Viktor Frankl’s central theme was the necessity of finding purpose in life. As he tells the powerful story in Man’s Search for Meaning, he learned that this was the only way to survive the tortures of a Nazi concentration camp.
In creating his own form of psychotherapy, which he called logotherapy, he identified three ways of arriving at meaning in one’s life. They are work, love and the one he believed was most important, the ability to rise above oneself.
When faced with tragedy and situations that were unalterable, he believed that a person could escape the feeling of being a helpless victim. The key was to find meaning in the suffering itself and to define a guiding purpose that could change the direction of one’s life.
These are the themes of this brief video. It is an excerpt from a talk he gave to a group of Canadian Youth Corps volunteers in 1972. The quality is poor, and the excerpt begins in mid-sentence. Nevertheless, it captures the spirit of Frankl’s own driving purpose in helping people change their lives.
Do you think this is a feasible way to turn around the feeling of being helpless in the face of depression? Has this idea aided your search for a way to begin recovery?