Sunday, May 02, 2010

How to Enhance Hope

A central concept in our Risking Connection® teaching is that healing relationships are characterized by Respect, Information, Connection and Hope. In fact, the concept is so integral to Risking Connection that the acronym RICH has been trademarked by Sidran. I would like to look at the concept hope.
I began thinking about this today as I wrote a book review of Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dermoot Lipski with Connie Burk. This review will be in our May newsletter- be sure you are on our mailing list to get it (

Van Dermoot Lipsky describes organizations as to whether they have a hopeful, energetic feel or a defeated, listless feel. I began thinking how essential hope is to all our endeavors. Do we make enough deliberate efforts to strengthen hope in our organizations, our staff, ourselves and our clients? How can we do this? Here are a few ideas- please add yours in comments.

1. Hold regular celebrations
2. Communicate successes
3. Share stories of clients who return to visit and are doing well
4. Reward all sorts of staff efforts
5. Share any honors, recognitions or praise widely
6. Regularly and publicly reflect on where we have been and where we are now and where we are going
7. Articulate a vision of what kind of organization we want to be. Specify values and refer to them often.
8. Organize many child activities such as plays, field days, art shows, science fairs. As many staff as possible attend and applaud.
9. When something goes wrong, pull together and identify the parts that were done well. Praise the staff for those. Be specific about what we have learned from the event.
10. Articulate our pride in our agency and specifically what we are proud of.
11. Have fun, make jokes, do silly things
12. Celebrate staff milestones (new babies, weddings, etc.)

1. Praise, praise, praise- little and big things
2. Comment on any instance of staff doing their work well.
3. Assist staff in meeting their personal goals through providing training and education reimbursement
4. Provide supervision
5. Share client success stories
6. Promote from within when possible
7. Deliberately groom people for their next job
8. Remark on extra effort
9. Make room for creativity and individual interests, like the child care worker that hooks the kids up with a horseback riding stables through their personal interests
10. Do something different
11. Encourage staff to say yes- and say yes to them
12. Be flexible whenever possible
13. Maintain a clean and beautiful environment, fix damage quickly
14. Create fun events together such as pot luck lunches or volleyball teams
15. See above organizational ideas

1. Reframe experiences to focus on what you have learned.
2. Maintain balance with work and non-work connections
3. Take breaks and vacations
4. Decorate your space when possible
5. Notice changes in clients even when small
6. Notice changes in yourself such as increasing skill, and point them out in others
7. Notice ways the work has grown you as a person
8. Set goals for areas you would like to learn more about or new things you would like to do
9. Connect with others in the profession
10. Talk about your experiences11. Use supervision and therapy.
12. Laugh.

1. Point out small changes
2. Set small goals with them, notice when they are met
3. Express delight
4. Celebrate their achievements, attend their plays, admire their art
5. Arrange for them to take extra classes in an area of skill
6. Fantasize the future when they are a famous football player and are returning to your place to speak with the kids who are there then- what will they say?
7. Show that they matter by speaking from your heart.
8. Allow them to take some risks and try something new.
9. Offer new responsibilities
10. Arrange ways they can help others
11. Encourage the older to teach the younger
12. Put them in charge of things
13. Have a Youth Council that has real power
14. Tell stories of other successful kids
15. Have fun together.

What do you think? How can we be more active in cultivating hope, which is the core of everything we do? Click on “comment” and add your ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As the clinician at a group home, it is a daily struggle to maintain hope. Sometimes it seems we have to slow ourselves down and ask ourselves, where is the hope in this child or in this situation? What good can we take from this? Instead, we often are quick to point to faults and shortcomings.

Also, I think we have to make room for nonsense in our everyday lives. We tend to fall into habits of being far too rigid, focusing on routines and completing tasks rather than just being, goofing around, laughing at ourselves, and really remembering to keep joy alive in our lives as a means to cultivate it in others. Thanks and I love reading your blog!