To believe with reasonable confidence that what is desired can be achieved.
Instilling hope is one of the most important aspects of the therapeutic relationship. People come in and out of my office for a million different reasons, but they often share a lack of hope. So frequently, what really brings us to the point of pain is the belief that there is no path to improvement. In short, things seem hopeless.
The truth is, sometimes things really are bad. Sometimes situations I hear described from the couch in my office sound deeply overwhelming to me, too. I hear the brokenness and the loss. My heart aches with theirs.
It’s my job as a therapist in those moments to remember things the person in my office is struggling to believe:
Things change. Situations change. Emotions, outlooks, problems change. Even people change. We heal and recover and learn to forgive.
New ways of expressing love and even communicating anger can be learned and practiced. There is always hope. There is always something that can be done to give things a chance of improving. But . . . most of the time, a person will need to hear that from you before he or she will ever be willing to come and sit on my couch.
So be patient. Be loving and kind. Be a giver of hope.