last quarter I took a class in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) on worldviews: what are they, how do they color our interaction with the world, and what are ours? one assignment in this class was to interview a practicing therapist about their worldviews, their practice, and what they see their role as. after the interview, we shared with the class some of the themes or responses we received from the therapist.
while my interview went incredibly well and I learned a lot about what it means to have faith and to be a therapist, the most profound moment that came out of this class for me was during another group’s presentation. they talked about how the therapist they interviewed had said that he viewed his role as a therapist as one who holds hope for their client.
i resonated with this idea, because i have realized that this tends to be something that i do naturally. i have noticed times when i seem to be the one in a group attempting to call out strengths or victories when others are criticizing or feeling defeated.
after some further reflection, i realized that holding hope is not only the task of the therapist, but it is also the task of the theologian.
theologically speaking, hope is foundational. as a person of faith, i place my hope in a God who, in God’s fullness, chose to become fully like me so that i may become fully human and be drawn into a deep and abiding communion with that God and with the rest of humanity. i have hope that there is something more, something better, and that it is possible here and now. the theologian lives in this space.
generally, a client comes to therapy because there is some indication or recognition that something is wrong. it takes a profound amount of courage on the part of a client to walk into a room with a stranger and admit that there is a problem that they have no idea how to fix. this is the space that the therapist steps into. the therapist answers that courage with hope. the therapist says yes, something is wrong, but it can get better, and i am here to help.
hope binds the therapeutic process to theology. the formative act of “doing theology” and the formative act of “doing therapy” go hand in hand because of the hope the the act of doing will lead to something more and something better.