Dr. Stephen J. Costello is the founder and director of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland, about whom Dr. Viktor Frankl’s grandson said that he gives ‘the authentic interpretation of my grandfather’s thought’. He has been described by fellow philosopher Richard Kearney as ‘one of the most important philosophers working in Ireland today’. Dr. Costello is a philosopher, business consultant, logotherapist/ existential analyst, and a best-selling author. Formerly a lecturer in philosophy and psychology, with over twenty-five years experience, in University College Dublin, Trinity College, and the Dublin Business School, he was educated in St. Gerard’s School, Castleknock College, and University College Dublin, where he read Philosophy and Spanish Language and Literature, gaining BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Philosophy, before training as a psychoanalyst, graduating with a Diploma in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Irish Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (now an MSc in St. James’ Hospital), and later as a logotherapist/ existential analyst through Vienna. He also spent a period of time at the Honourable Society of King’s Inns. He was a student counsellor and member of the sub-finance committee of the Association of College Societies while at university. Dr. Costello’s doctorate was on psychoanalysis and hermeneutics, in which he specialized in the thought of Paul Ricoeur, the famous French philosopher, whom he met on several occasions.
For a number of years, Dr. Costello was a member of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland, attached to the School of Psychotherapy in St. Vincent’s Hospital. He is a Diplomate in Logotherapy and sits on the international faculty of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy in the United States. He was awarded a Diploma in Logotherapy and Existential Analysis from the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, Vienna, of which he is a member. He has published widely in leading international journals and has been in private practise as a clinician and supervisor for over 20 years. He met Eleonore (‘Elly’) Frankl – Frankl’s second wife – in Vienna on his numerous visits there as well as other members of the Frankl family, together with former friends and colleagues of Viktor Frankl. In 2014, while in Vienna, Dr. Costello attended Dr. Elisabeth Lukas’ lectures, and in 2016 he sat in on her last ever master-class in logotherapy. She has been described as the greatest living disciple of Viktor Frankl.
An outstanding and dynamic speaker, Dr. Costello was awarded numerous gold medals for debating while at UCD, including the prestigious Law Society Gold Medal and the Commerce and Economics Society Gold Medal for the best debater. He won the Magilligan Shield Trophy (Bank of Ireland) and was semi-finalist in The Irish Times debating championship. He holds a black belt in Aikido and an equivalent in Wing Tsun Kung Fu. He received his shodan from Sensei Alan Ruddock in 2006 – the only Irish Aikido instructor to have trained with the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, himself in Japan. Dr. Costello was honoured with a Civic Engagement Award from Trinity College (School of Nursing and Midwifery) for a paper on Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy.
Dr. Costello has addressed two parliaments: the Stormont Parliament in Northern Ireland (on human rights) and the European Parliament in Brussels (on meaning and mental health). He organized the first ever conference on logotherapy and suicide in Dublin, chaired by Gay Mitchell, MEP, and was the keynote speaker on depression both at a meeting of the Irish Council of Psychotherapy and also at St. Patrick’s psychiatric hospital. He has given three papers to the International Congress on Logotherapy in Vienna. He has presented papers both nationally (United Arts Club, Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Physicians, Mater Dei, the European Parliament buildings), and internationally (Vienna Medical Society, London Borough of Hounslow, Dallas in the US, Lafoten in Norway). He has given over fifty keynote addresses.
Dr. Costello is available for motivational talks and has spoken on the following subjects over the years: The Philosophy of Human Rights; Sense & Suicide; Meaning & Mental Health; The Art of Change; Dark Night: Desire & Depression; Finding Meaning, Forgetting Happiness; The Meaning of Work; Philosophy as Therapy; The Stoic Way of Life; Symbolism, Ritual & Myth; Stoic Mindfulness; Boredom & Burnout; Strategies for Stress; Answer to Anxiety; The Choice of Addiction; The Archaeology of Anger; Leisure and Labour; The Science of Success; Tragic Optimism; The Secret of Seeing; Conscience: The Still, Small Voice; The Meaning of Love; Hope as a Virtue; Psychology of Religion; Fear-Factor; Resilience & Emotional Intelligence; The Attitude of Gratitude; Sources of Creativity; Decision-Making; The Power of Stories; The Importance of Humour.
Dr. Costello has published over 25 scholarly articles, as well as a booklet (Basil Hume: Builder of Community), produced two CD’s, columns for newspapers such as The Irish Times and The Sunday Independent and is the author of 9 books: The Irish Soul: In Dialogue, which was a national bestseller; The Pale Criminal: Psychoanalytic Perspectives; 18 Reasons Why Mothers Hate Their Babies: A Philosophy of Childhood; Hermeneutics and the Psychoanalysis of Religion; The Ethics of Happiness: An Existential Analysis; What is Friendship?: Conversations with the Great Philosophers;Philosophy and the Flow of Presence: Desire, Drama, and the Divine Ground of Being; The Truth about Lying: With Some Differences Between Men and Women; and The Philosophy Clinic: Practical Wisdom at Work. He is also the editor of Credo: Faith and Philosophy in Contemporary Ireland and The Search for Spirituality: Seven Paths within the Catholic Tradition.
Dr. Costello’s most recent corporate clients, who have consulted with him to conduct his ‘Meaning at Work’ seminars, have included: Red Bull (Nordic Managers), UK social workers, and the Bank of Ireland (8 workshops given as part of ‘Be At Your Best’ programme in Galway, Carlow, Kilkenny, and Dublin to hundreds of bank employees).
Dr. Costello has written many articles for The Sunday Independent, is a frequent broadcaster on Irish radio, and has been interviewed on the following radio shows: Joe Duffy, John Murray, Marian Finucane, Sean Moncrieff, Karen Coleman (‘The Wide Angle’), Richard Curran (‘The Business’), and by Joe Humphreys in his newspaper column in The Irish Times. Dr. Costello has made a video/podcast: ‘Finding Meaning, Forgetting Happiness’, and a CD, ‘A Philosopher’s Search for Meaning’, produced by the Jesuits.