What is Logotherapy?
Logotherapy pushes patients to consciously discover their life’s purpose in order to confront their neuroses. Their quest to fulfill their destiny then motivates them to press forward, breaking the mental chains of the past and overcoming whatever obstacles they encounter along the way.
The Search for Meaning?
The search for purpose become a personal, driving force that allowed Frankl to achieve his goals. The process of logotherapy can be summarized in these five steps:
- A person feels empty, frustrated, or anxious.
- The therapist shows him that what he is feeling is the desire to have a meaningful life.
- The patient discovers his life’s purpose (at that particular point in time).
- Of his own free will, the patient decides to accept or reject that destiny.
- This newfound passion for life helps him overcome obstacles and sorrows.
Frankl himself would live and die for his principles and ideals. His experiences as a prisoner at Auschwitz showed him that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” It was something he had to go through alone, without any help, and it inspired him for the rest of his life.
Ten Differences Between Psychoanalysis and Logotherapy.
- The patient reclines on a couch, like a patient.
- Is retrospective: It looks to the past.
- Is introspective: It analyzes neuroses.
- The drive is toward pleasure.
- Centers on psychology.
- Works on psychogenic neuroses.
- Analyzes the unconscious origin of conflicts (instinctual dimension).
- Limits itself to the patient’s instincts.
- Is fundamentally incompatible with faith.
10.Seeks to reconcile conflicts and satisfy impulses and instincts.
- The patient sits facing the therapist, who guides him or her without passing judgment.
- Looks toward the future.
- Does not delve into the patient’s neuroses.
- The drive is toward purpose and meaning.
- Includes a spiritual dimension.
- Also work on noogenic, or existential, neuroses.
- Deals with conflicts when and where they arise (spiritual dimension).
- Also deals with spiritual realities.
- Is compatible with faith.
10.Seeks to help the patient find meaning in his life and satisfy his moral principles.
Fight for Yourself
Existential frustration arises when our life is without purpose, or when that purpose is skewed. In Frankl’s view, however, there is no need to see this frustration as an anomaly or a symptom of neurosis; instead, it can be a positive thing—a catalyst for change.
According to logotherapy, discovering one’s purpose in life helps an individual fill that existential void. Frankl, a man who faced his problems and turned his objectives into actions, could look back on his life in peace as he grew old. He did not have to envy those still enjoying their youth, because he had amassed a broad set of experiences that showed he had lived for something.
Better living through logotherapy: A few key ideas
- We don’t create the meaning of our life, as Sartre claimed—we discover it.
- We each have a unique reason for being, which can be adjusted or transformed many times over the years.
- Just as worry often brings about precisely the thing that was feared, excessive attention to a desire (or “hyper-intention”) can keep that desire from being fulfilled.
- Humor can help break negative cycle and reduce anxiety.
- We all have the capacity to do noble or terrible things. The side of the equation we end up on depends on our decisions, not on the condition in which we find ourselves.
Morita therapy is not meant to eliminate symptoms; instead it teaches us to accept our desires, anxieties, fears, and worries, and let them go. As Morita writes in his book Morita Therapy and the True Nature of Anxiety-Based Disorders, “In feelings, it is best to be wealthy and generous.”
Morita explained the idea of letting go of negative feelings with the following fable: A donkey that is tied to a post by a rope will keep walking around the post in an attempt to free itself, only to become more immobilized and attached to the post. The same thing applies to people with obsessive thinking who become more trapped in their own suffering when they try to escape from their fears and discomfort.
The basic Principles of Morita Therapy
- Accept your feelings. If we have obsessive thoughts, we should not try to control them or get rid of them. If we do, they become more intense. Regarding human emotions, the Zen master would say. “If we try to get rid of one wave with another, we end up with an infinite sea.” We don’t create our feelings; they simply come to us, and we have to accept them. The trick is welcoming them.
- Do what you should be doing. We shouldn’t focus on eliminating symptoms, because recovery will come on its own. We should focus instead on the present moment, and if we are suffering, on accepting that suffering. Above all, we should avoid intellectualizing the situation. The therapist’s mission is to develop the patient’s character so he or she can face any situation, and character is grounded in the things we do. Morita therapy does not offer its patients explanations, but rather allows them to learn from their actions and activities. It doesn’t tell you how to meditate, or how to keep a diary the way western therapies do. It is up to the patient to make discoveries through experience.
- Discover your life’s purpose. We can’t control our emotions; buy we can take charge of our actions every day. This is why we should have a clear sense of our purpose, and always keep Morita’s mantra in mind: “What do we need to be doing right now? What action should we be taking?” The key to achieving this is having dared to look inside yourself to find your ikigai.
The four Phases of Morita Therapy
Morita’s original treatment, which lasts fifteen to twenty-one days, consists of the following stages:
- Isolation and rest (five to seven days). During the first week of treatment, the patient rests in a room without any external stimuli. No television, books, family, friends, or speaking. All the patient has is his thoughts. He lies down for most of the day and is visited regularly by the therapist, who tries to avoid interacting with him as much as possible. The therapist simply advises the patient to continue observing the rise and fall of his emotions as he lies there. When the patient gets bored and wants to start doing things again, he is ready to move on to the next stage of therapy.
- Lights occupational therapy (five to seven days). In this stage, the patient performs repetitive tasks in silence. One of these is keeping a diary about his thoughts and feelings. The patient goes outside after a week of being shut in, takes walks in nature, and does breathing exercise. He also starts doing simple activities, such as gardening, drawing, or painting. During this stage, the patient is still not allowed to talk to anyone, except the therapist.
- Occupational therapy (five to seven days). In this stage, the patient performs tasks that require physical movement. Dr. Morita liked to take his patients to the mountains to chop wood. In addition to physical tasks, the patient is also immersed in other activities, such as writing, painting, or making ceramics. The patient can speak with others at this stage, but only about the tasks at hand.
- The return to social life and the “real” world. The patient leaves the hospital and is reintroduced to social life, but maintains the practices of meditation and occupational therapy developed during treatment. The idea is to reenter society as a new person, with a sense of purpose, and without being controlled by social or emotional pressures.
Morita was a great Zen master of Naikan introspective meditation. Much of his therapy draws on his knowledge and mastery of this school, which centers on three questions the individual must ask him-or herself:
- What have I received from Person X?
- What have I given to person X?
- What problems have I caused person X?
Through these reflections, we stop identifying others as the cause of our problems and deepen our own sense of responsibility. As Morita said, “If you are angry and want to fight, think about it for three days before coming to blows. After three days, the intense desire to fight will pass on its own.”
Logotherapy and Morita therapy are both grounded in a personal, unique experience that you can access without therapists or spiritual retreats: the mission of finding your ikigai, your existential fuel. Once you find it, it is only a matter of having the courage and making the effort to stay on the right path.
This Article is taken From Ikigai.
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Written by Arshad. A