Is logotherapy short-term therapy?

Short-term therapy is more in fashion these days. Bodies that are paying for therapy don’t want it to drag on. Clients also don’t want it to drag on.

Is logotherapy a short-term therapy? If so, what makes it different from therapy that is called by that name?

The answer from my albeit limited experience is that even though short-term therapy and similarly cognitive therapy and positive therapy utilize what appear to be similar tools, yet the perspective on man and on reality makes a critical difference in treatment.

One example that comes to mind is personal strengths. There is a different feeling to empowering the person with strengths by asking “What can you do in this situation?” because it is all up to you and empowering the person with the strength of faith by asking “What has been given to you to do? What is the task waiting for you? What is your mission? Who were you created to be?”

The formulation of the meaning of the defiant power in Marshall Lewis’ new ebook was very helpful to me. I’m not sure if these are his exact words but he wrote that there is something that makes us uniquely human, different from animals, that there are attitudes and behavior that would not be predicted from biology and psychology. Frankl called this unpredictable quality the defiant power of the human spirit.

If we think of the process of spiritual development in this way, we cannot predict the nature of the process or its duration.

Logotherapy can be short-term. The person can go through all of the stages quite quickly and come to some kind of realization and be finished in one session. It can also be very long, if the person is, what Lukas calls “hardened in protest.” The discovery of meaning can be sudden or gradual. Sometimes all it takes is one question.

This is because for the most part we are not trying to replace a bad habit with a good one or learn a new skill or negate cognitive distortions. We are simply helping the person come to a shift in consciousness, which is a shift in orientation towards life.

And this shift in consciousness is the most important skill for life that there is.

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2 Responses to Is logotherapy short-term therapy?

  1. Henry says:

    Dear Batya

    Once again some very thought provoking ideas that you share. Thank you.

    Presently I am working on an article regarding logotherapy and short-term crisis intervention / debriefing with victims of crime. Posing the questions, which you highlight in your piece, “What has been given to you to do? What is the task waiting for you? What is your mission? Who were you created to be?” appears to be a truly logotherapeutic way to raise a client’s awareness of the meaning-centered opportunities that may be ‘hidden’ in the aftermath of, amongst others, crime victimization.

    I agree with you that logotherapy can be both a long-term and short-term approach, depending on the unique person that one is dealing with. I suppose that the person-centered principle of meeting a client where he/she may be, holds true in this instance.

    You might want to scroll through and have a look at Dr. Paul Wong’s ideas and work. One idea that he proposes is ‘radical positive psychology’ for ‘radical times.’ An idea that beautifully illustrates Frankl’s concept, tragic optimism. That is, to activate the ‘defiant human spirit’ amidst the challenges of the tragic triad. His website address:



  2. logogroup says:

    Thank you Henry. I can’t wait to read Dr. Wong’s ideas. Sounds fascinating.

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