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ABOUT EXISTENTIAL ANALYSIS & LOGOTHERAPY

Existential Analysis can be defined as a phenomenological and person-oriented psychotherapy, with the aim of leading the person to (mentally and emotionally) free experiences, to facilitate authentic decisions and to bring about a truly responsible way of dealing with life and the world.

The psychotherapeutic process takes place via phenomenological analysis of the emotions as the centre of experiences. Biographical work and empathic listening by the therapist contribute to an improvement in emotional understanding and accessibility. 

Existential Psychotherapy helps people live with an inner consent to what they do versus simply "lending oneself" to an experience in a passive way. It involves an examination of the self (intrapsychic) as well as the world (interpersonal). The aim of EA is to help find a way of living that enables us to give this inner consent to our actions (an affirmation to life). It is a life led with an inner "YES" (a saying yes to life in a way that allows the person to live with a more complete presence: commitment - engagement - freedom to choose).

For a more thorough description of the theory and practice of Existential Analysis, click here 

 
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THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF 
EXISTENTIAL ANALYSIS

Existential Analysis was conceived by Viktor E. Frankl in the 1930s as an anthropological theory of an existential school of psychotherapy. At the same time Frankl developed “Logotherapy” as a meaning-oriented form of counselling and treatment.


Existential Analysis means an analysis of the conditions necessary for a life in which values have their place and that is self-shaped and dignified. The aim of Existential Analysis is to develop one’s perceptiveness and individual activity (capability for commitment) in one’s experiences, relations and actions. This means that Existential Analysis deals with the personal conditions prerequisite for a meaningful existence in cases where these are blocked by psychic illnesses or troubles.


The theoretical and practical basis of Existential Analysis is the concept of the Fundamental Motivations (Längle), which are systematically referred to in counselling and therapy as the “building blocks of existence”. In addition, the method of “Personal Existential Analysis” is used in therapy. This represents an existential and phenomenological method of psychotherapy which makes it possible to treat psychogenetic (particularly neurotic) troubles with Existential Analysis in a similar manner to depth psychology. This form of Existential Analysis was developed in the GLE and is exclusively taught there.


The concepts of the GLE constitute an elaboration of Frankl’s approach and, in particular, include work on emotions and biography. This is especially important since the existential analytical and logotherapeutical anthropology sees humans as beings who constantly shape their lives with conscious or unconscious decisions. But decisions can only be taken in a meaningful way, if the values in question are made conscious, are experienced and are weighed against each other. This act requires perceptivity as far as the world around is concerned instead of self-absorption. Furthermore, this is only possible if one has access to one’ s emotions which bring a person in touch with his or her values.


Existential Analysis does not see a person as the mere result of intrapsychic processes or of the influences of his environment, but as someone who can shape him or herself in those things that count in life. Therefore notions like being (existence), relation (values), freedom of decision, responsibility (conscience) form the fundamental concepts of the existential analytical way of thinking and they all lead to the idea of “meaning” (=logos).


The practical application of logotherapy as a meaning-oriented form of counselling and treatment consists primarily in assisting people who are not (yet) ill, but who suffer from a sense of loss of existential orientation. Thus, logotherapy is widely applicable in psychological, psychohygenic, social, preventive, caring, educational and pastoral fields. It contributes to the prophylaxis of disorders and to the prevention and treatment of feelings of meaninglessness and emptiness (“existential vacuum”). Its aim is to enhance the individual experience of meaning by leading to a freely chosen responsibility (“individual responsibility”).

 

CONTEMPORARY EXISTENTIAL ANALYSIS

Alfried Längle, M.D., Ph.D. and the development of contemporary EA

Dr. Alfried Längle was born in 1951 in Austria where he still lives. He studied medicine and psychology at the Universities of Innsbruck, Rome, Toulouse and Vienna. After years of hospital work in general medicine and psychiatry and in an outpatient department of social psychiatry he started a private practice in psychotherapy, general medicine and clinical psychology in Vienna (since 1982). 

At the same time, he came into close collaboration with Viktor Frankl (1981-1991). He assisted Frankls lectures at the university for years and worked together with him in many relevant fields of Logotherapy. He is the founder and president (1983-2017) of the International Society for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (Vienna www.existenzanalyse.org ), whose honorary president was Viktor Frankl until 1990. By this date, Frankl resigned from his honorary presidency because of Längle’s new developments in the field of existential analysis (methods, implication of existential self-experience in the training seminars, rejecting the exclusive use of the meaning paradigm in psychotherapy and enlarging its theoretical basis, implementation of biographical work). 

He was on faculty at the Universities of Vienna (1984 - 2006), Innsbruck (1994 - 2000) and since 2000 lecturer at universities in Moscow, Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Santiago de Chile. Faculty member and professor of applied psychology (psychotherapy) at the Moscow’s HSE-university (since 2004). Since 2005 professor at the psychological faculty of the Higher School of Economy (HSE), Moscow, since 2006 extraordinary professor at the psychological faculty of the Univ. of Klagenfurt, Austria, and since 2011 guest professor at the Sigmund Freud Univ. Vienna. Founder of the training school of Existential-Analytical Psychotherapy, which got its stately approval in Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Rumania.

In 2000 he got an honorary doctor’s degree in recognition of his developments in the field of existential analysis from the medical faculty of the university of Temesvar and in 2004 from the psychological department of the Universidad de las Americas in Santiago de Chile. In 2006 he received the Science Premium of Vorarlberg (Austria) for a scientific life’s work. He  got 6 honorary professorships: for psychology in Salta, Argentina (2006), from the Lomonossow-University in Moscow (2008), from the Universidad Aconcagua in Mendoza, Argentina (2010); and a honorary professorship for medicine from the state univ. of Kursk, Russia (2012), from the Pedagogical-Psychological Univ. in Moscow (MGPU) also in 2012, and from the Moscow MOSPI-Univ. (2015).

In 2011 he received the Golden Medal for Merits for the Republic of Austria.