The experiences of people with epilepsy in creating relationship
- Presented by: Polina Sediene
- Synopsis: Human existence is more than disease and health. Existential therapy opens up the way to inner self and creates an opportunity to form a concept of oneself, offers a new perspective. During the process of existential therapy people encounter a new relationship-building experience.
The goal of the presentation is to reveal the experiences of people with epilepsy in creating relationship from childhood to adulthood. The presentation is grounded on the theoretical documents, practice in existential therapy, data of consultation material with reflection of professional experience. Several topics are discussed: relationship building experiences with family members, doctors; disease disclosure, depersonalization, experiences of loneliness in the context of the relationships; relationship building experiences in the process of existential therapy.Learning to build intimate relationships begins in childhood. People with epilepsy since childhood are excluded from making decisions about their lives. On one hand, hyper-care, and on the other hand, the underestimation of children's opinion, exclusion from making important decisions about them sends an ambiguous message: "The child is important as a patient, but not as a personality." It prevents the child from growing up, developing as a personality and experiencing a partnership.People with epilepsy are at particular risk to undergo decrements in their romantic and sexual relationships, which can negatively impact their self-management and overall health. People with epilepsy live with uncertainty. A seizure may occur at any moment and leave them with confusion and anxiety. Many adults with epilepsy live with their parents facing depersonalisation and loneliness. Everyone’s situation with epilepsy is different, therefore, during consultations it was important to listen to everyone’s story, to try to understand, to find explanations and to help to reflect their experiences. Continuous, repeated analysis of the effects of epilepsy on the personality helped the clients of existential therapy to express their negative feelings, that arose due to their own helplessness in epilepsy, overestimated control of close people, and difficulty in learning to live a new life with the illness. Active listening, giving enough time to narratives, slow tempo, safe environment provided for them are essential for developing reflection skills. It turned out that it is safer to talk about experiences related to the illness in existential therapy process than at home. A detailed discussion allowed to analyze various attitudes and experiences related to whom and how to tell about the disease, the importance of personal responsibility, a sense of personal boundaries.Human existence is more than disease and health. Existential therapy opens up the way to inner self and creates an opportunity to form a concept of oneself, offers a new perspective. During the process of existential therapy people encounter a new relationship-building experience.Existential therapy for people with epilepsy is based on a slow process, allowing enough time and space for people to open up, therapist’s patience in waiting responses to formulated question and listening, true and sincere interest in people’s destinies/stories, serious, emphatic acceptance of people.