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The role of suffering in human flourishing: Contributions from positive psychology, theology, and philosophy

by Elizabeth Lewis Hall, Richard Langer, Jason McMartin
Journal of Psychology & Theology ()
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Should alleviating suffering always be the primary goal in treatment? This paper proposes that suffering can best be understood in the context of the flourish- ing life, from the intersecting vantage points of posi- tive psychology, philosophy of theology. We further argue that in this context, we can articulate a role for suffering. Suffering can be understood as a mark- er of disordered living, a means of cultivating char- acteristics 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.

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