Viktor Frankl’s meaning-centred approach to human living is known as Logotherapy (where ‘logos’ is translated as ‘meaning’) and Existential Analysis (LTEA). It is an open systems’ model, viewing the human being in all three modalities: body (soma), mind/soul (psyche), and spirit (noös), understood in a non-religious sense.
Logotherapy extends beyond psychotherapy, mobilising the ‘will to meaning’ as the primary motivational force and factor in the human person. It is a practical and profound philosophy of life from which everyone can profit, containing within itself the perennial wisdom of the ages.
Existential analysis emphasises the importance of wholeness, seeing the human person in all his/her dimensions – biological, psychological, spiritual, and social. Finding meaning and purpose in life leads to the greatest possible personal fulfilment and flourishing.
Start Looking for Meaning, Stop Looking for
What the Institute offers in all its courses and classes is a body of knowledge from which lay people and professionals alike can benefit – one not found in any other field of philosophy, psychology or psychotherapy. The principal insights and ideas of logotherapy can be integrated by students into their personal and professional lives in terms of their work and self-development.
Former students have included: mothers, psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, life coaches, barristers, social workers, HR consultants, a postman, a farmer, nurses, professors, teachers, career guidance counsellors, law clerks, civil servants, a Garda sergeant, and businessmen and women, who have all drawn on the pioneering and life-changing teachings of Prof. Viktor Frankl.
Logotherapy can be practised as a psychotherapy (if one is a psychotherapist) or as a form of philosophical counselling, existential coaching, pedagogy, pastoral care, medical ministry, psycho-social skills training, or simply as logotherapy in the clinic or in the corporate sector, in HR, education, teacher-training, or sports psychology. Its application is unlimited because meaning is universal.
The Institute and Viktor Frankl
The Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland was founded in 2009. Its aim is to acquaint the public with the philosophical (theoretical) and psychological (therapeutic) concepts of Professor Viktor Emil Frankl (1905-1997), M.D., Ph.D., the world-renowned Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, Holocaust survivor, founder of logotherapy and existential analysis, and author of the hugely influential Man’s Search for Meaning, amongst other works, which was voted one of the ten most influential books ever written.
The Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland offers classes, and courses (to groups), counselling (to individuals) and consulting (to businesses). It provides the only English-speaking professional training programme in classical logotherapy and existential analysis in Europe and retains very close ties with Vienna.
It is accredited by, and a recognised training institute of, the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, at the Viktor Frankl Institute of Vienna, Austria.
The founder and director of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland is Dr. Stephen J. Costello, a philosopher, logotherapist/existential analyst and author. Formerly a lecturer in philosophy and psychology with over twenty-five years experience in UCD, Trinity College and the Dublin Business School. He was educated in St. Gerard's School, Castleknock College and University College Dublin, where he read Philosophy and Spanish Language and Literature. He also did a short stint at the Honourable Society of King’s Inns.
His Master's degree in philosophy (1990) was in existentialism and his Ph.D. degree (1994), carried out under the supervision of Professor Richard Kearney, was on psychoanalysis (Freud) and hermeneutics (Paul Ricoeur). Dr Costello was awarded two gold medals for debating in UCD and holds a black belt in Aikido and an equivalent in Wing Tsun Kung Fu. Subsequently, he trained at the Irish Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, gaining a Diploma in Psychoanalytic Studies (now an M.Sc. from Trinity College) in 1996 with a thesis on Lacan and criminology.
For a number of years Dr Costello was a member of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland, attached to the School of Psychotherapy in St. Vincent's Hospital. He is a Diplomate in Logotherapy and sits on the international faculty of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy in the United States. He was awarded a Diploma in Logotherapy and Existential Analysis from the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, Vienna. He has published widely in international logotherapy journals. Dr Costello was appointed to the editorial board of the International Review of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis.
Dr Costello has addressed both the Stormont parliament (on human rights) and the European Parliament in Brussels (on logotherapy and mental health). He organised the first ever conference on logotherapy and suicide in Dublin, chaired by Gay Mitchell, MEP and was the keynote speaker on depression both at a meeting of the Irish Council of Psychotherapy and also at St. Patrick’s psychiatric hospital.
He is the author of The Irish Soul: In Dialogue, which was a national bestseller, The Pale Criminal: Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 18 Reasons Why Mothers Hate Their Babies: A Philosophy of Childhood, Hermeneutics and the Psychoanalysis of Religion, The Ethics of Happiness: An Existential Analysis, What is Friendship?: Conversations with the Great Philosophers, Philosophy and the Flow of Presence, and The Truth about Lying: With Some Differences between Men and Women. He edited Credo: Faith and Philosophy in Contemporary Ireland and The Search for Spirituality. He has addressed the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis in Vienna on ‘The Meaning of Logotherapy’ (2012) and ‘Boredom, the Existential Vacuum and Noögenic Neuroses: Causes and Cures’ (2014).