VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Untangling Hope and Optimism: Implications for Counselors
Aida Hutz-Midgett, Diana M. Doumas, Becca Dickinson, Angela Dondero, Mary Kaye Johnson, and Jenni Kimball
Counselors often help clients gain insight that allows them to view the world through a new lens, cope with emotionally painful and complex issues, and change behaviors that are not effective in achieving desired life goals. However, counselors, as well as other mental health professionals, often respond to clients’ distress by relying on a medical model of psychopathology to reduce negative symptomology and increase quality of life. Positive psychology emerged as a new approach in the 1980s, focusing on clients’ strengths, rather than deficits, which seems to be more congruent with most counselors’ professional identity. Although relationships between positive psychology constructs such as hope, optimism, life satisfaction, and self-esteem have been investigated, questions remain regarding whether empirical evidence supports a distinction between them. More specifically, questions still remain regarding whether hope and optimism are the same fundamental human expression or distinct concepts, each adding unique value to learning more about clients’ outlook and worldview.