What is the goal of Existential Analysis and Logotherapy?

Existential Analysis and Logotherapy are two academically approved branches of psychotherapy in Austria, founded by Viktor E. Frankl and further developed by Alfried Längle as an independent method of psychotherapy.

“Existence, in the framework of Existential Analysis, means a meaningful life, formed freely and responsibly; a life that the person experiences as his own and which he understands himself to be a co-operator” (Alfried Längle)

As the term Existential Analysis suggests, the focus is on an existentially led life. Existential Analysis revolves around the question of what is a good life, a life lead with inner consent. It analyzes one`s life in relation to their freedom and responsibility. It appears in a general responding attitude towards life and in value-oriented, autonomously driven activity. The core question of existential analysis is what makes up a life. One cannot lead a good life outside himself, nor without himself. A dialogue between humankind and the world is necessary. An essential sign of Existential Analysis is the consistent focus on human beings and their relationship to the real world and all the values in it. Hence, Existential Analysis deals with the “human core” of the person (Frankl).

Logotherapy is less concerned with the psychic driving forces of humans, but focuses on the question of meaning.

The typical traits of Existential Analysis relate to:

  • the question of how we can lead subjectively good lives;
  • the basic existential questions require personal answers if one wishes to lead a good life;
  • life is not mainly built on general goals or generally valid norms but on the personal values of a particular individual;
  • decision-making ability and sense of responsibility flow from free will against the world;
  • person as a spiritual, unique and self-confident subject sees that he or she must not and should not be manipulated or determined;
  • individual consciousness (not collective consciousness) and the personal emotions are drawn from individual experience.