This paper presents research findings about the role of hope in the coping process related to adjustment following catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury. Qualitative findings about the role of hope from the perspective of the person with spinal cord injury will be discussed. This data was collected as part of a ten year longitudinal year study of an Australian sample of 46 people who sustained spinal cord injury. Respondents were interviewed at discharge from hospital 6, 12,24,36, months post discharge and again at ten years post discharge. The interviews consisted of a semi structured qualitative interview focusing on the adjustment process. It was found that 73 % of the participants identified hope as an essential factor that helped them following their injury. Three main foci of hope emerged from the data set: 1.Hope for a full and complete recovery 2.Hope for a cure for spinal cord injury 3.Hope for a future life that was satisfying. For many hope continued to be important in helping them cope with the long-term consequences of their injuries. The respondents identified the importance of hope in their overall adjustment and coping process. Implications for working with people who sustain catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury are discussed.
Therapy occurs through a meeting of selves between client and therapist. In this relational activity, use of self is of paramount importance in the therapeutic endeavour. However when a therapist becomes seriously ill this potentially introduces unexpected drama into the therapeutic relationship. What happens to the therapist’s sense and use of self when faced with a life threatening illness, and is it possible to remain effective?