Hope is closely related to other positive psychology constructs, such as self-efficacy & optimism, that have also been shown to have clear relevance to promoting resilience to & recovery from emotional disorders
Within the positive realms of psychotherapy: “hope represents the capacity of patients to identify strategies or pathways to achieve goals, and the motivation to effectively pursue those pathways”. This succinct statement holds very true, and if sufferers can get the care they need, and have a psychologist who they feel they have some form of rapport and trust with, they could be motivated to see light at the end of the tunnel, which can make remarkable transformations possible.
A Beacon of Light
Matthew Gallagher, an associate professor of clinical psychology, at the University of Houston, has stepped up, and taken a stand on an age-old debate, the importance of hope. Indeed, back in the 16th century: “Martin Luther celebrated its power, claiming “Everything that is done in this world is done by hope. [Yet], two centuries later, Benjamin Franklin warned that “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” [But taking his informed stand], Gallagher reports that psychotherapy can result in clear increases in hope and that changes in hope are associated with changes in anxiety symptoms”.
So What Does the Research Say?
Writing in the journal, Behavior Therapy, Gallagher states that: “hope is a trait that predicts resilience and recovery from anxiety disorders”, and he has empirical evidence to prove it. – The clinical trial in which he is the first author, involves 223 adults, and puts a spotlight on how strong participants’ feeling of hope is, when it comes to anticipating recovery. The subjects received CBD (cognitive behavior therapy), for one of four well known anxiety disorders: obsessive-compulsive disorder; generalized anxiety disorder; panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Gallagher, who noted that average-to-large rises in the participants’ feelings of hope, were uniform across the five detached cognitive behavioral treatment programs, remarked: “In reviewing recovery during CBT among the diverse clinical presentations, hope was a common element and a strong predictor of recovery”.
Of note, the conclusion drawn by the study authors, shows that at some point during the cognitive behavioral therapy protocol: “hope gradually increases during the course of CBT, and increases in hope were greater for those in active treatment than for those in the waitlist comparison”. – This is promising news indeed, and a wonderful accomplishment which was brought about by holistic therapy, as opposed to pharmaceuticals, with all their unwelcome side effects, and open ended use.
This very welcome study forms part of a bigger undertaking which examines CBD’s efficacy for the treatment of anxiety disorders. It is chaired by the founder and director emeritus of the Boston University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, David H. Barlow.