A search for meaning is the dominant motivating force in our lives. This is the central tenet of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, a humanistic form of psychotherapy originating in the ideas of the psychiatrist and neurologist Victor E. Frankl. Frankl believed that life confronts us with a series of questions, and that it is our responsibility to answer these questions in order to discover the purpose of our own existence. We engage with these questions by applying our values to them and exercising our freewill, which Frankl saw as the freedom to shape our lives within the limits of given possibilities. Freewill and a 'will to meaning' are inherent parts of human existence.
Frankl's theories were further developed by the clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Alfried Längle. According to Längle, there are three further motivations that define us: The desire to exist in a safe and reliable environment, to enjoy this existence and to live authentically. Furthermore, we need to be surrounded by relationships based on mutual love and respect and feel appreciated for who we we are within these relationships. Individuals can find meaning in their lives and come to understand their values as long as existential needs such as trust and support, care and intimacy, respect and appreciation are fulfilled. Even when they go through a crisis or fall into an existential vacuum, these individuals can find the strength to continue. Logotherapy and Existential Analysis aims to help clients through distressing periods in their lives by strengthening the bonds and the values that give their existence meaning, and to help them develop a composure and confidence that will sustain them whatever happens in future.
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