Combining the Holistic Wellness Model and the Faith Development Theory

This sub-chapter briefly addresses the question why the theoretical approaches were chosen and combined in this psychobiography.

The wellness model has been successfully applied in psychobiographical research (Fouche & Van Niekerk, 2010) to reconstruct the lives of extraordinary individuals in a positive psychology frame. This model is used to reconstruct the life of Paulo Coelho to explore his holistic wellness in terms of integrating body, mind and spirit. Since several of Paulo Coelho’s autobiographical and creative works are based on descriptions of his personal spiritual life’s journey towards holistic wellness, the HWM seems to be an applicable theory to explore Paulo Coelho’s life topics in depth. During his life and in his creative work (e.g. Coelho, 2003b, 2011) the writer has integrated discourses on spirituality, meaningfulness in life, selfdirection and love, which can be explored by the HWM that defines spirituality as the core of holistic wellness and that interlinks spirituality with the life tasks and life forces described (Myers et al., 2001).

Since spirituality and the spiritual development of the individual seem to be core issues in Paulo Coelho’s life and creative accounts (Coelho, 2003b, 2011), the development of his faith will be explored further. It is assumed that the application of faith development throughout his life span and with regard to selected creative works will provide further in-depth information of his faith development from childhood to 2015, including the concept of spirituality. Faith is of great interest in this research, because several of his autobiographical books deal with his personal faith development (e.g. Coelho, 2002b) and faith, holism and wellness in terms of spiritual wellness are important topics in Paulo Coelho’s biography (Morais, 2009) and in interviews (Arias, 2001).

Both theories are suitable for the theoretical background of the analysis of a single case study across a lifetime and have been used successfully in psychobiographical work before (Burnell, 2013). They have therefore been proven applicable to this psychobiographical study. They have been chosen for this research study due to these main reasons explained.

In the following, the theoretical and paradigmatic point of departure is explained.

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