Build Your Hope

''Hope" is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -


And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -


I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of Me.


Emily Dickinson(c.1891/1960)
This hope symbol was given to me by a former client. If you have reconnected with your hope partly from our work together, we will not have laboured in vain.
Hope Focused Counselling
During my training, Dr. Helen Massfeller drew my attention to the value of working directly with people's hope. Since then I have made a study of hope--in research, in stories, in nature, and especially in the human struggle. Below are some strategies to build yours and others' hope.

Ways to Build Hope

Jevne, R. (1991). It all begins with hope: Patients, caregivers & the bereaved speak out. San Diego, CA: LuraMedia.


Communicate Care - to yourself and others

Tell and hear the story - helps us find meaning

Make something happen - we can have influence, however small

Share hope stories - talking about hope brings about hope

Practice hope rituals - like putting a positive note on the fridge

Find hope images - from movies, music, photos

Look for hope models - admired people. We need heroes

Build hope bridges - use strengths/wisdom from past to bridge future goals

Create hope symbols - anything that points beyond itself (like unopened flower)


Possible Questions to Make Hope Explicit

What is it that gives you internal support?

What are your sources of hope?

What do you hold onto in difficult times?

What keeps you going?

What is the smallest change that could increase your hope?

What fragrance (colour, sound, song) reminds you of hope?

The Shawshank Redemption is an iconic hope movie. I have used this video with groups as a way of telling hope stories.
"I hope the Pacific is as blue as it is in my dreams...I hope."