#291 – Comparing Logotherapy and Positive Psychology with Marshall H. Lewis, MA

Marshall H. Lewis, M.A. received his terminal master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marshall University in West Virginia in 1986 and has practiced psychotherapy since. He earned his Diplomate in Logotherapy from the Viktor Frankl Institute in 2011. He is currently the director of a community mental health center serving three counties in southwest Kansas.

Marshall is writing a dissertation for his Ph.D. in Jewish-Christian Studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary. His dissertation combines logotherapy and hermeneutics to gain new insights into the Biblical Book of Job.

Marshall is entering the second half of life both personally and professionally. This transition has marked a change toward existential and meaning-centered practice and a shift away from the cognitive-behavioral models in which he was trained. Marshall feels as if he has been called to contribute to the ongoing work of Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis for the remainder of this career.

Marshall is the host of a podcast devoted to logotherapy and Viktor Frankl found at: www.logotalkradio.com

He offers training and consultation in logotherapy through Defiant Power Solutions, on the web at www.defiantpower.com

Check out the following Psychology CE Courses based on listening to Shrink Rap Radio interviews:
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 1 (6 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 2 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 3 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy discounted Package of the Three Above (20 CEUs)
Wisdom of The Dream (4 CEUs)
Positive Psychology (6 CEUs)

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this. Great to hear too that you are going to promote logotherapy a bit.

    I think it is unfairly neglected (like Rogers in my opinion).

    I would like to hear more about the irreducability of the human. (My favourite theory is gestalt, one of whose slogans is ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’.)

    The thing that distinguishes the human I think is the richness of our symbolic life. I disagree with Frankl that the higher animals don’t have an (albeit very undeveloped) conscience.

  2. Rick V
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    It was Viktor Frankl who inspired me to become a psychologist. I was and am profoundly influenced by his seminal work Man’s Search for Meaning and believe it to be a must read for everyone because there is no literary work I am aware of that better disputes the starkness of Maslow’s hierarchy. I would love to meet Mr. Lewis someday and for the record I have listened to both podcast for several years. Unfortunately the demands of Graduate school have prevented me from keeping up.

    There was something Mr. Lewis said that I am not sure I agree with, that is the question of whether love can be measured? I have some ideas about how that may be done if it is approached as the capacity to love. There are people that I have encountered, who by their own admission, are incapable of love. Therefore, I feel there may be a common thread with respect to love when viewed as an affective state caused by an underlying responsiveness that is seeded in fundamental thought constructs that are common to those who are capable of love. If this were the case it would just be a matter of coming up with a dependent measure that would predict either the capacity to love or the lack thereof. I think this may be doable and since I am still thinking of ideas for my dissertation in areas that are similar it may be something I can fold into my research.

    This may be too ambitious but I am intrigued by the possibility of being able to measure ones ability to love because it would likely be a very good predictor of a particular cluster of Axis II pathology. This in turn could shape interventions that address the underlying causes rather than solely focusing on emotional regulation as a function of positive adaptation and mood affect, Something to think about…

  3. Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Evan, I, too, think that logotherapy is unfairly neglected.

    To understand Frankl and his position on animals, I think it is helpful to know that he considered reductionism to have been in part responsible for the Holocaust. When one can think of human beings as nothing but animals, then one can justify treating them as nothing but animals. Therefore, it was quite important for Frankl and remains quite important for logotherapy to emphasize that which is “uniquely human.” Our understanding of what is uniquely human, of course, will be subject to change over time, but I think the bottom line for Frankl was in the human capacity to discover meaning under any circumstances. This Will to Meaning, as he called it, may be responsible for the richness of our symbolic life.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the interview!

  4. Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Rick V, congratulations on your graduate endeavors! Psychologists inspired by Frankl will be a boon to the field!

    I’ve never been much of a DSM fan, though I recognize it as a necessary evil. If you haven’t already, you might want to check out some of the changes in conceptualization of the personality disorders being proposed for DSM-5, where interpersonal functioning is assessed through measurements of empathy and intimacy.


    Frankl wrote a bit about love, too. Much of it can be found in his book “The Doctor and the Soul.” He can explain it better than I can, of course, but he thought of love as one of those irreducible human phenomena, like the will to meaning or the conscience or art appreciation. For him, it was the ability to perceive what another human being was capable of becoming.

    Frankl did not believe those who say they are incapable of loving. While humans might numb themselves to love, Frankl would argue that the capability is present in us all, though perhaps left ignored and unused.

    I hope you found the interview helpful!

  5. Rick V
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I loved the interview especially the wise counsel podcast and appreciate your response. I have mixed feelings about the DSM also but I think the B cluster is highly predictive of some outcomes relationally for those who fall within it. As far as whether there are folks incapable of love, I think they exist. This is a difficult discussion to have without an agreed upon operational definition for love.

    That notwithstanding, I was blown away by your knowledge of one of my heroes Frankl and learned a great deal from your insight. I have read the Doctor and the Soul and often quote it but I need to re-read it when I don’t have thousands of pages of required reading in front of me. By extension you are held in high regard by myself for honoring Frankl’s work and adding some great insights of your own. There are very few literary works that have to power to change the course and direction of a life like Meaning did. If you start doing seminars, as well you should, I would love the chance to take a more in depth look at his life and work. God bless you for having the courage to follow your bliss and good luck to you in completing the work you are undertaking.

  6. John Knight
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Fantastic podcast, needed to listen to that one twice. I’m looking forward to more logotherapy podcasts, and will read up on Viktor Frankl – I get the feeling that Frankl will be one of those influential psychologists in my psychological education, alongside Jung, Chomsky, and Leary.

    I’m glad you talked about the overlap between Jung and Frankl – I wonder what opinion they had of each other? Do you think the internal driving core, incapable of sickening, would be the same part of the psyche Jung referred to as the Self?

  7. Posted January 29, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Rick V,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. As I moved into the second half of life, it seems to me as if life called me to Frankl’s work. I certainly didn’t sit down and pick it out of the available options, but it has been a blessing to me. I’m not sure if I am following my bliss, or if my bliss is following me! 🙂

  8. Posted January 29, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink


    Thank you very much! I am really glad you enjoyed the podcast and I know you will become even more interested as you read up on Frankl. In addition to the ever-popular Man’s Search for Meaning, I would also recommend to you Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning and The Will to Meaning to get a more complete picture. The Doctor and the Soul, of course, is good, but a bit more heavy and technical.

    As for more podcasts, well….I think if you click on my name, you will find a few more!

    I think Frankl and Jung is a fascinating topic! Frankl was younger, so I don’t know if Jung had any opinion of him, or not. I don’t even know if he was aware of Frankl. It seems to me that after his days with Freud, he went his own way and didn’t look back to Vienna.

    Frankl, on the other hand, credits Jung for discovering the religious elements in the unconscious, but thinks he was mistaken for considering them to be archetypal rather than existential, and collective rather than person. If I read Jung correctly, it seems he thought that archetypes were empty shells until invested with meaning by the Self, so, unlike many modern Jungians, Jung himself may have been closer to Frankl that in assumed.

    Again, I am not sure of my Jung, but wasn’t his notion of the Self more of the totality of all the elements of the psyche? It may be helpful to know that Frankl considered the spiritual or noetic core to be who we are, not something we have, whereas the body and the psyche are things we have, not who we are.

    I have a paragraph or two on Jung and Frankl in an eBook that you can find here:

    Otherwise, Frankl deals with Jung at length in Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning.

    All the Best,

  9. John Knight
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Heck, some interesting material coming out here – material I think most Jungians would have trouble answering without first doing some research (and even then, they probably would arrive at some differing conclusions).

    Perhaps a comparison of Logo Therapy and Analytical Psychology would be another interesting podcast?


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