Mr. Holland

English 9

17 March 2014

Persuasive Essay on why Logotherapy should be employed in Medicine and Psychology

Logotherapy, the treatment of one's mind, comes from and shares some concepts of the Greek word logos. It has been used in certain medical experiments, and is a recurring theme in certain survival books. In certain experiments, such as with the programs "My Precious Life" and "Finding the meaning in my precious life", logotherapy has shown to greatly improve the sense of self and outlook on life of others. As the effects of logotherapy in Two Old Women by Velma Wallis and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer are shown to be positive, it should be employed due to its ability to change people for the better. In Two Old Women and Into the Wild, logotherapy has also been shown to give Sa', Ch'idzigyaak, and Chris McCandless strong senses of self. Unfortunately, it does have some disadvantages, such as how it mixes faith with science, making it unreliable or difficult to understand. Nonetheless, logotherapy has been shown to work. Due to the effects of logotherapy, it should be used in medicine and technology.

Logos, from which logotherapy has its name, translates to meaning and rational order, but it mainly focuses on meaning rather than logic ("What is Logotherapy and Existential Analysis?"). Logotherapy, which was developed by Viktor Frankl, is based on the concept that humans are naturally stimulated when searching for a meaning in life. It revolves around three main ideas: freedom of will, will to meaning, and meaning in life. Freedom of will refers to being to being in control of one's life as much as possible and being able to shape one's life. Freedom is very important for one's mind. Will to meaning refers to how much one is determined to accomplish one's goals in life. In logotherapy, it is believed that a free person will want to do something meaningful with his or her life, and if this desire is not fulfilled, it can lead to harmful states of mind-thus, patients will be helped and shown the way to reaching personal goals. Meaning in life refers to the importance for individual persons to realize and feel the importance of every moment in life. Patients who undertake logotherapy are helped to reach the ideal conditions to live their life in a meaningful way. By using all three of these concepts, patients can change their state of mind and find a better meaning in life-to which there is no default or expected meaning provided by their doctors ("What is Logotherapy and Existential Analysis?").

There have been several experiments with logotherapy to investigate its effects and prove that it can positively change those who it is applied to. It has been shown that some of these experiments have improved patients' meaning in life. For example, in the case where it is used in psychotherapy, two groups of adolescents with terminal cancer were tested for one week. The first group, who attended a program called "Finding the meaning in my precious life" in which logotherapy was applied, while the second group received the usual care. The result was that the quality of life of the adolescents who were experimented on improved, as well as their meaning in life. The logotherapy also stopped them from feeling anxious about their condition ("Effects of Logotherapy on Late Adolescents").

In another experiment, older elementary school children who had depression were divided into two groups and evaluated- the first group participated in the program "My Precious Life", in which logotherapy was used for five weeks, and the second group did not participate in the program. When the groups were evaluated, life respect and meaning of life increased for the first group. Their depression also reportedly decreased. The logotherapy had given them an idea of hope, as well as counteracting against stress or worries ("Effect of Logotherapy on older school-age children").

Logotherapy has also been used as treatment for patients suffering of chronic low back pain and elderly. A first group of patients received logotherapy as well as medicine for their condition, while the second group only received medicine. Later it was found that the patients in the second group had more relapses (ten) than those in the first group (four). The researchers concluded that logotherapy could be used to trigger important human comprehensive power by encouraging the function of the human brain.

Lastly, in yet another experiment, elderly who were capable of comfortably exercising, communicating and understanding Korean were divided into two groups-one group undertook the "Logotherapy with Exercise" program. After five weeks with the program, they were studied, and it was found that there was more diversity in meaning of life, and self-acceptance. The researchers thus decided that logotherapy worked for the elderly as a nursing intervention, or an act done by a nurse to change the treatment of a patient.

There are some similarities to the "Logotherapy with Exercise" program in Two Old Women. Ch'idzigyaak and Sa', after being abandoned, start over from the beginning. They begin to search themselves and for a meaning to life. Sa' declares, "So I say, if we are going to die, by friend, let us die trying, not sitting." (Wallis 16). When they are abandoned by The People, they have a chance to freedom of will, and can shape their life by going where they desire and doing what they like within their limits. They have a will to meaning, as shown by Sa's declaration that they should die trying, as they work together to accomplish the goal of surviving the winter. Sa' even voices this, declaring "We are going to prove them wrong!" (Wallis 28). After surviving for one year together, "loneliness and time had healed their most bitter memories" (Wallis 107), and the women start talking about The People, as their wounds begin to heal. The effect of exercise and logotherapy has begun to change them, and they are almost interesting in seeing them. At this point, Sa' and Ch'idigyaak even allow for them to be found. Finally, the ending indicates that "each died a truly happy old woman" (Wallis 136), indicating that they found their own meaning in life.

Similarly, in Into the Wild, Chris McCandless decides to take his life into his hands and remove himself from the known world. He makes his own freedom of will when he leaves his family, changes his name, and drives his own life which is uncontrolled by others. Nobody tells him what to do, as shown by his comment "How I feed myself is none of the government's business" (Krakauer 6). He shows great meaning to will when he talks excitedly of his "great Alaskan odyssey" (Krakauer 45). Finally, at the end of the story, Krakauer highlights a section of Tolstoy's Family Happiness which declares that happiness only comes from other people, showing that he found a meaning in life. McCandless did not have a chance to make use of his gained wisdom, but a photo of him is shown with a peaceful, happy look on his face with no worries or signs of misery-"Chris McCandless was at peace, as serene as a monk gone to God" (Krakauer 199). He had found a meaning to life using the three concepts of logotherapy.

However, one of the disadvantages of logotherapy is that it mixes psychology and science with faith and spirituality, which make it unreliable- "People can use faith as an escape from facing themselves and facing reality" ("Love is All-encompassing"). Logotherapy is not completely professional, since its concepts are ambiguous and based on human emotions, which are rather unpredictable. It does not involve religion, but the logotherapist is searching for certain religious values or thoughts to come to their patient-in a way, logotherapy works as psychology and as a philosophy. Logotherapy is based on understanding life and changing one's life and mindset, aiming for a positive mindset and outlook on life, such as how philosophies like Confucianism or Daoism promote peace and harmony.

On the other hand, logotherapy has been shown to be effective-various patients have been positively affected by it, such as the elementary school children whose depression decreased, and the cancer patients who were less affected by despair. The fact that it mixes contradictory fields of study-faith and science-is not a problem, as seen by the fact people are changed positively by it. Sa', Chi'idzigyaak and Chris McCandless all find peace and gain a positive way of thinking through logotherapy, finding unlikely happy endings. It is because of these reasons that logotherapy should be used to help people who need a better mindset.


Works Cited

Batthyany, Alexander. "What Is Logotherapy and Existential Analysis?" VIKTOR FRANKL INSTITUT. Logotherapy and Existential Analysis. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.

CH, Lee. "[Effects of Logotherapy with Exercise on Meaning of Life, Ego Integrity and IADL in the Elderly]." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2006. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

KA, Kang, Kim SJ, Song MK, and Kim MJ. "[Effects of Logotherapy on Life Respect, Meaning of Life, and Depression of Older School-age Children]." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

KA, Kang, Shim JS, Jeon DG, and Koh MS. "[The Effects of Logotherapy on Meaning in Life and Quality of Life of Late Adolescents with Terminal Cancer]." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

"Love Is All-encompassing | Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy." Viktor Frankls Logotherapy. , 28 Apr. 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.