“False” hope is condemned in the literature on the grounds that it reflects the counterproductive use of: (a) expectations based on illusions rather than reality, (b) inappropriate goals, and (c) poor strategies to reach desired goals. Snyder, Harris, et al.'s (1991) hope theory involving self-referential thoughts about finding routes to desired goals (pathways) and the motivation to use those routes (agency) is used as a framework for examining these three criticisms of false hope. It is concluded that the presently available evidence does not support any of the false-hope criticisms. The implications of hope-related issues for the applied clinical arena are discussed. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 58: 1003–1022, 2002.