VFISA Vision

The aim of the Viktor Frankl Institute in South Africa is to enable more and more people in our wonderful country to lead fuller and more meaningful lives. We offer training courses in Logotherapy, the school of thought developed by the late Dr Viktor Frankl, famous psychiatrist and philosopher and author of the bestseller: Man's Search for Meaning. We also disseminate knowledge of Logotherapy through public presentations, workshops and lectures.

We live in tense times earmarked by threat and insecurity. The lack of freedom and personal choice in so many totalitarian regimes with its extremes of fanaticism and oppression on the one hand and, on the other hand, a free-for-all lack of responsibility and sound value systems in much of the free world and in South Africa today, have created an all-pervading sense of emptiness or meaninglessness in our world.

This void or existential vacuum leads to a frantic search for power which finds expression in the violence, terrorism, crime and lawlessness we witness in much of our world today. A lack of purpose in life also gives rise to a senseless lust after pleasure resulting in addictions, sexual immorality and materialistic greed. The despair of finding any enduring meaning in life leads to mental illness, depression and suicide. The need to find meaning and purpose in life has therefore become the most urgent need of our times.

Frankl contended that as human beings we have a basic need to find meaning in our lives and that this will to meaning is a central component in spiritual fulfillment, emotional well-being and mental health. A survivor of four Nazi concentration camps, Frankl gave credence to the prime premise of Logotherapy that we are meant to be victors over our own lives, rather than be helpless victims of whatever each of us are uniquely exposed to.

Logotherapy teaches that we have been given the freedom and ability and, therefore, the responsibility to overcome evil with good. We are here to take a victorious stand against every negative thing in life, whether it be in ourselves (wrong inclinations and negative emotions that we act upon to the detriment of ourselves and hurt of others and that we are challenged to correct and change), or outside ourselves (difficult, hurtful or tragic situations that we are challenged to deal with in a mature and morally exemplary way). As we do so, we become what we have been created to be or are meant to be, each in our own irreplaceable and ordained places in life. Fulfilling our destinies in this way, we experience the highest and most optimal state of mental health. Knowing how to attain and experience meaning in life, we become powerful instruments of healing and sources of inspiration, encouragement and blessing to others. This call to responsibility is a call made to everyone in our lives.

The well-known humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow (1968) summed it up as follows: “Without the Transpersonal and the Transcendent, we become apathetic, nihilistic, sick and violent. We need something bigger than we are to be awed by and to commit ourselves to.”

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Meaningful quotes

The shaping of deeply felt values into meaningful, apposite form, is present in all communities, and will find some means of expressions among all. Dell Hymes

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