Thursday, October 08, 2009


I like to think that most of my professional work, the counselling, the teaching, the group facilitating, the presenting, the supervision of aspiring counsellors—I like to think that most of this work is hope work. People say my standards are pretty high, seeing as how I keep insisting that we have to be able to put hope alongside reality, look at them together and stil have both.
When I look closely at my work, I see that some of it doesn’t meet my standards, maybe because I am human, and some people have huge problems, and good counselling requires a large array of skills, and teaching takes a lot of preparation, and group work can be taxing, and some audiences are more receptive than others, and the task of inspirational student supervision is harder than it looks.
So I try to remember to remind myself that a lot of implicit hope work happens without my notice, taking on a life of its own when I respect people, listen to them and give them some combination of control with the information to help them use it. And I try to remember to think about doing hope work. The surprising thing is that when I do think it, I mean really think it--the surprising thing is that when I do think it, some of the work that wasn’t necessarily hope work tends to turn into hope work.
It helps to have some tools. When I think about hope work I am more apt to tell a hopeful story, to ask a question about hope, to suggest a symbol of hope, or recommend a book, or stop doing something that appears to be taking the hope away. But tools aren’t always enough. The many tools in a hope work repertoire can be put to good use, but no matter how many wonderful hope tools I have in the repertoire, the first step in doing hope work is to think about doing it.

No comments: