daughter the way you
treated your Marines!” I used the “magic
question” as a means of getting him to project
into the future and verbalizing his dreams.
I see James on a bi-weekly basis, with his wife
attending every other session. Last session they
could not recall an argument they had in the last
two weeks. They are creating “alone time” and
making love twice a week. James is still dealing
with multiple physical issues, but I have seen
remarkable progress in his outlook on life,
motivation, willingness to consider alternative
strategies, and his relationship with his wife and
his daughter. We have walked through the
grieving process around the loss of his military
career. He has also recently become involved with
Special Olympics as a coach and a referee.
Did you know? Afghanistan is the # 1 producer of
poppies/opium in the world?
Alcohol is supposed to be forbidden in Muslim
countries, but military members are resourceful.
Many of the Logotheraputic interventions are
equally effective with substance abusers.
Be aware of the diagnosis called COPSD, or cooccurring psychiatric and substance disorders.
DO NOT be afraid to refer to specialists.
We are not always free to choose life conditions, but
we are free to be responsible for our own actions.
There is a huge perceived stigma attached to
admitting you might have a drug/alcohol problem
(denial of promotion or ultimately discharge).
USMC to begin twice yearly random testing for all
Marines starting this year.
Military tends to “take care of their own”.
Alcohol use DOD-wide is being de-emphasized; no
more “mandatory happy hour”.
Substance abuse makes you a liability!
Abusing your body is disrespecting God.
Marshall, M. and Marshall, E. (2012). Logotherapy
Revisited. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Graber, Ann (2004) Viktor Frankl’s
Logotherapy. Wyndham Hall Press
Frankl, Viktor E. (1959) Man’s Search for
Meaning. Beacon Press, Boston, MA
Frankl, Viktor E. (1986) The Doctor and the Soul.
Vintage Books, New York.
The Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy.