Hope is the most reliable sustainer of life. It offers the promise of something good in the future, contributes to resilience, and keeps one going. However, there are circumstances when hope dries up. This book seeks to map out such dark terrain of hopelessness. While it allows for the fact that a modicum of hopelessness might help in reducing infantile omnipotence and curtailing fixation on unrealistic goals, its focus is upon severe and clinically significant shades of hopelessness. The book opens with a broad overview of the nature, developmental origins, and technical implications of hope and hopelessness, and closes with a thoughtful summary, synthesis, and critique of the intervening essays; this summary forges both theoretically and technically significant links between the experiences of helplessness and hopelessness. Sandwiched between these opening and closing commentaries are nine essays which address the ontogenetic trajectory, phenomenological variations, cultural and literary portrayals, and clinical ramifications of sustained hopelessness.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS INTRODUCTION PROLOGUECHAPTER ONE Hope and hopelessness: an introductory overview - Salman AkhtarPART I: DEVELOPMENTAL REALM CHAPTER TWO The encounter with hopelessness in childhood - Ann Smolen CHAPTER THREE Adolescent hope and hopelessness - Rose A. Vasta CHAPTER FOUR Hopelessness and midlife - Jon P. EllmanPART II: CULTURAL REALM CHAPTER FIVE Literary depictions of hopelessness: a short story, a novel, and a poem - Eve Holwell CHAPTER SIX The illusion of a future: hopelessness in contemporary cinema - Sylvia ChongPART III: CLINICAL REALM CHAPTER SEVEN From hopelessness to despair - Jeanne Bailey CHAPTER EIGHT On the edge of hopelessness and despair: an uncertain landscape - Judi B. Kobrick CHAPTER NINE Hope and hopelessness in the couple relationship - Sarah Fels Usher CHAPTER TEN Hopelessness in the countertransference - Dhwani ShahEPILOGUECHAPTER ELEVEN The hopelessness and helplessness dyad: a concluding commentary - Mary Kay O'NeilREFERENCES INDEX