Psychologist, professor and author Ronna Jevne on how to cultivate and find hope during the Covid crisis
Hope is a fascinating phenomenon. A day with it guarantees nothing; a day without it is very difficult. It can’t be injected. It can’t be x-rayed and yet we know when our hope is down.
Ronna Jevne has been a psychologist, researcher, university professor and leading authority on hope. She is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and the Hope Foundation of Alberta, a research centre associate with the University of Alberta whose mission is to explore and apply the phenomena of hope. She is the author of several books, including the recently published Finding Hope: Ways of seeing life in a brighter light. Jevne, and her co-author, James Miller, invite new understandings about hope, how to foster hope in our own lives and offer strategies for finding and practicing hope.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I laugh a lot, love deeply, and have a thirst for adventure. I believe life is not a problem; it is an experience to be lived. My pen and my camera are constant companions. I am passionate about photography, and I manage to stay fit while wishing it didn’t require exercise.
I loved every day of my life as a psychologist and professor. I have had the privilege of working in education, health care, corrections, and academia. Over the years, I have seen extraordinary courage in the midst of life’s most serious challenges.
I stepped back from the mainstream of professional life to be with my husband in the last chapter of his life.
I live now on eight acres of heaven, share my life with my husband, Hal Martin. Hal and I are lifelong friends who had amazing partners. In a brief window, we both lost our spouses. We now share our lives.
Life has given me new opportunities on all fronts. In this new chapter of my professional life, writing is central. My role in the Prairie Wind Writing Center, a partnership with my present husband Hal, is to take the lead in designing workshops/retreats, writing books, and promoting therapeutic writing with clients and professionals.
2. Can you summarize what your book is about in a few sentences?
Finding Hope: Ways to see life in a brighter light is a shortcut to hope. After an introduction to the value and qualities of hope authors Jevne & Miller offer time tested strategies to enhancing your hope. Each strategy is a one-page explanation and illustration of a “how to”. Written in a personal style and accented with quotations and photographs, Finding Hope is not only about hope, it is an experience of hope.
3. You are a leading authority on hope through your work as a researcher, university professor and psychologist. What is it about hope that fascinates you?
Hope is a fascinating phenomenon. A day with it guarantees nothing; a day without it is very difficult. It can’t be injected. It can’t be x-rayed and yet we know when our hope is down. It is different than faith, coping, or resilience. People who have hope approach challenges differently than those who feel less hope. They achieve more, handle uncertainty with more confidence and have better health and well-being, Yet, hope was until the last couple of decades was virtually ignored by the scientific community.