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Bridging Pastoral Psychology and Positive Psychology

Zuhâl Ağılkaya-Şahin


Following the humanistic approach in psychology around 1950, positive psychology rediscovered in 2000 the importance of positive emotions, personal strengths, and virtues for mental health and well-being. As psychology from the pastoral counselor’s point of view, pastoral psychology also emphasizes potentials and personal growth and employs the same virtues. Although they have epistemologically different roots, pastoral and positive psychology have many common features, virtues, and aims. These commonalities encourage collaboration between these disciplines. Based on such common virtues, pastoral counselors can benefit from the research findings and theories that positive psychology developed. Positive psychology conversely can benefit from the religious dimension and meaning of these virtues and enrich its practice. This essay presents common features, aims, and virtues such as forgiveness, hope, and love and suggests possibilities for collaboration between pastoral psychology and positive psychology.

Key Words:           Pastoral psychology, positive psychology, pastoral care, pastoral counseling


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