People who have experienced profound trauma and loss cannot easily feel hopeful about the future. In therapy clients tend to speak repeatedly about their unbearable pain or feel a sense of numbness and apathy. How can a therapist help clients under these circumstances?
We can begin by looking at ways people found solace and support throughout human history: the routine of everyday life. Activities such as appreciating a cup of tea, making dinner for a child, walking on the beach, can assist clients in reconnecting with their inner strength, a sense of agency present despite the pain.
Dolan (2015) explains further:
Strangely enough, the “distraction” of living fully in the present seems to be the only real cure for the terrible things life can do to us, the only real source of hope in hopeless situations. As therapists and healers, we can’t make people feel hopeful, nor can we reverse the tragedies that make them feel hopeless. But we can help them slowly begin building, out of life’s own materials, a place in which hope can nest.
Supporting clients discover how their ancestors coped with their painful emotions and how those activities might currently help them is a good start.
Dolan, Y. (2015). How Our Everyday Behavior Can Heal Trauma Simple Therapy Techniques that Create Hope. Psychotherapy Netwoker. Retrieved from https://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/daily/posts/trauma/how-our-everyday-habits-can-heal-trauma/