An International Congress on Logotherapy and Existential Analysis was hosted by the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna and its cooperation partners and friends. The Congress theme, THE FUTURE OF LOGOTHERAPY III, was addressed September 22–25, 2016, on the Vienna University campus. The event attracted 450 participants from 35 countries with presentations given in German, English, and Spanish. Perusing the program, to my joy, I recognized many of the presenters either as my own former Logotherapy instructors or esteemed colleagues, as well as former Logotherapy students who are now making presentations at the International Congress on Logotherapy in Vienna!
Prof. Dr. Alexander Batthyany, chief organizer of the Congress, in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Kurier addressed the psycho-spiritual distress and social instability rampant in our world today. He compared similarities in our time with Dr. Viktor Frankl’s early professional outreach when people encountered similar problems. In the late 1920’s and 1930’s there was great social distress in much of the world. During the Depression Era there was a high rate of unemployment and dissatisfaction, which led to rejection of established societal norms and held the potential for aggression and violence. Suicide was rampant, especially among young people. Dr. Frankl, as a psychotherapist, could not alter the socio-political or the economic circumstances, but he could counsel young people to invest their time and energy in personally meaningful tasks, especially reaching out to others: volunteering in soup kitchens; assisting the elderly; learning a foreign language or some other skills that would be useful to them. The effectiveness of his meaning-centered counseling method proved successful and became known to us as “Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy and Existential Analysis.”
To assist in our times of turbulence and perceived meaninglessness of existence by many, the Vienna Congress on THE FUTURE OF LOGOTHERAPY III invited internationally recognized experts in the core fields of logotherapy to report, in presentations and workshops, on the practical application and research in the following fields:
Clinical psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry
Psychologically coping with everyday life
Child and young person development and education
Care of the elderly and sick, hospice and palliative work
Pastoral care and counselling
Coaching and Economy
Meaning-orientated perspectives on social challenges.
Information about the 3rd Viktor Frankl Congress 2016 Vienna can be viewed at: http://www.univie.ac.at/wissenschaftstheorie/batthyany/conf_eng.pdf and http://logotherapiewien.jimdo.com/
Although intense and demanding in many ways, the Vienna Logotherapy Congress 2016 was not “all work and no play.” Upon invitation from the Mayor of Vienna, a reception was held on Saturday evening, September 24, at the architecturally ornate Vienna Rathaus (City Hall) for Logotherapy Congress participants. Refreshments were served while live music invited attendees to dance. The next Logotherapy Congress in Vienna is being planned for 2018. Anyone interested in Logotherapy/Existential Analysis is most welcome to attend.
The Graduate Center for Pastoral Logotherapy at GTF is an Accredited Member of the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna. Graduates of the Pastoral Logotherapy program have the option to apply for individual membership. I certainly treasure my Accredited Honorary Lifetime Membership, awarded in recognition of propagation and application of Logotherapy by the Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis through the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna.
On a personal note regarding the International Logotherapy Congress 2016: With awe and deep gratitude I received greetings from Vienna extended by Viktor Frankl’s widow, Dr. Elly Frankl, and Prof. Dr. Alexander Batthyany, who jointly gave the “Congress Opening and Welcome Message.” Many other Congress participants from four continents sent their greetings by card, phone calls and e-mails. Even if not there in person, I felt honored to be noetically present — wishing the best for all concerned.
Ann V. Graber, DMin, PhD, DD (h.c.)
Professor of Pastoral Logotherapy
Director of the Graduate Center for Pastoral Logotherapy http://www.gtfeducation.org/academics/graduate-center-for-pastoral-logotherapy.cfm