With great joy today, I want to introduce you to another international guest blogger. Trevor Mumby received psychoanalysis training at the Edinburgh Davidson Clinic, United Kingdom. He is a Senior Associate Member of The Royal Society of Medicine, Associate Member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and also a Member of the British Association of Social Workers.
The Illawarra Mercury, credited Trevor with putting “the behaviour of dementia carers in the spotlight, identifying everyday behaviour that could be harmful to sufferers.” As a mental health social worker, his heart-vested work for families experiencing dementia has been recognized by a variety of journals, newspapers, and magazines, including The Daily Express, Care Industry News, and numerous others.
Trevor is currently co-director of “Mumby’s Homecare Support, providing care services to the elderly. Together, Trevor and his wife provide a coaching program for their selected staff of 90 individuals, where “distinguished relations” is learned and practiced – – in other words, they stop throwing hand grenades!
In his powerful book, Conducting Well-Being With Dementia in the Family, Trevor brings together over 30 years of experience and study to provide twelve harmless characteristics in our everyday social behavior which — to someone experiencing dementia-induced confusion — can have an explosive effect. The title has been hailed as “essential reading for understanding that the medical approach is not the only solution.” His “Family First” project is “dedicated to helping families try to understand the confusing nature of dementia and offer hope to those who are supporting a loved-one with it.”
Now, here’s a poignant story from Trevor about “moving life beyond what has been before.”
The movie “Ground Hog Day’ portrays a man being sustained in what he thinks is the SAME reality permanently. Every day is identical. He meets the same people and has the same greetings.
Until one day the studio bosses who are holding him in this dream find that he has escaped and seen a totally different world. I have traveled the world since I was 21 years old and for the past 53 years, worked in the human relations world.
It came as profound shock to me when after all this travel and interpersonal dialogue in so many countries, that there was something missing. People didn’t seem to be recognising the harm, which was being caused by their using everyday, normal mannerisms.
Here are the twelve ‘hand grenades’ we nonchalantly ‘lob’ at each other, in ANY language, ANYWHERE.
We OPINIONATE, which has always led to conflict.
We INTERRUPT which has always led to frustration
We PROVOKE which always led to anger
We CONTRADICT which always led to arguments
We EXPECT GRATITUDE, which always led to ingratitude
We TALK LOUDLY which always led to shunning
We UNDERMINE which always led to people feeling inferior
We are PESSIMISTIC which always led to depressive responses
We IGNORE others, which always led to feelings of neglect.
We CONTROL others, which always led to being oppressed
We QUESTION too much which always led to feelings of interrogation
We IRRITATE unwarily which always led to rejection.
How do we move on?
We have a coaching system, which enable carers and relatives to complete a self-analysis around their use of the hand grenades.
The abandonment of only ONE of the high scoring grenades transforms.
E.g. Family conflict. A husband and son were in constantly conflict about their relationship with mum/wife, whose behaviour was seriously affected by dementia.
Husband would constantly undermine her “you already said that darling”. “
Control her, “No! do not make a cup tea you will scold yourself’!” After asking where the dog was, he would shout at her ‘You know she died last year!”
The son would accuse his father of being cruel to her and there were constant arguments.
There was a permanent war zone with hand grenades flying everywhere!
This was a highly intelligent family with a long history of Oxford University status.
They soon took on the challenge of scoring their hand grenade lobbing frequency and began to ENJOY not throwing them!
Mum’s anxiety levels dropped and her confidence improved.
The family war zone became a thing of the past.
As is tradition here at Hope Matters, we asked Trevor to contribute a bit of whimsy. We’ll close with his take on creating a whimsical side of life. 😉
Salvadore Dali’s home and gardens are full of whimsy!
A truly exquisite experience to witness the master of the surreal.
The family would say I am definitely whimsical.
Our land has a number of features and was once occupied by the Romans.
Their temple to Arnemetia the Goddess of water, which no one knew about before the OxfordUniversity archeaolgists started digging, lays just below the ground. Before then, I had installed five water features, one with a Roman Ceasars head, sensing water and something present in our glade, which happened to have been the location of the temple garden!
The whimsical part is that my kids laughed at me as I built them and with the fifth one, the family came into the garden and, in unison said ” Not ANOTHER one DAd!!
When the Oxford Professor told us about our Goddess on the land, we all fell over…