HOPE: The Dynamics of Self-Fulfillment by

HOPE: The Dynamics of Self-Fulfillment

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Much of the fascination in this psychotherapist's thematic representation of life's challenges lies in the case histories used for illustration: so-and-so on the brink of suicide, or struck down by a sentence of terminal illness, saved by hope or destroyed by lack of it. Dr. Hutschnecker first discovered the primacy of hope as a young Austrian soldier facing a Ukrainian firing squad in 1918--and reprieved at the last minute. His experiences thereafter evidently confirmed his belief in the saliency of hope. He describes two kinds: the active, healthy kind; and the passive, more fantasy-oriented sort. He also provides anecdotes showing the ways hope manifests itself in old age, childhood, marriage, cults, etc. There are some guidelines for those who'd like to become more hopeful (i.e., positive) in outlook: self-knowledge and understanding of others, etc. Compulsive gamblers are diagnosed as motivated by passive hope; their self-rejection leads ""to a sense of futility and hopelessness."" (The cure, of course, lies in the ""mobilization of the power of active hope."") Least convincing is Hutschnecker's cherished plan for improved hope--or more hopefulness--by having children act as their own therapists, via role playing in the schools. That plan is just about the book's only contribution to theory, but readers looking for a more positive outlook with some interesting case descriptions may find it worth skimming.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1981
Publisher: Putnam