PhD (UNE) MEd. (Deakin), GDip Couns (CHC), B. Ed. (GU), Dip. Teaching (JCU)

Dr Denis O’Hara (Keynote)

Keynote Closing Session

Denis will pull together the conference on how we can as Christian and counsellors move forward into the ever changing world whilst remaining true.

Conference Workshop 8:
Incarnation and Promise: Worldview Implications in an Age of Secularism 

All personal and professional practice is founded on a worldview which infuses and informs all that we do. A central dimension of the Christian worldview is the Incarnation. The embodied Christ declares a unified view of existence in which creation, matter, is not simply transitory but part of our ongoing being. This truth has enormous implications for the significance of embodiment and our view of the future. Personal and corporate well-being is founded on a profound valuing of embodied existence which ultimately continues beyond the temporal era. However, to apprehend this reality we necessarily struggle to see beyond our present struggles and limitations. This is where promise comes to our aid illuminated hope. The promises of God draw us towards a future, both temporal and eternal, which is filled with the satisfaction of embodied being. However, we are surrounded by a secular worldview which distracts, challenges, and sometimes entices us, in such a way that we lose our view of realty and ultimately our health and well being. The divided secular worldview of mind and matter, of postmodern and modern, must be understood as a confusion which leads to personal and social illness and disorder. An authentic Christian worldview orientates the individual and society towards a hope filled future. A Christian view of the future is non-circular, it has progressive movement – God is going somewhere! Illness and despair reflect a stuckness or circularity of experience. We keep repeating unwanted relational patterns and problems. A future of promise draws us beyond the circular malaise. The implications of a Christian worldview for life and for professional practice will be a central focus of this presentation.

Professor Denis O’Hara is a well-known Australia academic and practitioner. He has a background in education, counselling, and psychology and is currently Professor of Counselling and Psychotherapy at the Australian College of Applied Psychology, Co-Director of the Hope Research and Practice Institute, and Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast and at Griffith University. Professor O’Hara has researched extensively in the areas of hope studies and psychotherapeutic change, among other topics, and has published widely. He has written several books on the significance of hope in therapeutic change. He is an experienced teacher and presenter and enjoys providing professional development.


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