The concept of self-transcendence is one factor that distinguishes Logotherapy from other therapeutic approaches. It is that human capacity to “reach out beyond oneself, toward meanings to fulfill, people to love, causes to serve” (Frankl).
In Logotherapy the human being is not considered a closed system but is a person who must be directed and pointing to something or someone other than self. Other pathways to self-fulfillment are incomplete or at best cul-de-sacs. Reaching out beyond the self and becoming the person we wish to be is a lifetime task. To accomplish it we must understand that “the door to happiness only opens outward”. (Kierkegaard)
In many therapeutic approaches the aim can be to stabilise the client emotionally, often by becoming aware of my behaviours and emotions and the triggers for them. This self-awareness can be a good first step in therapy. It is the basis of psychoanalysis for instance. Freudian approaches can help the client understand why they have become as they are.
Once behaviours and emotions are understood and stable, the next step might be to take decisions, to stand back and look at one’s life and decide on next steps, directions for the future.
This self-distancing is a good second step in Logotherapy. Solution-focused approaches for instance would emphasise this step.
Logotherapy challenges the client to take a further step. Rather than be satisfied that a decision has been made and the cause of anxiety uncovered, the client is challenged to dis-satisfaction. We are challenged to live a meaningful life, to take a stand towards a task, a person, a cause, outside of the self and thus to continue along the path to becoming a more complete human being.
The logotherapist walks with clients to help them discern the real challenges of living a meaning-filled life. To find out more about becoming a logotherapist or to access counselling with a logotherapeutic approach, read through this website or fill out the Contact Us form below.