Hope in cognitive psychotherapies: On working with client strengths


Journal Article

The field of psychology, which is traditionally rooted in the study and treatment of psychological disorders and pathology, recently has begun to embrace an examination of individual, as well as societal, strengths and virtues. This subspecialty within psychology, known as positive psychology, can be defined as the attempt to understand the characteristics and processes that contribute to optimal functioning, flourishing, and resiliency. The purpose of the present article is to draw a link between traditional psychology and positive psychology using the example of the positive psychological construct of hope. Specifically, we explore the ways in which hope theory can be incorporated into traditional forms of cognitive therapy for symptom reduction and elimination. First, the theory of hope (Snyder, 1994) is introduced and the concept of hopeful thought is defined. Next, we explore the distinction between Snyder's definition of hope and Deck's definition of hopelessness (Beck, Weissman, Lester, & Trexler, 1974). Finally, we present possible strategics for utilizing hope concepts in cognitive therapies. Studying individuals with high levels of hope has resulted in a wealth of information about the ways these individuals overcome obstacles and find multiple ways to the goals that they have set for themselves. Integrating these lessons into empirically based treatments for symptom reduction is likely to result in a synergy that utilizes the most sound aspects of both traditional psychology and positive psychology. © 2006 Springer Publishing Company.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cheavens, JS; Feldman, DB; Woodward, JT; Snyder, CR

Published Date

  • January 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 135 - 145

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0889-8391

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1891/jcop.20.2.135

Citation Source

  • Scopus