Hopelessness is a powerful weapon. If you wish to strip someone off dignity, belief and strength, take away their hope - for something, for anything - and a kind of death occurs.

In counselling and therapy, clients who are depressed or suicidal can present with a sense of hopeless despair that feels enervating within the consulting room - but the fact that they have arrived for the appointment is an indication of hope.

Harumi Murakami's (rather fatalistic) novels mine the depths of despair and desolation, but even in his work, there remain glimmers of hope.

Working with clients, hope is ever necessary - clients may come feeling defeated and in such crisis that no way forward appears available, but it is vital that counsellors hold and maintain a space of hope, and belief that change is possible and forthcoming. This, coupled with the client's own persistence and will to change, can shift them from a darkness into the light.