Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

The Effectiveness of Logotherapy Program in Alleviating the Sense of Meaninglessness of Paralyzed In-Patients

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

The Effectiveness of Logotherapy Program in Alleviating the Sense of Meaninglessness of Paralyzed In-Patients

Article excerpt

Logotherapy is a form of existential therapy founded by Dr. Victor Frankl. This therapy is known to be deeper and broader than other psychological therapies because it penetrates into the spiritual dimension of human existence and focuses on meaning and purpose in life. In fact, logos in Greek means not only meaning but also spirit (Frankl, 1963, p.160).

This pioneering effort of the researcher to apply Logotherapy to these seemingly helpless and hopeless paralyzed individuals, despite of the foreseen difficulty and challenges on the part of the former, is not only based on theories, concepts/principles underlying her chosen field of inquiry, but above all, it is founded on the researcher's faith, hope, love and commitment to God and His people. For the researcher, this is not only taken as a study to be accomplished; nonetheless, it is a mission to be fulfilled.

At present, there are approximately two million people worldwide who are paralyzed because of spinal cord injury (Bombardier, 2001). Paralysis is defined as complete loss of strength in an affected limb or muscle group (Yarkony, 1994). Classified by region, this study includes the two types of paralysis: Paraplegia (affecting both legs and trunk), and quadriplegia (affecting all four limbs and trunk).

The 700 bed Philippine National Orthopedic Center in Quezon City cares for those with physical disabilities, many of whom are paralyzed (www.doh.gov.ph/press/ January072002.htm). These people live in constant pain: central pain, muscle tension, visceral pain and psychogenic pain (Elliot, 1991).

Researchers have documented elevated levels of hopelessness and meaninglessness in the Spinal Cord Injured (SCI) population, with the majority of suicide attempts occurring within 12 months of injury onset (Kishi & Robinson 1996, Beedie & Kennedy 2002). The total suicide rate among individuals with SCI was nearly five times higher than expected in the general population. It is lower in marginally disabled persons and nearly twice as high in functionally complete quadriplegic individuals (Hartkopp, et. al., 1998). In fact, this has been one of the major concerns of those in health care and others in helping professions, for it greatly interferes with the rehabilitation process (Boecamp, 1996). Encouraged by the necessity for a broader and deeper therapeutic psychotherapy that may help alleviate the sense of meaninglessness of the paralyzed in-patients, the researcher of this study attempted to determine the effectiveness of Logotherapy program in restoring the most important aspect of living for the selected paralyzed in-patients, the ultimate purpose and meaning of their human existence.

Method

Participants

The participants of this study were the selected paralyzed in-patients of the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City, Philippines. This venue was chosen for this research since in this center most of the paralyzed patients were admitted and Logotherapy had not been administered to depressed paralyzed patients. The participants, who willingly consented in this research, comprised male and female paraplegic and quadriplegic in-patients, from adolescence to old age (16-65 years of age). The primary cause of paralysis was spinal cord injury (SCI), most commonly secondary to motor vehicle accidents and gunshot wounds, falls, sports injuries, violence, and vehicular accidents, that caused fracture, dislocations, bleeding and swelling of the spinal cord. To obtain the sample, the English and Tagalog versions of Purpose in Life (PIL) and Life Regard Index (LRI) tests, were administered by the researcher to the SCI population (witnessed by the SCI patients' care-givers), before the inception of the Logotherapy program. Thirty two (32) Samples among the 78 members of the population were found to have significant level of meaninglessness (those who got the scores of 91 and below in PIL, and those who got the scores of 87 and below in LRI) became the participants of this study. …

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