Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Edward L. Trembley

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. Frank Gross


Hope is a fundamental element of human behavior which activates, shapes, and sustains psychological development. The literature presents hope as a significant nonspecific factor in psychotherapy; however, the specific use of hope is not examined. There has been little exploration or specification of the characteristics, dynamics, and effects of hoping on individual psychology. The author examines hope as a psychological construct and presents a theory of hope development, loss, and distortion, and a model is presented for the therapeutic use of hope in counseling and psychotherapy.

The author draws from the philosophical, eschatological, and psychological literature concepts regarding the characteristics and functions of hope. Theoretical formulations are given to describe hope development in accordance with each development era and the accompanying tasks as conceptualized in selected object relations and constructive-developmental theories. The possible cause and effect patterns of hope loss and distortion are examined within the context of the developmental eras, with particular attention given to the development of depression. A model for the assessment of hope functioning in counseling and therapy clients is provided.

A model for the therapeutic use of hope in therapy is presented as a conceptual tool for practitioners. The model provides a framework for understanding client hoping behavior and for determining means of engendering and therapeutically using hope to effect client change. The principles of the model are first described for the general therapy process, than for therapy conceptualized as a developmental process. Third, the model is applied to client hope loss and distortion patterns in terms of unique developmental disturbances.

Finally, the theory and model are evaluated using selected standard criteria. The theory and model for the therapeutic use of hope offer a conceptual framework for understanding client hope disturbances and providing treatment factors for the engendering and therapeutic use of hope as it is considered to be a significant factor in psychological growth and change.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access