Hope in Conductive Education Part 2

Hope in Conductive Education Part 2

Posted: Wed, 03 Aug 2022 12:26

Hope in Conductive Education Part 2

Part 2

I work as a senior Conductor at Steps Conductive Education Centre, an early years setting. Back in 2016 I conducted a research project on the impact of the process of diagnosis of cerebral palsy on parents attending Conductive Education with their children. This research showed hope, closely followed by optimism, was the support most needed by parents of a young child with cerebral palsy (CP). Following on from this, I am doing my PhD (University of Nottingham) on the meaning of hope for parents of children with cerebral palsy, within the context of Conductive Education.

This blog is adapted from a recent conference presentation outlining my initial investigations and will be in 3 parts. The first part focused on the factors affecting parents, this second part explores 'hope', and the third part will be a discussion on hope and Conductive Education.

Hope is a word we hear and use daily. The word is uttered or written so frequently that it is presumed the phenomenon of hope is widely understood, however, hope means different things to different people at different points in time.

Hope is actually very complex and has been approached from various perspectives and different scientific disciplines. Correspondingly, a substantial number of definitions and conceptualizations of hope have been proposed over time resulting in a multifaceted picture of the construct.

Hope can be, positive, negative, divine, secular, interpersonal, individual, ideological, social, inherent, acquired, subjective, objective, a practice, a possession, an emotion, a cognition, true, false, enduring, transitory, measured, defined, inspired, learnt… hope can be for the small things in life (I hope the weather will be sunny tomorrow), or the big things (I hope I will survive this cancer) and the list goes on. It will come as no surprise to hear that there are 26 theories and 54 definitions of hope!

Why is hope so important? The positive facets of hope are well documented:

Hope has a positive impact on psychological well-being, quality of life and physical health Hope can help us manage stress and anxiety and cope with adversity (Eliott, 2005).

Hope is an essential therapeutic factor which is critical in the adjustment to difficult life circumstances (Eliott, 2005). Hope has a motivating power for action, promoting a courageous response to an uncertain future.

Hope represents our desire for positive change (Bormans, 2018). Hope is capable of changing lives (Eliott, 2005) and is fundamental for understanding human flourishing (Callina et al., 2018).

Hope is positive. It builds psychological resilience through its close relationships with optimism, self-efficacy, psychological adjustment, self-worth, and social acceptance.

Hope and happiness are related. Hope will add to happiness as hope is rewarding in itself and will mostly encourage behavior that feeds happiness in the long run.

Likewise, happiness will affect hope as positive experiences in the present will affect our perceptions of the future (Veenhoven, 2018).

Whilst hope is generally seen as being positive, some see a darker side to hope, how hope is not always advantageous.

Hope is not always positive, the pitfalls of hope include: false hope being a tool for self-deception, wishful hopingbeing too passive, over hopingsetting us up for disappointment or defeat, hope hampering usfrom adequately preparing for negative outcomes, hope focussing too much on the future and that hope is vulnerable - it can be replaced by hopelessness (Bormans, 2018).

Others reject hope totally as an expression of a misguided relationship to the world!

You may be aware of Conductive Education's links to historical accusations of creating "false hope" (Sutton, 2007). As a counter-argument to these outdated theories I use the words of Andrew Sutton: "When CE gives back hope to those from whom it has been taken away – it is not hope of a cure – this perceived false hope – but renewed hope that the family may again take control of their child's upbringing, exercising direction and choice rather than simply succumbing to an inevitable, unescapable, biologically determined outcome (Sutton, 2007).


Bormans, L. (2018) The World Book of Hope: The Source of Success, Strength and Happiness. Lannoo N. V., Uitgeverij.

Callina, K., Snow, N. and Murray, E.D. (2018) The History of Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives on Hope, The Oxford Handbook of Hope. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399314.013.2.

Eliott, J. (ed.) (2005) Interdisciplinary perspectives on hope. New York, NY, US: Nova Science Publishers. Available at: https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/46656 (Accessed: 23 November 2020).

Sutton, A. (2007) 'Cerebral palsy: some hope'. Conductive World. (Accessed: 01 January 2020).

Veenhoven, R. (2018). Hope and Happiness. In Bormans, L. (ed) The World Book of Hope: The Source of Success, Strength and Happiness. Pp 204-206. Lannoo N. V., Uitgeverij.

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