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Dr Karen Massey Registered Psychologist Emergo Counselling Services
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Hope In Conselling

Dr Karen Massey

Hope is a way of feeling, thinking, behaving, and relating to oneself and to one's world.
Dr Karen Massey

In Emergo Counselling hope is typically operating in the background> Sometimes hope is close at hand, and sometimes hope is invisible. Having hope in the background is also similar to where it is in your everyday life. It is not until you run into difficulties do you need to call on your hope to help in a troubled time. Because you can draw on hope to help when times are tough, it then begs the question "What about drawing on hope intentionally every day as a positive resource for you?"

When you intentionally use hope in the counselling process it allows you to find words, pictures, metaphors, and past successes that you can then use as a resource in your daily life. Some people carry around in their pocket or purse a symbol of hope such as a hope rock or a small object. Just feeling this object can give an instant boost of hope when you need it.

Hope Language

Hope can be found in the choice of words that we use during counselling. There is future oriented language that supports hope. We intentionally use hope inducing words such as:

  • yet,
  • when,
  • I believe

to help hope emerge for you, or to strengthen your belief and commitment that YES, I can do it! When you hear that "You may not have your education completed yet, all you need is to finish these courses." This intentional use of "yet" helps strengthen the expectation that you will and can do it in the future. A similar "I can do it" attitude is fostered when you hear "When this part of your plans are complete, then you will be able to move ahead." Check out my Hope Dissertation for more information on these hope instilling words. If your options seem filled with hopelessness and despair, having a hope-focus during counselling can help to broaden your perspective and to fill your heart with hope for a better future. Recent brain mapping research using functional MRI technology indicates that hopeful, positive emotions can be intentionally produced by activities such as meditation and visualization. This research suggests that our adult brains can be intentionally changed. The good news is that we can intentionally change a negative, pessimistic outlook to one that is hopeful, more compassionate, and overall more positive. We can all learn from the Tibetan monks who some consider the "Olympic athletes of meditation."

Compassionate/Hope-filled Meditation

Research by Dr. Richard J. Davidson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, indicates that meditation increases activity in the prefrontal cortex which floods the mind with positive feelings of well-being, AND it activates the areas involved with motor planning. Being activated in motor planning means that you can feel good and your brain is primed to get into action to "do" compassionate things. Early indications are that in the presence of a compassionate person you feel more relaxed, secure, loved and safe. Perhaps it's now time for you to start learning breath work to not only relax, but also to become more positive.

Perhaps it's also now time to ask yourself the age old question "Is your glass half full or half empty?" If it's looking half empty right now then try out this Compassionate Meditation as devised by Sharon Salzberg..

Preparation:

  • Get in a comfortable sitting position, back erect
  • Plan for 20 uninterrupted minutes, and then increase the time whenever you can
  • You will silently repeat phrases. If your mind wanders, simply notice the wandering, then intentionally let go of the intruding thought or feeling by changing back to the phrases. Repeat as necessary. Intrusions lessen with practice.
  • The empowering part of this meditation is focusing your Intention and Attention
  • To shift from negatives to positives, from Judgment to Caring, from Isolation to Connection, and from Indifference, Dislike, to Understanding. It will start to change your outlook on life to being more positive.
  • The power is in placing your Attention and Energy to concentrating on each positive phrase, and you can create your own.

The Meditation Process:

  1. take a few deep, soft breaths and begin to shift your focus from the external world to your internal world.
  2. close your eyes, or leave slightly open until you relax fully.
  3. begin by thinking of someone you care about already-- a person who has been good to you or inspires you. Say the person's name silently. Get a feeling of that person's presence and offer phrases of compassion. Suggested phrases are: "may you be free of pain and sorrow. May you be well and hopeful. Add to these phrases with ones that have personal significance for you.
  4. Once this feels complete, shift your attention inward and offer the phrases of compassion to yourself such as: may I be free of pain and sorrow. May I be well and hopeful.
  5. Once this feels complete, move on to someone you find difficult. Get a feeling for the person's presence, and state your phrases of compassion to this person.
  6. Once this feels complete, think of someone you've barely met, you may not even know their name. get a feeling for the person's presence, and state your phrases of compassion to this almost stranger.
  7. Close your meditation by offering compassion to people everywhere, to all forms of life-humans, animals, insects, birds….State your compassion "may all beings be free of pain and sorrow. May all be well and hope-filled. Send love to them all and to the planet..

Energizing Qi Gong Meditation "Flying like an Eagle"

Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice designed to enhance the flow of qi, or energy,. Movements in this exercise are synchronized with your breathing. This short exercise is designed to reenergize and reground you.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at sides, and fingers slightly apart and curved.
Breath in and rise up on toes
Bring arms up and out until hands are at ear height.
Breath out, and slowly lower heels and bring arms down to things
Do in one fluid motion for 10 reps