Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The unspeakable Speakmans

Someone in the clinic where I worked asked me if I'd seen this TV show 'The Speakman's' yet.. I hadn't even heard of it (I don't watch live TV- takes up too much time) but am always interested in catching something that's been recommended. I was told 'they do amazing things like cure phobias' - really fast!' I was intrigued.

I watched the show on itvplayer - with my mouth open most of the time. The programme is very much in the shlock reality TV mould with frequent add breaks and reminders after of what you've just viewed (in case you've forgotten!). My first reaction, I'll admit was one of horror. These people look like your worst idea of celebrity chasers. He (the husband of the man and woman duo) looks like a middle aged man trying to look young - hideous haircut, and his wife is the blond bimbette type. They have a 'fabulous' house in Rochdale, several ridiculously expensive cars, surrounded by the obvious trappings of wealth, but with no taste. Never mind. I got that bit out the way and then I tried to concentrate on their methods...

Hard to decipher as in fact, the TV format doesn't really go into detail - they have a conversation, they isolate the causative event in the persons life and then they do basic NLP manoeuvres on those memories. They also aren't afraid to humiliate the client if that is what it takes. They call it 'schema reconditioning'. So, they use eye movements, sometimes body movements, freeze framing and running the story backwards, etc to break the link between the memory and the disabling beliefs that surround it.. Fascinating. Now, it's difficult to know exactly how much of what you see is edited out from what actually happened but, on the surface at least, it gets results.

And, in time I must admit I began to think well they're onto something here. So, then I began to think about how I run the 'fast phobia cure' which is an established hypnotherapy technique - it's not dissimilar. What, works for them I think is the expectation ('therapists to the stars!' is how they're billed). As we know, in treatment setting up a positive expectation is 3/4 of treatment. But as for the rest, I don't quite  know how to explain their success. He, certainly seems to know his stuff, she is probably the bubbly, bright eye candy component but you can't fail after a while to start to like them in all their exuberant awfulness. They LOVE their life as they keep telling you and want to spread their joy around. As Nik Speakman says - you're only born with 2 phobias naturally - fear of confined spaces and fear of loud noises (he's not quite right there there's a couple more) - everything else is learned behaviour and can therefore be unlearned.

So, that, my friends and followers concurs with my attitude to life. We deserve more than to be stuck. We deserve to live life in joy and health. I can't quite agree with his saying 'what do you want qualifications or results?' - because  ideally you'd have both. You'd want your therapist to be accredited, to really know their stuff, and to be effective. That's my aim anyhow. Go Speakmans!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The downward spiral

I went to visit an elderly friend in hospital this week and was aghast to see how several weeks in hospital has rendered her. This once independent, feisty woman is reduced to as shadow of herself - literally and metaphorically. the most noticeable difference is the amount of weight she has lost. Now down to less than 5 stone. The cause of this? she broke her hip 3 months ago in a fall at home. She was admitted to hospital and has had numerous operations to try to mend it but she is now so weak she cannot stand. now hospital is obviously the place to be when you have a broken bone, and particularly when you are 95 and live alone. But I really take issue with the type of care she has received. The nursing staff for the most part are lovely, but the problem seems to be with they system.

This elderly lady has been moved 11 times in her 3 months stay - both to another hospital and to different wards within the same hospital. She has also been given food she cannot eat, over cooked meat ('which all tastes the same') and ends up bringing it all back up again so she has simply stopped eating it. Nutrition is so key with someone like this. The elderly have very weak digestion and need lots of fluid and dilute protein - so vegetable/ meat broths would be ideal. Her friends have noticed and try to bring things in for her. But all she gets is cake which she doesn't want and won't help her body heal.

I know, she's 95, what can you expect. But if only as much attention and money were paid to the diet of the ill and convalescing as is spent on expensive surgery then people might get better a lot quicker and we'd have less of a crisis in our health system.