With the coming of a New Year, many of our clients may be struggling to remain hopeful, due to circumstances that oftentimes feel beyond their control. So how do we as clinicians work to instill hope, when things appear hopeless?
There are several writers; Victor Frankl, Rollo May, Carl Rogers and Gerald May all of whom understood that feeling hopeful is a generative (active) process. They believed that hope is a choice, and the more challenging the circumstances the more likely an individual will make a “choice” to hope. To quote May, “We may go through a great deal of humbling if not outright humiliation, before we come to this simplicity of hope”.
To facilitate hope, therapists must demonstrate or model hope for their clients. In addition, we need to work at helping our clients to “locate” and enhance the existing desire to be hopeful, that most clients already possess. An example of this might be the partner of a sex addict that has been through a disclosure process with her husband, and she has lost all hope of ever feeling the same way about her husband, or marriage, for the man she thought she had married no longer exists.
By assisting the client in locating a reason for working a program of recovery, whatever that may be, and allowing the client to “hold” the conflicting views, it becomes natural, through a process of encouragement, for the client to increase her desire for accepting life on life’s terms. Once that desire exists, the counselor can assist the client in understanding how to best accept the changes that will come. Hope is ignited within the client and reinforced by the counselor.
My hope for each of us is that 2015 will be a year of active participation in life, both emotionally and spiritually; and that along the way, we will lean into our growing edges, by actively using hope and courage.
Marie Krebs, MS, LPC, LCDC, SRT, CCPS, CDWF