Hope Follows Action, Not the Other Way Around
By Yvonne Dolan - Favoring positive emotions and subtly trying to subdue negative ones can sometimes backfire. Though focusing on mundane tasks in the present can seem impossibly beside the point for someone who has suffered a life-shattering event, it can help build, inch by inch and then yard by yard, a pathway out of despair and into the fullness of life.
Simple Therapy Techniques that Create Hope
As therapists, we often elicit negative emotions, believing that they must be purged before there'll be room for hope and other positive emotions. We're particularly anxious to assuage trauma survivors, whose desperate, unbearable pain seems to demand immediate relief. But favoring positive emotions and subtly trying to subdue negative ones can backfire. How do we get beyond this impasse? We can begin by looking again at the ways people have found consolation and support in the thousands of years before psychotherapy was developed. Throughout history, human beings have found rough relief and a modicum of comfort in the immediate obligations and habits of ordinary, daily life.
What to Do When All Seems Lost
We frequently assume that all clients must feel hopeful and believe that life is meaningful before they'll make much progress in therapy or in life. But in the wake of catastrophe, it's often impossible to summon up the least glimmer of hope or faith or sense of life's meaning. To clients who have suffered profound trauma, it's ludicrous to suggest that they can be coaxed into feeling hopeful about the future. But sometimes, the simplest act can have profound power.