“Logotherapy: A Meaning-Centered Approach in Palliative Care” was the subject of an academic paper recently presented by two Graduate Theological Foundation alumni in Vienna, Austria. Ms. Marie Dezelic (Ph.D. 2014) and Monsignor Gabriel Ghanoum (Psy.D.) co-presented a paper at “The Future of Logotherapy” 2nd International Conference on Logotherapy and Existential Analysis hosted by the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna and held at the Billroth Library, Vienna Medical Society from May 15-18, 2014.
Palliative Care is patient/family-centered philosophy of care offered in healthcare settings when patients have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and in End-of-Life cases where death is imminent. Since Palliative Care addresses the psychological, spiritual and existential needs of patients and their families when approaching End-of-Life in addition to the biological-disease treatment, it is essential to have a psychological theory and method which can handle the symptoms, questions, and existential concerns that will inevitably arise for patients and their families. Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, a meaning-centered therapeutic approach, assists medical doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, family therapists, psychologists, and spiritual/pastoral care clinicians to address patients’ existential concerns such as: loss of meaning, pain exacerbated by psycho-social-spiritual issues leading to depression, anxiety and hopelessness, as well as spiritual well-being and hope in the absence of cure. This presentation is based on a manual for teaching healthcare staff how to use Logotherapy in Palliative Care; and exhibits how Logotherapy is an applicable and comprehensive therapeutic approach in the scope of Palliative Care, as well as how clinicians can help patients in Finding Hope, Meaning and Spiritual Well-Being throughout illness.
This presentation was given directly after the Keynote presentation of Dr. William Breitbart from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY, who spoke on Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy in Cancer, a research-based and manualized approach built upon V. Frankl’s concepts. Our presentation followed in part by offering an extensive method for counselors and therapists from various backgrounds to utilize Logotherapy & Existential Analysis in healthcare and therapeutic settings when addressing difficult diagnoses and Palliative Care patients. The presentation was well attended, with standing room only, and was simultaneously translated into German for the German-speaking audience. It generated great interest in this particular area of research and methods; and we were pleased with the extremely positive feedback in the necessity of having existential approaches made more mainstream in healthcare settings, including in pastoral departments within the healthcare system. The Congress in general offered a wide range of researched and clinical topics of Logotherapy & Existential Analysis’ applicability and usefulness across populations from youths to elderly with multi-cultural diversity, discussing despair, meaning, transcendence, hope, resilience, workplace, classrooms, cancer, HIV, suicidality, bereavement, disaster mental health, pastoral Logotherapy, and further research prospects. With participants and presenters from over 30 countries, and a bookstore that housed books and cd’s in several different languages and Logotherapy themes, the Congress definitely made a positive imprint and impact on Logotherapy & Existential Analysis’ strength and movement into the future!
Marie S. Dezelic, PhD, MS-MHC, Diplomate in Logotherapy, has a private psychotherapy practice in South Florida. She provides psychological counseling to adolescents, adults, couples, and families, and travels nationally and internationally for crisis intervention. Dr. Dezelic’s clinical research and work focuses on trauma, grief and spirituality through an Existential/Logotherapy framework. In addition to her Diplomate in Logotherapy credential from the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy in the USA, Dr. Dezelic is an internationally accredited member by the Viktor Frankl Institute of Vienna, Austria, and holds several advanced certifications in trauma treatment, grief, spirituality, couples and family therapy, and other treatment modalities. She designs and offers healthcare presentations on implementing programs and support teams using an integrated patient-centered approach to patient care, with an emphasis on discovering Meaning within Illness, Palliative Care, Psycho-Spiritual Oncology Treatment, Trauma, Grief Support, Pastoral Care, and Spirituality. Dr. Dezelic has recently published Meaning-Centered Therapy Workbook: Based on Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, writes extensively and presents nationally and internationally in various venues.
Gabriel Ghanoum, PsyD, MDiv, GCC, BCC, Diplomate in Logotherapy, is the Director of Pastoral Care Services for a network of hospitals in South East Florida. He holds various degrees in Theology, Psychology and Business, is a certified grief therapist, holds a Diplomate credential from the Viktor Frankl Institute in the USA, and is an internationally accredited member by the Viktor Frankl Institute of Vienna, Austria. Dr. Ghanoum is passionate about bringing spiritual and psychological awareness while giving lectures and retreats nationally and internationally on relationships, spirituality, positive psychology, and the psycho-spiritual approach to oncology and healing. Throughout the network of hospitals he works with, Dr. Ghanoum gives psycho-educational seminars on various topics, which include Implementing Palliative Care Programs, Pastoral Care, Psycho-Spiritual Approach to Oncology, Spiritual Well-Being, Compassion Fatigue, Staff Satisfaction and Motivation in Healthcare, Trauma and Grief Support. Dr. Ghanoum is deeply involved with several charity programs promoting the mental health perspective.