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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Space in Mind

Psychotherapy with people with dementia

With Andrew Balfour, Claire Craig, Sandra Evans, Penny Garner, John Killick, Danuta Lipinska, Anastasia Patrikiou, Anne Power, Pam Schweitzer and Kate White

Monday evenings 18 January – 21 March 2016

Monday 18 January 2016
Penny Garner
Normal memory, memory loss and creative use of metaphor
The SPECAL (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer) theory proposes that the primary problem for people with dementia is their random, intermittent and frequent failure to store new factual information, whilst continuing to record feelings in the normal way. Based on our understanding of how normal memory works, what happens to us as we age normally and dramatic change to mental functioning introduced by dementia, we will discuss a method of communication that enables the dementia client to express themselves and to be heard. This includes a conceptualisation of the memory as a photograph album, and ‘golden rules’ for interaction that are client led.

Monday 25 January 2016
John Killick
Helping the psyche to find new and otherwise neglected channels of expression
In examining the various psychotherapeutic approaches to people with dementia it is becoming clear that the creative offers significant opportunities. It may be that the cognitive challenges which the condition presents encourage the psyche to find new, and otherwise neglected, channels of expression. Or it is possible that the degree of disinhibition which may occur allows the person to access potentialities previously hidden. Whatever the cause(s) the arts provide a major network for communication. John Killick looks at some of these outlets, with particular emphasis on the verbal. He will illustrate his thesis with texts, videos and sound recordings.

Monday 1 February 2016
Pam Schweitzer and Kate White
Attachment and the role of reminiscence groups in the care of people living with dementia and their families
This presentation will explore the particular needs and vulnerabilities of those who are living with dementia and how they can be empowered, together with their family carers, by participation in reminiscence groups. Using Pam Schweitzer’s 18 years of experience leading the European Reminiscence Network, the specifics of how these are facilitated will be illustrated with video and participants’ personal stories. As both professional caregivers and family members we will be looking at the way memory loss raises fears of disappearing connections in us all. We will think about the ways we can learn, as a community, about how revisiting and sharing the different stages in our life stories can lead to deepening intimacy, the renewal of emotional bonds and the creation of new meanings.

Monday 8 February 2016
Danuta Lipinska
Clients living with dementia: making sense of self
This session will address the issues of counselling men and women with varying degrees of cognitive change associated with dementia. It will explore the similarities and differences in working with the clients with and without dementia. The therapist’s own experience will be highlighted as both therapist and client endeavour to make sense of self. Attention will be given to the theories of working at relational depth, “configurations of self” (Mearns and Thorne, 2000) and the role they play in establishing the therapeutic relationship.

Monday 15 February 2016
Anastasia Patrikiou
A Disappearing Mind: a therapist’s diary. Impact and clinical implications in therapeutic work with clients with dementia
This presentation will be based on the clinical diary of a therapist working with a client with deteriorating dementia. Anastasia Patrikiou will be describing the impact of the work on the therapist using psychoanalytic, attachment-based and person-centred thinking in order to understand the material and the resulting effects on the therapist, the patient, their relationship and ultimately the nature and purpose of the work. Using this experience and analysis she will offer a space to think about best clinical practice in these circumstances.

Monday 29 February 2016
Dr Sandra Evans
Diagnosis of memory problems: dementia, mood or other factors?
From the perspective of offering a memory service in East London, Dr Sandra Evans will examine the potential confounders in reaching a diagnosis of dementia. We will explore both the awareness and not knowing of memory problems, and the impact of receiving a diagnosis. There are often benefits achievable from being kept informed. These range from receiving support and the offer of a chance to plan ahead, to considering a psychotherapeutic intervention.

Monday 7 March 2016
Anne Power
When the therapist has dementia
Our natural fear of losing our mind means that we tend to use humour if we allow ourselves to think about our own dementia. This can make it hard for self-employed therapists to fully consider the ethical dilemmas around their own aging. We are shocked by anecdotes of therapists who worked on after their mind was failing, but who would tell us if they were worried about our mental state? As a colleague or a supervisor, how would you raise such a deeply threatening concern? Anne Power will consider these questions and challenges, drawing on her research into the therapist’s retirement.

Monday 14 March 2016
Dr Claire Craig
Further than the eye can see? What insights can film and photography offer of the lived experience of dementia?
John Berger (1992) said that the ‘thrill found in a photograph comes from the onrush of memory’. This can be very true and for this reason photographs have been used extensively with people with dementia as prompts for reminiscence, supporting communication by enabling the person to access past memories. In this seminar Dr Claire Craig explores the broader potential of film and photography to offer a glimpse of the experience of living with dementia. She shares some of the insights that have emerged when people have been supported to take their own photographs, demonstrating the potential of this medium as a tool for exploration, experimentation and the development of new understanding of the world as seen through the eyes of a person living with the condition.

Monday 21 March 2016
Andrew Balfour
When one partner has dementia: a couple psychotherapy approach
This presentation will describe an approach to working with couples where one partner has a dementia, which is currently under development at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. This draws upon video-based methods that have been used with parents and children as well as on techniques and approaches from couple psychotherapy, to try to assist emotional contact, communication and understanding in couples living with dementia. This approach includes the person with dementia and their partner, focussing upon the relationship between them and using shared involvement in everyday activities as a basis for enhancing emotional contact.


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All 9 seminars:
Early bird: £220 (Sold out)
Self-funded: £280 (Available)
Organisationally funded: £340 (Available)
Single evenings: £40 (Available)
CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 16 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

19:00 Registration
19:30 Start
21:15 End

Monday 18 January 2016
Monday 25 January 2016
Monday 1 February 2016
Monday 8 February 2016
Monday 15 February 2016
Monday 29 February 2016
Monday 7 March 2016
Monday 14 March 2016
Monday 21 March 2016