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Case Study Logotherapy

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Running head: LOGOTHERAPY

Case Study of Logotherapy

Dee, is a 34 year-old, single, white female, who lives in the Midwest. She works as a group home supervisor for head-injured adults. She has recently lost her father (please be specific - I am assuming her father died), ended a domestic relationship (did she end it, the partner or was it a mutual decision?), and has taken a leave of absence in order to "get herself together" after experiencing conflicts at her job.

Dee initially comes to therapy as a requirement of getting her request for a three- month family leave of absence approved. Dee says that she is experiencing hopelessness, outbursts of anger and frustration over what she describes as "little things, like other people driving too slow, a broken shoe, or the computer messing up." She says, "I feel so bad because even though I don't act like this in front of other people, I even scare my dog! But I just can't help it, and it's getting worse." She adds, "Especially when I drink." Dee feels "overwhelmed with everything," and she says, "I don't see the point of anything right now." She has been approved for a family leave due to the death of her father. Although seeing a therapist was initially a requirement, Dee, wants to continue the therapy once a week until her leave is over.

Session One

Existentially oriented psychotherapy might be ideal for Dee. However, in light of her self reported drinking, the therapist asks how often Dee engages in drinking, in order to determine whether or not this is a critical issue. Dee reports that she finds herself drinking mostly with friends, about once per week. Dee reports further, "But when I do go out, it depends. Sometimes, like if I'm drinking to get drunk, things really do get out of hand because I'll drive that way or I'll make a scene sometimes." The therapist asks Dee to elaborate and when she does, the therapist addresses her own reactions to the issue directly. The therapist expresses concern and asks Dee to consider attending an AA group meeting or an Al-Anon group meeting as well as make contract not to drive while intoxicated. Although group therapy is suggested by the therapist in order to directly address what may be critical and dangerous current behavior, group therapy is also suggested in this case in order to aid in helping Dee become aware of how her behavior is viewed by others (Yalom, 1980).

In addition to addressing this initial and potentially critical issue, the therapist continues to focus on building being authentic with Dee. The therapist asks Dee to determine her goal in therapy and is, in this way, preparing Dee to identify her "ultimate concern" (May & Yalom, 2005, p.281) in future sessions. As Dee describes her current behavior and her current experience, she shares that she is extremely distraught about the loss of her father. The therapist compliments Dee's courage in acknowledging those feelings and her ability to share them.

Session Two

Dee shares that her father was an alcoholic, and that he was cold and critical to everyone in the family, including Dee while growing up. She says, "But about a year ago, I almost got in a car wreck, and I thought, 'I can't die without ever being close to my dad at all.' So, I wrote him a letter and I think that we at least made some steps. So, I feel better because I had put out an effort and things did improve a little bit." The therapist asks Dee to share how she deals with her distraught feelings and to elaborate on how the letter and subsequent improvement of the relationship affects her now. For example, the therapist asks, "Did you see him any differently after that and now?" and "Did you feel that he saw you differently?" The therapist uses this as a way to guide Dee in connecting her behavior with her perceptions of her experience in the world. Dee says that it made her feel like she "did her part." The therapist will identify this and continue to compliment and encourage Dee's ability to accept her own freedom to change things and the way in which Dee demonstrates a will to take responsibility for her life (Frankl, 1959, p. 109).

Session Three

Dee shares that she often looks at her memory books of pictures from growing up to deal with both her sadness as well as "to make herself feel better." Dee admits that she spends "a lot of time alone remembering things." She says, "I've always been that way though. I mean, I keep memory books of my family, my high school days, my college days, and my whole life over the years with friends and boyfriends. I have journals, too, but they are mostly about the boyfriends that I used to be in love with. I'll pull them out and listen to music by myself, remembering. I know that I'm being melancholy, but I just like to do that." Dee says that she dreams about her father now and sometimes "feels him" around her. The therapist and Dee begin to discover that this is Dee's way of being close to her father as well as not accepting the finality of his death (Frankl, 1959, p. 109). In future sessions, the therapist and Dee connect her current beliefs and behaviors regarding her father, her friends, boyfriends, and her own preservation of memories to some of her own feelings of what isolation, death, and fear mean to her in her life (Yalom, 1980, pp. 3-28).

Session Four

Dee and the therapist discuss how keeping pictures and journals have a way of keeping memories "alive." Dee says, "I know that it wasn't all good. I don't sit there and pretend that it was something it wasn't or anything. I even take heart in the sadness of it all sometimes. I take heart in both the good and the bad of it." "So, you recognize the value of both?" "Yes," Dee answers, "Because I know that the bad things have made me stronger, too." The therapist compliments Dee on her insight and her ability to find meaning in her suffering (Frankl, 1959, p. 112). Dee continues, "I just like to remember and someday, when I'm old, I'll still be saving these books for a rainy day." The therapist identifies the journals as both a "major immortality project" (May & Yalom, 2005, p.281) and a way in which Dee both functionally enjoys and irrationally stunts her growth. However, the therapist uses this



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