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International Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis
UNIV.-PROF. DR. ALEXANDER BATTHYÁNY
PRINZ EUGENSTR. 18
A 1040 VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TEL.: +43 (0)676 9345 750
EMAIL: secretary@viktorfrankl.info
WWW.VIKTORFRANKL.ORG

Comment of the Viktor Frankl Institute re.
the “FLP-EU” (“Federation Logotherapy Profession – Europe”)

In the last few days we received a number of emails inquiring about an advertising
distributed by the FLP-EU (“Federation Logotherapy Profession – Europe”).
The confusion is due to the fact that the circular from the FLP-EU was
supplemented with a jointly written New Year's letter from the German Society for
Logotherapy (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Logotherapie [DGLE]) and the Viktor
Frankl Institut (VFI). This falsely suggested to many readers that the VFI is
affiliated with the FLP-EU or supports membership of the FLP-EU and the
purchase of a patented word-image-trademark (Logotherapist ®).
Here is some background information. The New Year's letter was written after a
discussion in Fürstenfeldbruck. The aim of the discussion kindly prompted by Otto
Zsok was to improve personal relations, sometimes rather strained, between the
board of directors of the DGLE and the VFI. The disagreements and problems
mentioned in the letter were not thereby solved, but in spite of factual differences
we agreed to be more personable.
Unfortunately this New Year's letter was now used for the FLP-EU circular without
prior consultation with the VFI, thereby linking the VFI with a matter it is unable to
support.
To put it clearly again. The VFI has nothing to do with the FLP-EU and does not
support its initiative. The team at the VFI, like most logotherapists internationally,
has rather been worried by developments within the DGLE and the FLP-EU for
some years.
Since the discussion about this has unfortunately lacked transparency, we would
like to mention a few key reasons why the VFI, like many of its long-term partnerinstitutes, is unable to support the aims and means of the FLP-EU.
Please take your time to read and understand these key points and decide for
yourself whether or not the FLP-EU model would indeed serve as a good basis for
the European, or international, future of Franklian logotherapy.

International Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis
UNIV.-PROF. DR. ALEXANDER BATTHYÁNY
PRINZ EUGENSTR. 18
A 1040 VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TEL.: +43 (0)676 9345 750
EMAIL: secretary@viktorfrankl.info
WWW.VIKTORFRANKL.ORG

1. Reduction and limitation of logotherapy to psycho-social advice
The FLP-EU has issued a charta (FLP-EU) which is mandatory for memberinstitutes and defines the organisation and professional image of European
logotherapy. In the charta logotherapy is defined 'not to replace psychotherapeutic treatment even in the case of psychological disorders” (Charta p. 3,
top).
While central parts of Viktor Frankl's work are basically about meaning-oriented,
existential psychotherapy or the treatment of psychological or mental disorders,
their application is explicitly ruled out by the FLP-EU charta to be part of the work
of an “FLP-EU logotherapist®”. The 'third Viennese direction of psychotherapy' is
thereby reduced to being a meaning-oriented way of self-help without aiming to
improve or heal psychological ailments.
With such an official declaration the FLP-EU charta undermines national and
international initiatives to have logotherapy recognized as psychotherapy. No legal
authority is going to accredit a psychotherapeutic school as such if its 'European
professional association' declares it from the outset to be “no substitute for
psychotherapy” and “no treatment for psychological disorders”.
Moreover there has already been one attempt – by Alfried Längle in Vienna – to
limit logotherapy in this way and to deny it the status of a treatment for
psychological disorders (psychotherapy). The FLP-EU definition of treatment by
logotherapy tallies with his:
In the GLE we found the most suitable definition of logotherapy to be ‚a meaningoriented kind of advice and treatment‘. […] After all, Frankls aim was not to found a
new kind of psychotherapy but only to create a supplement (Längle 1995:8f.) 1

In contrast, especially from 1955 on, Viktor Frankl defined logotherapy as
'meaning-oriented psychotherapy' and in one of the basic recent texts, defined
logotherapy and existence analysis as follows:
Existence analysis and logotherapy are two sides of the same theory. Indeed
logotherapy is a psychotherapeutic method of treatment whereas existence
analysis is an anthropological direction of research. (Frankl 1994:57f) 2
1

Längle, A. (1995). Logotherapie und Existenzanalyse - eine begriffliche Standortbestimmung. In:
Existenzanalyse 12-1, 5-15

International Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis
UNIV.-PROF. DR. ALEXANDER BATTHYÁNY
PRINZ EUGENSTR. 18
A 1040 VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TEL.: +43 (0)676 9345 750
EMAIL: secretary@viktorfrankl.info
WWW.VIKTORFRANKL.ORG

Of course Viktor Frankl also pointed out, time and again, that logotherapy has
many more fields of application than only psychotherapeutic treatment. Like the
two forerunners of logotherapy, Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis and Alfred
Adler's individual psychology, logotherapy is successfully used as a psycho-social
counselling. But 'more than just psychotherapy' does not mean, as defined in the
FLP-EU charta, 'less than' or 'anything but psychotherapy'.
In contrast, according to Frankl logotherapy is first and foremost psychotherapy:
specific psychotherapy (in the case of noogenic neuroses) and non-specific
psychotherapy (in the case of psychogenic disorders) and 'medical ministry' (for
instance for the homo patiens). Most of his academic work is devoted to this
psychotherapeutic field of application (according to his bibliography about 75% of
his academic journal articles after 1955).
Of course, Viktor Frankl at the same time supported endeavours to find new
applications for logotherapy, such as philosophical counselling, hospice work,
coaching, pastoral psychology, etc. But these logotherapeutic applications, too,
are based on the scientific and clinical foundation of the validated model of
Franklian psychotherapy, i.e. logotherapy and existential analysis. This foundation
distinguishes these applications from other offers on the market.
Viktor Frankl thereby made it luminously clear that Alfried Längle's interpretation of
the concepts 'existence analysis' and 'logotherapy' cannot be reconciled with the
original meaning, so we take it to be misleading when DGLE and FLP-EU claim in
their presentations that they are 'disciples of Viktor Frankl' while putting forward in
their charta a definition of logotherapy, which he had declared tallied with his no
longer.
The VFI is committed to Viktor Frankl's psychotherapeutic work, legacy and aims.
Much as we had been hoping for a good working relationship after the New Year's
letter, we have to draw attention to these problematic developments and the
deviation from the original meaning of logotherapy while making it clear that the
offer of personal rapprochement put forward in the New Year's letter entails no
approval directly or indirectly of this deviation from Viktor Frankl's original
logotherapy.
2

Frankl, V.E. (1994). Grundriss der Logotherapie und Existenzanalyse. In: Logotherapie und
Existenzanalyse, München. 57f.

International Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis
UNIV.-PROF. DR. ALEXANDER BATTHYÁNY
PRINZ EUGENSTR. 18
A 1040 VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TEL.: +43 (0)676 9345 750
EMAIL: secretary@viktorfrankl.info
WWW.VIKTORFRANKL.ORG

On the contrary, in view of these facts, we can only advise further abstention from
these developments, since they jeopardize the long-term future of logotherapy as
part of a helping and healing profession and threaten to let it slide once and for all
into the grey market of questionable psycho-offers.

2. Legal considerations / Monopolization tendencies of the title FLP-EU'Logotherapist®'
Not only the interpretation of the concept but also the legal position of the
trademark is, in our view, highly problematic. For instance it is unclear why the
trademark 'Logotherapist®FLP', legally valid throughout Europe, should still be or
continue to be registered according to the European patent office (date of
questioning 6th February, 2016), as the private property of Mr. and Mrs. Stegmaier
up to the year 2024. 3
It is profoundly disturbing that the now monopolized protected professional title of
the European FLP-Logotherapists® should be a trademark in private hands. But it
was not the present private owner of the trademark but Viktor Frankl who coined
the term 'logotherapist' as the practitioner of a psychotherapeutic method meant
definitely to help and heal.
Of course, everyone is free to define and develop a new business epithet, to found
a professional association round it and to register it privately or in the name of a
society as a trademark and patent it, but we cannot stand idly by and let the
established epithet 'logotherapist', on whose clinical and psychotherapeutical
development and recognition Viktor Frankl and many of his students have
laboured, sometimes for years on end, be used as a private trademark for a limited
and misleading version of logotherapy marketed as an “update”.
If not the contentwise compliance, at least scientific integrity should be reason
enough to release this epithet again, and to let it be used once more in the sense
defined by Viktor Frankl.

3

https://register.dpma.de/DPMAregister/marke/registerHABM?AKZ=012757746&CURSOR=1

International Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis
UNIV.-PROF. DR. ALEXANDER BATTHYÁNY
PRINZ EUGENSTR. 18
A 1040 VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TEL.: +43 (0)676 9345 750
EMAIL: secretary@viktorfrankl.info
WWW.VIKTORFRANKL.ORG

Additionally, FLP-EU-logotherapists® in training have to or did have to sign a
contract, according to which they have to cease calling themselves
“logotherapists” with or without the registered trademark ®-sign and membership
designation after dropping out of the FLP or a FLP-affiliated training institute, i.e.
they are or were asked to waive the right to call themselves logotherapists:

(Scan of the DGLE/FLP-training contract)

Translation: “As trainee in logotherapy, I consent to use the term “logotherapist”
(with and without ®, and with or without the tag “DGLE”) only in connection with
the licence of the DGLE. “

Secondly, they are or were asked to confer their publication rights during training
in logotherapy to the respective FLP-EU-institution which trains them:

(Scan of the DGLE/FLP-training contract)

Translation: “I hereby grant the initial publication right to the DGLE for all texts
and/or notes written during my training”

This type of monopolisation and control, and the mentality behind it, is utterly
foreign not only to logotherapy and existential analysis, but to clinical and scientific
bodies in general.

Conclusion
The VFU is not adopting a 'special position' in the above matter. It is only fulfilling
its obligation in calling for logotherapy, in the sense given it by Viktor Frankl, to be
used, now as earlier, for the whole spectrum of psychiatric, psychotherapeutic,

International Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis
UNIV.-PROF. DR. ALEXANDER BATTHYÁNY
PRINZ EUGENSTR. 18
A 1040 VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TEL.: +43 (0)676 9345 750
EMAIL: secretary@viktorfrankl.info
WWW.VIKTORFRANKL.ORG

clinical, advisory and counselling theory, research and practice and not to be
distanced or cut off from its central domain of psychotherapy by being patented
throughout the whole European market.
These (and many other) reservations have been voiced repeatedly by the board of
the DLGE/FLP and various representatives over the last few years, not only by the
VFI, but also by long-term teachers and colleagues inside and outside the DGLE.
Though we have hoped for a joint solution to these problems and a prolonged
good personal relationship with representatives of the FLP-EU, we cannot turn a
blind eye to these problems so have to point out once more with all due clarity and
brevity:
The VFI cannot support the FLP-EU for reasons such as the above and advises
friends and colleagues in the accredited member-institutes of the International
Association for Logotherapy and Existence Analysis not to cooperate or to become
members of the FLP-EU.
Owing to the interpretative, legal and formal differences, a dual membership (of
the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis at the VFI
and the FLP-EU) does not presently seem to be congruous or advisable.
Vienna, the 6th of February, 2016
Mag. Michael Thir, B.A.
nd

Clinical psychologist in the Mauer Clinic, 2
Psychiatric
Department for In-Patient Psychotherapy,
Research Department, Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely
Written Archive, representative for book and publishing rights,
member of the board at the Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexander Batthyány
Viktor-Frankl Chair for theoretical foundations of psychology, IAP
in the Liechtenstein; visiting professor for logotherapy and
existence analysis at the University Institute for Psychoanalysis,
Director & Research Dept. Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna


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