What is Therapy at AgeSong: A Talk with Nader Shabahangi
To start the discussion about “What is therapy?” Nader asks the group, “what is different between a task and an engagement?” A way to describe the difference is a task is something to be completed and an engagement is more of an interaction. In this context of engagement it is not the importance of the task but more the process of doing the task and how engaged we are.
What does Therapy at AgeSong Look Like?
One of the interns suggests that she felt that therapy worked for her when she was “feeling heard.” In the AgeSong communities being heard can have a literal and/or metaphorical interpretation. In the communities we have elders who do not speak, do not hear well or do not seem aware in the same way we would understand the term. The therapeutic moment in these situations can be more than a conversation it is an engagement. “Being heard” is more about acceptance for who you are and acceptance is an important foundational tenet at AgeSong.
The Importance of Attitude in the Types of Therapy Engaged In at AgeSong
Your attitude toward whatever you do or not do is what makes something therapeutic.Your attitude in that moment is what makes that moment therapeutic, if you are really “there” and engaged. It is the way that you are in that moment with that person that makes something therapeutic or not. Even when you sit with a resident and it looks like a standard therapy, the way you are “present” with that person, with the elder and with yourself makes that moment therapeutic. That is the foundational demand: be present with yourself and the elder. Be here.
In this context it is the engagement that comes about through being present during an encounter that makes that encounter therapeutic.
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