Original Research

The angry and aggressive patient in clinical pastoral care: Towards a spiritual and hermeneutical approach within the interplay between hoping and dread

Daniël J. Louw
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2586 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2586 | © 2020 Daniël J. Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2019 | Published: 19 August 2020

About the author(s)

Daniël J. Louw, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Aggressive behaviour is quite common to ailments and diseases that imply impairment and has an impact on mobility, communication and logical expression of frustration and disappointment. Within a clinical environment and medical setting, anger and aggressive behaviour impacts on the quality of caregiving and nursing. The phenomenon of anger, as related to the existential realm of anxiety and dread, is researched in order to detect its impact on coping mechanisms and human well-being. For example, what is the possible constructive value of anger in processes of healing and wholeness? Within the dilemma of bottling-up or uncontrolled catharsis, the moral dimension of anger is addressed. Within a pastoral approach to human wholeness, the spiritual and religious dimension of anger is explored. In this regard, the article probes into the realm of God-images. A praxis approach is proposed wherein a diagrammatic depiction of the interplay between hoping and the expression of anger is developed. It is believed that such a portrayal will contribute to a hermeneutics of hope care. To start ‘seeing the bigger picture’, is decisive for an understanding of pastoral caregiving as a theological endeavour.


phenomenon of anger; aggressive patient; hope care; mercy of God; catharsis; pastoral diagnosis.


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