The meaning of therapists’ hope for their clients: A phenomenological study.

Hope is often identified as a central process in psychotherapy, with researchers supporting links between clients’ hope, symptom distress, and process variables. However, this body of literature is yet to specifically ask what it means for psychotherapists to have hope for their clients. Our purpose, with this descriptive phenomenological study, was to understand the meaning of therapists’ hope for their clients. This information has the potential to better inform how therapists think about their own hope for clients and the ways in which this is transmitted to clients who may enter therapy in a state of hopelessness. To accomplish this, we interviewed psychologists (N = 8) using a semistructured interview protocol. Interviews were transcribed then analyzed in accordance with descriptive phenomenology guidelines. Four themes were identified: (a) a sense of holding and possibility; (b) fundamental, dynamic, and reflective practice; (c) client influence (positive and negative) on hope; and (d) connection through hope. The findings are discussed in light of therapist effects in psychotherapy, the internal world of therapists, and training implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)