Practical wisdom as executive virtue for positive psychology : a pastoral-theological evaluation
Ferreira, Johan Leon
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The central theoretical statement of this study proposes that practical wisdom as an executive virtue within positive psychology may be applied in a pastoral-theological paradigm. One of the main virtues in positive psychology, namely wisdom, is investigated and defined in this study. The article format has been used in this thesis, ultimately consisting of five articles. In Article 1 the scriptural perspectives found on practical wisdom in the Old Testament are discussed. From the information contained in the article, it is deduced that Old Testament wisdom should and can possibly be used to connect the reader with the teachings in a realistic way so that the person is enabled to apply the principles of Old Testament wisdom literature to everyday circumstance. Article 2 deals with the wisdom principles found in the Sermon on the Mount. It can be said that wisdom teachings found in the Sermon on the Mount could possibly be used to enable the reader to achieve personal happiness in everyday life. It is further concluded that the principle of the transforming initiative could possibly be used in a valid psychotherapeutic process by the Christian psychologist with Christian clients. In Article 3 the meta-theoretical fields of philosophy, psychology, and specifically positive psychology, are investigated in terms of wisdom principles. The study focuses on how practical wisdom can be used as an executive virtue within the context of a Christian psychotherapeutic process. The conclusions from this chapter are used to direct the empirical research on the executive function of wisdom. Wisdom is an essential part of the psychotherapeutic process and can be used to enable the client to achieve personal happiness in everyday life. Article 4 deals with the empirical research where practical wisdom as executive virtue in the psychotherapeutic process was used to drive a process of personal growth and exploration for the clients in this study. It is stated further that wisdom is not the primary aim of the therapeutic intervention, but a tool to assist the therapist and the client in a more effective, outcomes-based, measurable result of personal growth. In Article 5 a pastoral-theological model for the executive virtue of practical wisdom in positive psychology is formulated. This model could possibly be applied to a therapeutic context, providing the client has the ability to comprehend the concepts and that the spiritual dimensions fit into his religious frame of reference.
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