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Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition by Stephen Joseph

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Chapter 29Strategies for Accentuating Hope

JEANA L. MAGYAR-MOE AND SHANE J. LOPEZ

People somehow summon enough mental energy to set the goal of seeking a therapist or other healer. Likewise, they identify pathways to the desired helper and muster the requisite energy to build a working alliance with their newfound agent of change. In essence, self-referred clients already have demonstrated hope in their pursuit of therapeutic support by the time they reach their therapists. In turn, therapists can help clients to name and to nurture the hope that they already possess.

In this chapter, we identify formal strategies for accentuating the hope that people possess. We discuss the effectiveness data, where available, associated with these strategies. Given that most therapists are eclectic, we also describe informal strategies that could be implemented within any therapeutic framework; moreover, we address common strategies that can be assigned to clients as homework. We begin by outlining hope theory and discuss hope's role as an active ingredient in psychological change.

Hope Theory

According to hope theory, hope reflects individuals' perceptions of their capacities to (a) clearly conceptualize goals; (b) develop the specific strategies to reach those goals (pathways thinking); and (c) initiate and sustain the motivation for using those strategies (agency thinking).

The pathways and agency components are both necessary, but neither by itself is sufficient to sustain successful ...

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