Viktor E. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy and existential analysis, a psychotherapy modality that focuses on finding meaning in life, particularly in the face of adversity.
Frankl was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1905. He earned his medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1930. During World War II, he and his family were sent to concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where his wife and parents died. Despite the unimaginable suffering he endured, Frankl believed that life offers unconditional meaning, which inspired his teachings and writings.
After the war, Frankl returned to Vienna and continued to develop his theory of logotherapy and existential analysis. He believed that people could find meaning in their lives through three avenues: creative work or deeds, relationships with others, and the attitude they take towards unavoidable suffering. He published several books, including Man’s Search for Meaning, which has sold millions of copies in many languages.
In addition to his work as a clinician and author, Frankl was a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna.
Frankl’s work had a significant impact on psychology, philosophy, and other fields, and he received numerous honors for his contributions. He died in Vienna in 1997, at the age of 92.
Viktor E. Frankl is primarily known for his contributions to the field of psychology. He believed that humans have an innate desire to find meaning in their lives, and that this sense of purpose is essential for mental health and well-being.
Viktor E. Frankl’s teachings on logotherapy have had a significant impact on mental health professionals, educators, and spiritual leaders. There are also several universities that offer courses and programs in existential psychology, which often include a focus on logotherapy.
In Canada, Viktor E. Frankl offered the following presentations:
1959: McGill University Conference on Depression and Allied States, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
1962: “Existential Dynamics and Neurotic Escapism,” International Conference on Existential Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
1968: “The Task of Education in an Age of Meaninglessness,” University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and the Hayward Lectures, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada.
1972: “Youth in Search for Meaning,” St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
1977: “The Unheard Cry for Meaning,” Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada, and CBC interview “Man Alive.”
1980: “The Meaning of Suffering for the Terminally Ill,” II International Conference for the Terminally Ill, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
CBC dedicated a radio program entitled “The Meaningful Man” (2016) on the influence of the work of Viktor E. Frankl. Many professionals have been inspired by Frankl’s work and have integrated logotherapy into their practice.