Hope and Despair in Narrative and Family Therapy by C; McC Flaskas

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By C; McC Flaskas

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Extra resources for Hope and Despair in Narrative and Family Therapy

Example text

The introduction to this book noted the empirical evidence of the significance of clients’ capacity for hope in the process of change. That this factor possibly accounts for as much as 15 per cent of the factors related to positive outcome in therapy, equal to the influence of the therapist’s choice of particular therapeutic techniques, resonates strongly with practice impressions and also resonates strongly with themes presented in supervision. It would be remiss not to acknowledge here, at the outset, the richness of the therapist’s own relationship to hope.

In the contemporary understanding a ‘privatization of hope’ arrives on the agenda replacing the profound hopefulness which had animated the twentieth-century socialist vision. This is the Fukuyama (1992) conception of a society without opposition, no longer requiring large theoretical schemata of emancipation. Rather it is populated by an infinity of individual hopes and partial social projects (Anderson 1992). While this speaks to the modern heterogeneity of being and a politics of gradualism, it fails to account for the engagement with the world, revealing hope in the bleakest situations, or its opposite, the wish for death in the withdrawal of despair.

Fake it till you make it’ a saying reported from a Narcotics Anonymous group. These snapshots circle the final idea in this set of themes: that there may be different expressions and communications in the feeling, thinking and doing of hope and hopelessness. In Kaethe Weingarten’s words, you can ‘do’ hope even when you can’t feel hope (Weingarten 2000). The capacity to feel hope, even when there seems no rational meaning to support this hope, can be witnessed and honoured by significant others and in the therapeutic environment.

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