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Open Theology

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Psychotherapy and the Theological Virtues

Mark R. McMinn / Paul T. McLaughlin / Bradley C. Johnson / Rosanna Shoup
Published Online: 2016-05-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0035


Several decades ago Bergin promoted the then-controversial idea of considering religious values in psychotherapy. Much has changed in the intervening years; psychotherapists now have numerous resources available to help them in considering religious and spiritual issues in psychotherapy. In addition to considering values, we suggest there is a place to consider religious virtues in psychotherapy. Virtues are distinct from values in that the former assume a telos (created purpose or end). Whereas values focus on who we are, virtues also focus on who we are becoming. Using the three primary values from the Christian religion— faith, hope, and love—we illustrate how a virtue-based psychotherapy might consider the person of the psychotherapist and the transformational process of psychotherapy. In each case we offer potential research questions, as Bergin did in his landmark publication.

Keywords: psychotherapy; religion; values; virtues


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About the article

Received: 2015-12-18

Accepted: 2016-03-30

Published Online: 2016-05-17

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0035.

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©2016 Mark R. McMinn et al.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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