Frankl’s concepts are based on finding a meaning or purpose in life. He has stated that all life circumstances have meaning, even the ones that are hard or make us miserable. He goes on to state that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”. What does this all mean? In basic terms, it means we may not have the power to control the circumstances into which we are thrust, but we do have the power to control the way in which we think about those circumstances.
Frankl used his views to look at and discuss treatment options for several mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and neurosis. He also used his views to help terminally ill patients. His thoughts regarding mental illness were if we could simply recognize the purpose of our circumstances, we could (possibly) master our mental health issues. Let’s explore this further.