Counselor and life coach Gina Campbell’s Hope in a Corner of My Heart is both a valuable self-help book and moving case study of a woman struggling with her daughter’s death, her husband’s worsening illness, and her own medical issues.
Through actual transcripts of 12 therapy sessions, the author depicts the evolution of a patient named “Julia.” Guiding Julia into a “mindful, trance-like state,” Campbell helps her explore her emotional burdens—which Julia, at various times, describes as fog, heavy yoked buckets on her shoulders, or an antique iron weight—along with metaphors that bring relief, like a friendly gardener who, says Julia, is “there to bring flowers to health” and serves as a symbol for the happiness she yearns to have again.
This therapeutic technique, called “Clean Language,” was developed by counselor David Grove. Therapists deliberately resist the urge to interject logical suggestions or nudge a client toward factual memories. “Clean Language questions, with their slightly unusual wording and hypnotic repetition,” notes Campbell, “invite the subconscious to speak up.”
In the introduction, Campbell acknowledges that such language may seem a bit odd. Indeed, the style, which uses an unusual, singsong sentence structure to mirror the patient’s words and the metaphorical images that come to the patient’s mind, appears nonsensical at first, as in: “And what kind of coming up from the ground is that coming up?” Smartly, Campbell gives plenty of clarification, including a “How to Read This Book” section. The author also offers clues about how readers can notice their own healing metaphors by recognizing Julia’s. Each chapter ends with a brief activity.
Julia’s poignant struggle and visually interesting self-discoveries, along with the author’s lyrical tone and masterful storytelling skills, make this a true page turner. Flawlessly executed, Hope in a Corner is a wonderful resource for those feeling mired in the past and counselors alike.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.