Most consumers of mental health services assume that psychology developed as a bias-free social science, with research data driving theory and practice. This view is greatly flawed, as virtually all of the key theorists advanced their views based primarily on observations, personal insights, and "beliefs." These thinkers held a hostile view of faith, dismissing religious values as a sign of mental illness. While psychotherapy literally means "care of the soul," mental health treatment largely excludes matters of the heart such as moral fiber and spirit. Lost has been the idea that virtues such as courage and hope play an intensely vital role in mental wellness. More troubling is the fact that most recipients of psychological services assume that mental health professionals, because of their training, possess sophisticated insights only they can dispense to relieve mental distress. Because the majority of mental health treatment has historically functioned from an illness model, both treatment providers and consumers have deemed faith beliefs and character strengths irrelevant to good mental health. Fortunately, the last twenty years of scientific research has reestablished the positive relationship between faith beliefs, character traits, and behavioral health that has been held sacrosanct throughout virtually all of human history. Through a distillation of these findings, Hidden Courage seeks to empower nonprofessionals with accessible, timeless principles that guide a good life.
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