An article by Sheree Bega in the Saturday Weekend Argus of May 12, 2018, highlights the power of hope in healing.
She quotes the views of American oncologist, Dr Jerome Groopman, the Recanati Professor of Immunology at Harvard Medical School, who has extensive experience in caring for patients with cancer, blood diseases, HIV, and Hepatitis C.
He says of hope: “hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see – in the mind’s eye – a path to a better future…clear-eyed, hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them”
From the point of view of psychological therapy, hope is regarded as a very important ingredient. Often clients come to therapy when their usual range of coping skills has not helped them sufficiently in dealing with the difficulties they are experiencing.
It is part of the therapist’s role to offer hope and indeed to hold this space for the client until the client can feel it for him/herself. This does not come about by false reassurances but by helping the client to connect with their inner strengths and also to relate to their difficulties in a different way, a way that is empowering. Grootman expresses it thus: “Hope enables you to push forward and through (difficulties)”
What is additionally interesting is that Groopman, who is a scientist, researcher and doctor says that there is in fact “a biology of hope”, that hope has the power to alter our neurochemistry, and affect our physiological as well as psychological processes – all the more reason to work with this critical ingredient in therapy.