The Role Of Logotherapy And The Existential Gap In Addiction

1479 words - 6 pages

Ravaging the country is a diagnosable addiction in which laptops are drug dealers and online communities are the enslaving substances. Internet Addiction, otherwise referred to as IA, is one of the most quickly spreading addictions in today’s population, and is not a compulsion that is very well comprehended by the general public (Buckenmeyer). This addiction to that which is virtual and has no real emotional connection is thought to be the result of social isolation, and a feeling of meaninglessness. Over the past few decades, logotherapy, or psychological treatment by recognizing the meaning in one’s existence, has been spotlighted as an effective way to alleviate patients of binding addictions caused by an existential vacuum. In fact, programs used to treat addictions, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, use a combination of group therapy and logotherapy’s self-actualizing thought. Contemporary psychologists seek to use this same technique of recognizing the value of one’s life to mark a path to recovery for sufferers of IA. This research, however, is not without opponents, as there exists no empirical data to reinforce its level of success (Brouwers). Yet, there is qualitative evidence to support that logotherapy is an effective means in treating those suffering from addiction. Thus, despite the lack of quantitative data to fortify it, logotherapy is an effective therapy in treating addiction.
Logotherapy was initially developed by Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl whilst he endured the horrors of a concentration camp, as described in his novel Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. At the core of logotherapy is the insistence that man desires to fulfill his life by giving it significance and filling the existential gap, a term coined by Frankl to describe the vital need to fulfill one’s purpose (Frankl). Continuation of examination of this psychological standpoint has led to the conclusion that there is a distinct link between existential meaning and one’s physical health (Brouwers).
This major connection between the existential meaning and bodily well-being is derived from the idea that the level of hope one holds in oneself and the urgency to change where change is necessary correlate prominently (Ukachi 182). It may come as little surprise then that logotherapy has become a major point of interest in treating addiction patients, as the hope that grows from the knowledge that one’s individual life has meaning inspires patients to improve upon themselves. Nietzche once quipped “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” explaining the premise of logotherapy in a nutshell (Frankl 105). Logotherapy, therefore, has taken a spot among programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, in the form of self-actualizing meditation, and at an Internet addict rehabilitation facility called reSTART in Washington (Nishimura, Brashear).
While there is no definitive way to cure an addiction and a certain...

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