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.