Unavoidable suffering, inerasable guilt, and death are three inescapable predicaments of human life. Hence because they are inescapable, it is the attitude we take to them that must provide a way forward.
They can cause psychopathic conditions, mostly depressions. Logotherapy offers aid through medical ministry, by helping find meaning through changed attitudes in unchangeable situations.
Suffering: Because logotherapy believes that life always has meaning, then there must be a meaning to be found in suffering.
Guilt: This has the potential to help my future decisions be taken in a more meaningful way.
Death: Makes each day of life important.
Frankl suggests that logotherapy is a very positive approach to life because it does address these unavoidable issues and seek to find meaning in them.
“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering it is also full of the overcoming of it.” (Helen Keller). This is certainly a logotherapeutic attitude to life, and attitude is the only way the components of the tragic triad can be addressed.
Frankl regarded the concentration camps as a living laboratory that tested and proved the theories he had been expounding in his early work.
If one was ever the survive the suffering of the camps, given that life was a fragile lottery from day to day, meaning had to be found in the suffering. “Suffering has meaning if it makes you a better person”. (Yehuda Bacon, quoted by Frankl).
Guilt in logotherapy, provided it is real, resulting from a decision that our conscience tells us is simply wrong, and over which we did have control, is something to be accepted in logotherapy, not brushed under the carpet. Once accepted, time becomes a friend as while we can never reverse that past decision, the future can be filled with meaning as we become the person we wish to be when similar challenges arise.
Death provides the final purpose of life. Each day is important, as days are limited. The person at the end of life can be encouraged to look at “the rich granaries of the past” rather than fixate on the “fields of stubble” left behind.
The logotherapist walks with clients to help them take a stand towards the tragic triad, the unavoidable conditions in 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.