Title

Role of suffering in human flourishing: contributions from positive psychology, theology, and philosophy.

Publication Date

Summer 2010

Abstract

Should alleviating suffering always be the primary goal in treatment? This paper proposes that suffering can best be understood in the context of the flourishing life, from the intersecting vantage points of positive psychology, philosophy of theology. We further argue that in this context, we can articulate a role for suffering. Suffering can be understood as a marker of disordered living, a means of cultivating characteristics that are essential to the flourishing life, or an opportunity for worldview orientation. In sum, the role of suffering is not to endure it for its own sake, but for the sake of cultivating the flourishing life. Finally, we will consider some implications of this conceptualization for the practice of therapy.

Keywords

Suffering; Psychotherapy; Pastoral theology

Publication Title

Journal of Psychology & Theology

Volume

38

Issue

2

First Page

111

Last Page

121

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