"Hope that is seen is no hope at all:" theological constructions of hope in psychotherapy.
Contemporary psychology and psychiatry have increasingly focused on hope as a human phenomenon relevant to physical and psychological well-being. Contemporary psychological research, however, often considers hope anthropocentrically and cannot speak directly of the particular cultural, religious and theological sustaining contexts of hope that, especially for persons of faith, give hope its shape and meaning. In this paper I focus on three articulations of hope within Jewish and Christian tradition-the Summa theologiae of Thomas Aquinas, the lament psalms of the Hebrew Bible, and the post-Holocaust writing of Emil Fackenheim-to argue that attention to these sustaining contexts is essential for understanding what religious traditions mean by hope. Religious traditions display insights and practices related to hope that both complement and challenge contemporary psychological approaches to hope. Close attention to these determinative traditions can therefore enrich and deepen the treatment of hope within contemporary psychotherapeutic practice.
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