Hope- An Anchor to the Souls of Men (Ether 12:4)
by Edward Callirgos, L.A.M.F.T., Networker Column Editor
Our clients come from all backgrounds and beliefs, from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. The word “hope” is universally accepted by religious and non-religious individuals is therefore a useful tool in our professional practice.
The power and need for hope is found throughout the scriptures. We know that Heavenly Father wants his children to “hope for a better world” (Ether 12:4). Additionally we plead for hope in our hymns: “Bring hope to my desolate heart” (Redeemer of Israel V.6, Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). So, it should not be surprising that in our professional roles as a psychotherapists, social workers and counselors we hear and see our clients searching for hope.
We are given an opportunity in our profession to work with individuals, families, couples and groups where pain, loss, and discouragement abound. As professionals we seek to help our client(s) by using a variety of interventions, including active listening, paradoxical, enactments, journals, rituals, and even miracle questions. All these interventions help our clients reframe their problems, find solutions, and increase support, closeness, and bonding.
As a result, our clients (maybe not all of them) have an increase of hope. The use of hope as an intervention may seem “beside the point” since interventions and the homeostasis of the individual or family can naturally produce hope. However, hope can be used as a focus of our intervention, allowing families, couples, individuals and groups to cultivate or invigorate this natural and God-given tool of resiliency and happiness.
Here are some ways to utilize hope as an intervention:
- From an experiential perspective, have the client draw hope. Perhaps they can draw a circle and in the circle draw the things or write the words they hope for.
- From a narrative perspective, externalize hope and ask questions regarding its impact on the client. When is it present? When is it almost invisible? Etc.
- From a family of origin perspective, track hope in the family of origin using a genogram or time line.
- From an experiential perspective, give an in-session task for the family, couple, or individual to interact with hope. Examples include family theater, empty chair, enactments, collages, etc.
- From a mindfulness approach, explore hope and the meaning of hope in clients’ lives. How does hope make them feel? What is the process of hope?
In using some of the above suggestions, keep in mind the individual needs of your clients and the possible contraindications.
Regardless of our client’s origin or cognitive constructs, the importance of hope is one common element found throughout the resiliency of the human race. It is my hope that this handout is a benefit to all those that read it, and that we can encourage our clients to seek hope in their times of trial.