Hope & Recovery

The Intersection between Hope and Recovery

My ten years of formal academic psychological training did not adequately prepare me to deal with the despair, devastation, hopelessness, disgust, terror and rage I was to encounter in my work. I discovered that I had to learn to listen, accept, contain and authentically validate the reality of hurting people and then genuinely negotiate the timing and nature of any interventions and other present and future directions.

Most of the people I have seen are incredibly perceptive to incongruence. This perceptiveness has frequently been a matter of survival! I have always tried to live what I teach. Through this truth, I demonstrated compassion, unconditional deep regard for the essence of each of us, clear and healthy boundaries, courage, determination, and discriminating use of energy, patience, humour, faith, joy and hope. 

The experienced safety of a chosen and discerned professional relationship can offer people a base to create, experiment with and implement new visions for themselves. The creation of new meanings concerning the self, the understandings of the past, the present and new options for the future challenge many accepted notions. Our biology, psychology or cultural, economic or social backgrounds do not necessarily determine who we are, who we will remain or become.

Simultaneously, deep, tender and realistic acknowledgment of profound, shocking and often repeated experiences of being victimised, getting lost and giving up are critical to integrated healing and ongoing development.

The truth is that with our presence, determination and courage, our brains can build new neural pathways and networks. I have had the privilege to witness and validate this remarkable capacity every day for decades. With safety, compassion and wisdom, each of us can slowly and surely profoundly change how we respond in our bodies and to our feelings, thoughts and behaviours, and in our ways of relating to self, circumstances and environment. You, too, can enjoy the scary and exhilarating freedom of real choices in the present and your future.

Let me paint you a picture. If you were to find and work with a caring, skilled and knowledgeable treatment practitioner, it would eventually be like you are your car's driver - even if it is pretty battered. At your invitation, this practitioner will become one of your professional navigators. In the first instance, you may allow this person to sit in the front passenger seat. Eventually, you will increasingly listen to and respond to your navigational knowledge and wisdom. As you progress on this road, the practitioner will shift to your car's back seat. As you eventually approach your negotiated goals for your present and future, you will gently drop the practitioner off on the footpath. This person will become one of many resources you can draw upon when and if you need such expertise in the future.

 © J Higgins 2021 e: jeannie@higginspsych.com.au