Spiritual source of logotherapy

The second logotalk podcast question put to me was:

Marshall: Do you see logotherapy as having a spiritual source, and, if so, how would you describe it?

Batya: Frankl writes about the unconscious relation to God. We can say simply that the spiritual source of logotherapy is meaning and the ultimate source of meaning is God.

Alternatively we can say that the spiritual source of logotherapy resides in the human spirit that seeks meaning. I’d like to expand on this a bit. Huston Smith in Forgotten Truth writes that science, and with it modernity affirms only the physical level. What is left out, he notes, is the human spirit, values, purposes and life meanings.

Isn’t it odd that the field of psychology feels so at home in science, when the scientific community’s occupation with only the physical dimension causes values, life meanings and the human spirit to be absent where it is needed the most, in human psychology?

In contrast to other approaches, the aim of logotherapy is to call forth the spirit in us. I see the logotherapist as having been given the role of messenger or partner with the Creator of this person to call the person out of hiding and into relationship with the One who created him or her.

This is why even the techniques of logotherapy are not techniques but a reorientation towards meaning. For example dereflection evokes the human spirit by drawing on the power of self-transcendence. Think about it. Why do we try so hard to succeed? Isn’t it because we’re trying to prove to someone we can do it? Why is it that the more we look obsessively at how we’re doing, the more we mess up? Isn’t it because we think that we are in control and it’s all up to us? Deep in our spirit we know it’s not all up to us. But when I am self-absorbed and distracted by my problem, I’m out of touch with my spirit.

I must forget myself so that I can find myself! The spirit cannot be contained in a tight box of perfectionism and rigid expectations. The natural state of the spirit is to flow and seek meaning “out there,” in a world filled with exciting adventures and values to fulfill.

In a similar vein paradoxical intention draws on the human capacity for self-detachment. I am capable of being temporarily detached and removed from the situation so that I loosen the grip of fear that holds my spirit back.

Animals do not know how to laugh. Only humans can poke fun at a tragic or painful situation. Only humans have a hierarchy of values that gives them something to live for. Once we loosen the grip of fear, we are free us to see what confronts us as an opportunity to change things!

These are some of the ways logotherapy lifts the person out of the psychic level into the human level, where true healing takes place.

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