Holding Hope Services

Julie Fanning LCSW



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I just want to wish everyone joy and prosperity for the new year!  My wish for you is that you do that one thing you have been wanting to do.  Take that chance, live that dream, believe in yourself.  I want you to remember that you are worthy of love happiness.

I also want to share the link for my MSWonline blog post  – Social Work and Spirituality!

MSW online blog – Social Work Practice and Spirituality


Enjoy each moment!

Life is meant to be lived not endured…

Hi everyone,Taking My Own Advice

I am a contributor to a blog that is for those entering or in the social work field.  My first post is titled life is meant to be lived – not endured.  I think the tips for living life can be helpful for anyone.  Click on over and check it out!  Thanks.

Oh — And Happy Social Worker month to all of the social workers out there!

Have Faith in Something…

One of the men I supervise often puts quotes on his instant messaging for the world to see.  Today’s quote caught my attention.   “Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”  Helen Keller.  It struck me as beautiful.  I don’t know what she was referring to us having faith in but I would argue it doesn’t matter.

May she is talking about faith in God – that no matter what burdens fall upon you, you’ll be seen through your journey, have purpose and make it through.  Maybe it is faith in human nature.  Faith that in the end there is a part of our souls that shine with compassion and love and will make strides toward peace and happiness.  Maybe it is faith in friends or family.  Maybe it is faith that the sun will rise or tomorrow will come.   Maybe it is faith in yourself that you are up to the challenges that arise and can overcome and live fully.

I don’t know specifically what faith is being talked about but I know that faith is essential.  (I know someone who is all about hope also believes faith is important!  Who would have guessed!  🙂 )  I’m not sure  but it seems to me that if we only believe in things we can see or touch or that have been ‘fact-checked” that we will not fully realize our potential.  How do we take those jumps of intuition, creativity or genius if we don’t sometimes just take a leap of faith.   How do we get through the darkest days if we don’t have faith that somehow we will be all right.   Having faith in something intangible allows us to achieve greatness.   I am not sure a person can live a full life without faith in something even if it is just that they will get through the day.

As the hustle and bustle of holidays and our everyday life surrounds you, stop.   Take a few minutes and think about what you hold dear.  Don’t worry if other people scoff at where you choose to put your faith.  It is your soul that chooses what is right for you.   In what do you have faith?


Happy New Year

I didn’t write much for this blog the past few months.  I can’t really give you a reason why because I had ideas.  A couple blogs on kindness, one on listening, one on taking chances and one on not wishing time away.  I even had stories to go with each idea but never got around to putting the words down.  Well – I guess there is time to get those down this year.

For now I want to wish you a happy new year.  I think this is one of my favorite holidays because I like the idea of starting anew.  I wish for you to remember that you can’t change the past but you can always start anew –  on any day – not only  January 1st.  My hope is that if you would like to do something differently – live differently- that you have the perseverance, the hope and belief to sustain you.

For this New Year – I wish you to recognize and live in your moments of joy.  I wish for you to connect with others by allowing vulnerability.  I wish for you to keep going despite your fears or tiredness.  I wish for you to forgive yourself for that which you cannot change.  I wish for you to embrace your path and life to the fullest. –  I think I wish that for me too.

Happy New Year!



Transitions and Change

It is has been a long time since I posted.  Some of it is just lack of interest or muses as they say.  (I know – not good when I’m trying to connect with others.)  Some of it is lack of time.  I recently started an additional job.  I’m working full time and getting to use my Social Worker skills.  It is pretty awesome.  I’m lucky because I enjoy the people I’ve met that will be my coworkers and virtually everyone seems pretty passionate about helping our clients.

However, change is often difficult.  Even when change is positive, transitions have growing pains.  I’m struggling with decreasing my available hours in my practice.  I love my practice and enjoy my clients so I want to do what is best for them.  I’m worried about not giving everyone 100% because I’m focusing on something else.  I’m worried about feeling too busy and getting overwhelmed.  I was kind of freaking myself out.  True story.

I will drive myself crazy and be ineffective everywhere if I didn’t think of something to decrease my freaking out.  What did I do?  I changed my attitude.  I know – sounds simple.  It really can be but often we let myself get in the way.  I decided to change the way I was thinking about the situation.  I decided not to worry about being super busy.  I decide to work on living in the moment and not anticipating being tired or busy.  Just be shifting my thinking a bit I suddenly felt much more positive about my ability to handle my new job and my practice.

Are there any situations in your life that maybe a small shift of thinking would be helpful?

Use Your Imagination


My client said “Never” and laughed and laughed and laughed when I asked her “Have you ever pretended you were a spy?” I have.   I wasn’t trying  to get my client to play ‘spy’ with me (although play is important too.)  I was making a point about imagination.  I encourage cultivating imagination in children because children who have an imagination are often more resilient.  Being able to picture a different outcome or a different life can be hopeful.  If a person is bullied or sad but can picture a scenario where that is not the case – this is hopeful.  It bodes well if a child can picture situations where they are cared about and valued.  Kids can even practice social skills and building relationships using imagination.  (What?  Julie you come up  the craziest things you think.)  Think about it as practice like role playing or imagining a situation in your head like adults do all the time.

Unfortunately, I think this is a skill people can lose as they become adults.  People would think I’m stranger than I am if I spoke to an imaginary friend all the time.  However,  the ability to imagine what ifs and the ability to imagine being loved or being happy or achieving your dreams – can be so very beneficial.

My advice to you is to practice using your imagination.  It will be so worth it.

You are the Flowers on the Path

In my meanderings around the web I came across this story and fell in love with it.  (Directly taken from Here  Also, I only skimmed over the transcript so I have no real idea what point the author was trying to convey.)

 “Back in the days when pots and pans could talk, which indeed they still do, there lived a man. And in order to have water, every day he had to walk down the hill and fill two pots and walk them home. One day, it was discovered one of the pots had a crack, and as time went on, the crack widened. Finally, the pot turned to the man and said, “You know, every day you take me to the river, and by the time you get home, half of the water’s leaked out. Please replace me with a better pot.” And the man said, “You don’t understand. As you spill, you water the wild flowers by the side of the path.” And sure enough, on the side of the path where the cracked pot was carried, beautiful flowers grew, while other side was barren. “I think I’ll keep you,” said the man.”

There are so many meanings that can be found in this vignette.  I think about how easy it is to discard that which isn’t shiny and new anymore or even that which doesn’t live up to expectations.  Conversely, how often do we not realize our own value?

When you feel like you are at the end of your rope, step back.  Maybe your relationship isn’t easy and all consuming as when you began it but perhaps you’ve gained something more like security or spontaneity or wisdom.  You can be sad about your relationship not working out the way you thought but that doesn’t mean it is all lost.  Instead of living a disposable life, take time to see if there are aspects of a situation or item that you hadn’t considered previously.  Maybe there is beauty, or benefit or flowers that you didn’t notice before.

As for your worth – you are much more complicated and awesome than you have taken to heart.  It is easy to get caught up in past shame or current problems or perceived shortcomings.  It is easy to fall into believing that life has let you down.  Take time to remember that you uniquely bring something to all your relationships from casual acquaintances to intimate partners.  Look for the flowers by the path that you bring.

When you read this story – what did you think about?

Gratitude and Worth

When Gratefulness Gets In The Way

Most of us generally try to be grateful for what we have in our life and our loved ones.  Recognizing the joy and strengths in our lives tends to bring us more happiness and contentment.  It enables a person to keep hope even in tough situations.  I believe appreciating and recognizing our haves is good and necessary.

Sometimes, though, the constant message to be thankful can get in the way of acceptance, healing and change.  It is almost as if I may feel wrong to be frustrated or angry or sad because I could have it worse.  I am grateful to have family and friends but that doesn’t preclude being frustrated or hurt by a friend or family member.  Being grateful for a person doesn’t mean that you should stay in a rough relationship or that a current relationship doesn’t have to change.

I am grateful to have a job.  I hear time and time again from people how miserable they are but that they know they should be grateful to be working because of the economy.  Being thankful to have a job doesn’t discount the possibility that the job isn’t right for you or that you are causing yourself more harm than good by working there.  Does being thankful allow you to stay in a work situation that doesn’t fit, where there is bullying, disrespect or even ethical concerns.

I am all for being thankful.  Finding the positives will inevitability allow a person to tap into more happiness than focusing on the negatives.  However, some days are rough and acknowledging that doesn’t make you selfish.  Don’t let gratefulness get in the way of moving forward or making a change.  Know that on some days life might suck and that is OK.  It is OK for you to be angry or sad and still be grateful.  Gratefulness does not mean you won’t have any uncomfortable or rough feelings.  Gratefulness does not equal complacency.   Recognize the good but don’t use it as an excuse of why your life and situations can’t improve.  Instead let frustration, sadness and desire for change live aside being grateful.

Now to one of my new favorite quotes…


Quote on Sadness

A Therapist’s Promise

I found this on a Facebook page and I absolutely loved it.  I searched the internet trying to find the source but had no luck but it is attributed to a D. Welsh.

I liked this because ideally this is what I’d like the therapeutic relationship to be.  This is what I strive for.  I don’t always succeed but it is the standard I’d like to which I’d like to hold myself.  This is the kind of therapist I’m trying to be.  This is what I’d like our therapeutic journey to be.

A Therapist’s Promise

“I will do my best to understand who you are.  I will do my best do be who  I am.  I will not judge you or try to control your life. I will not tell you what to do.  I cannot make you grow or do your growing for you.  I will help you become more aware, more loving, more able to fashion a richer, fuller life for which you accept responsibility.  I cannot protect you from the pain and suffering of life.  Pain will be part of the experience we share.  I will help you to face it, accept it and use it to grow.  I will be present.  I will not hide from you, even when I am afraid.

I will be with you as long as I see, in the smallest way, that you are trying to grow.  I will not journey with you to help you become ‘normal, adjusted, self-satisfied’ person.  Nor will I help you whine and wallow in the misery of your life.  I will help you take charge of your life and reinvent it.

I invite you to tell your story as honestly and truly as you are capable of telling it.  I may tell you part of my story when it is appropriate and helpful to do so.   I will say hello to you as honestly as I know how, but my commitment is to encounter you in such a way that you will decide to say good-bye.

I will help you die.  I will help you let go of outgrown and worn-out ways of being so you can be renewed.  It may be painful and terrifying to let go of the old you.  I will not run away from the experience.

I believe there is something in this world, here, now in each of us, restlessness, a trembling of something that will not lie in stillness, which seeks renewal, which seeks to bring us together in responsible love, which invites us to grow and become.  We can deny this human spirit. We can deny its expression and be miserable. Or.  We can encounter one another in such a way that we will honor it by freeing each other to grow and be.”   D. Welsh

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: