Logotherapy & Reclaiming Youth From the Existential Vacuum – SDP #21

[podcast] Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy is a relevant framework and also a confusing term as it makes one think of branding and not the Greek word logos, which is “meaning”.  In this podcast, I share why it is important to make youth aware of Logotherapy as a perspective to counter the growing rhetoric of determinism and The Butterfly Effect that are eroding belief in free will and therefore distancing people from a sense of control over self or environment.  Such disempowerment, I believe, destroys agency and purpose and therefore contributes to personal anxieties, depression and an overall ability to set goals and live a non-centric lifestyle.  Perspective taking is a deficit in today’s youth that are IV hooked to the steady drip of social media affirmation.  A quick search in jurn.org will discover countless studies of the negative relationships between youth (and all adult) mental health and addiction to social media applications.  I believe that Logotherapy should be taught to all youth.

Listen to this episode at  https://tinyurl.com/SDP21-AUDIO


Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist who founded what he called the field of “Logotherapy”, which has been dubbed the “Third Viennese School of Psychology” (following Freud and Alder). Logotherapy developed in and through Frankl’s personal experience in the Nazi concentration camps. The years spent there deeply affected his understanding of reality and the meaning of human life. His most popular book, Man’s Search for Meaning, chronicles his experience in the camp as well as the development of Logotherapy. During his time there, he found that those around him who did not lose their sense of purpose and meaning in life were able to survive much longer than those who had lost their way.


Dr. Perrodin provides several chilling, yet reflective accounts from Frankl’s hallmark book.  For example, Dr. Frankl shared that a prisoner was never awoken from a nightmare as the reality of life in the camp was certainly worse than anything conjured in the mind.  He also talked of how he volunteered to care for typhus patients, although such an act very well could have brought upon his own physical demise.


It is loosely interpreted as therapy through finding meaning as “logos” translates to “meaning” in Greek.  However, Dr. Perrodin explains why he interprets Logotherapy as less of a therapy and more of a framework. Logotherapy has 3 basic assumptions (1) Life has meaning under all circumstances (2) People have a will to meaning (3) People have freedom under all circumstances to activate the will to meaning and to find meaning.


Dr. Frankl believes the dimensional ontology image of a human being also is the composite of a triad of characteristics: (1) Body (soma), (2) Mind (psyche), (3) Spirit (noetic core) – and this core is immune to sickness of the flesh.


Frankl’s meaning triangle for finding meaning in life (1) Creativity (giving something in the world through self-expression: using our talents in various ways, i.e., the work we do, the gifts we give to life). (2) Experiencing (receiving from the world: through nature, culture, relationships, and interactions with others and with our environment). (3) Change of attitude (even if we can’t change a situation or circumstances, we can still choose our attitude toward a condition, this is often a self-transcending way of finding meaning, especially in unavoidable suffering).


Frankl’s way to describe life that has no meaning and this perpetual condition creates a void that we aim to satiate with drugs, violence, food, and other vices such as modern-day social media — yet the void will be a black hole and we will be forced to intellectually reason with our purpose to live or to die.

PURPOSE IN LIFE TEST (PILT)  (Crumbaugh & Maholick, 1964).  Dr. Perrodin describes this quick 20-question test that is one tool to help determine when a person is in a state of existential vacuum.


Frankl’s “Spirit” or noetic core of human ontology resides in a place unreachable by Facebook Likes, Generational Poverty or Personal Strife.  Logotherapy is intrinsic and introspective.  It is Viktor Frankl’s philosophy of life.  As such, it can be used in every profession and walk of life.  Today it is being used by educators, counselors, ministers, etc.  We can all use it in our daily life, when dealing with our family, friends and colleagues.


David will respond to discussion thread comments or questions & also to emails.  The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD.


Opinions are those of the host and guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”.  The show is curse free and adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse and debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety.

Websites / Resources Discussed During this Podcast

Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy:  http://www.logotherapyinstitute.org/About_Viktor_Frankl.html

Purpose in Life Test:  http://faculty.fortlewis.edu/burke_b/personality/pil.pdf