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Harnessing the Power of Logotherapy: Disassociation, Meaning and Collective Trauma for Treating PTSD

Viktor Frankl “viewed logotherapy as an open system, a collaborative approach that could be combined with other psychotherapy orientations.”

As a Logotherpaist I have taken Frankl at his word, combining other modalities in my work with those suffering from PTSD and trauma.

Quite simply, I want to help alleviate suffering and guide individuals toward healing and self-discovery.

For many of my clients living with PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, this journey is filled with unique challenges. To navigate these, I have found a potent combination of dissociation techniques and logotherapy, a therapeutic approach born from one of humanity's most collective traumas - the Holocaust.

Step 1: Establishing Emotional Stability with Dissociation Techniques

In my work with clients, I often find the first challenge is their heightened emotional responses associated with traumatic memories. To mitigate this, I employ dissociation techniques, encouraging them to visualise their experiences from a third-person perspective. This approach creates a psychological 'buffer' between the person and the emotional intensity of their memories, providing temporary relief and a sense of control.

Step 2: Logotherapy: Strength from Collective Trauma

With emotional stability established, I introduce the principles of logotherapy, a therapeutic approach developed by Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist. His experiences during the Holocaust led him to observe that those who could find meaning in their suffering were more likely to survive.

Frankl's logotherapy emphasises the human drive toward finding a sense of purpose or meaning in life, even in the face of immense suffering. This approach seems particularly suited to PTSD sufferers. Born out of the collective trauma of the Holocaust, logotherapy stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, demonstrating that individuals can find meaning in their suffering and create a fulfilling existence.

Step 3: Discovering Personal Meaning

Through logotherapy, I guide clients to discover a unique purpose that feels significant to them. Part of this process involves acknowledging their traumatic experiences as part of their life story, contributing to their growth, understanding, and wisdom. By focusing on this purpose or mission, they are able to redirect their energy towards something positive, rather than being trapped in the cycle of their trauma.

The Outcome: Healing Through Emotional Control and Meaning

By combining dissociation techniques and logotherapy, my clients gain both emotional control and a pathway to find purpose despite their trauma. The dissociation techniques offer immediate relief from emotional spikes. At the same time, logotherapy provides a healing path inspired by the survival of those who have faced some of the harshest adversities known to humankind - the collective and individual trauma of the holocaust.


As a therapeutic method, the combination of dissociation techniques and logotherapy offers a holistic approach to PTSD treatment. It not only aids in managing the symptoms but also empowers individuals to carve a meaningful 'now' and 'next.'

Logotherapy's origins in the collective trauma of the Holocaust serve as a powerful testament to its efficacy. It stands as a beacon of hope, proving that even amidst the worst human experiences, individuals can find meaning, resilience, and a purpose-driven life. The healing journey from PTSD, while challenging, is not insurmountable.

Paul Gutteridge

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