I went for a walk with a friend at the weekend. We both share a connection with the brain tumour world (he has a lovely son, who had surgery to remove a tumour about 3 years ago plus some radiotherapy). It was when we shared some stories about baking, some of the disasters (😂) as well as the more pleasing results, that it hit me. I suddenly had a way to illustrate a point about the significance of emotions that I’ve been wanting to express for a while now. It also links with the nature of clinical consultations with healthcare practitioners, especially online or ‘virtual’.
This picture is a lovely looking home baked ketofriendly blueberry cake, which I’ve successfully made a few times now. When I shared the picture with friends and family, they kindly gave me some very nice comments.
However, if you or they had been able to taste this particular cake, I believe you would have spat it out!❤️ I had made a mistake and used bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder and to make matters worse, far too much!! It was revolting. 😂😂😂 The emotions that you would have experienced with this cake would have been totally different to that made with the correct ingredients! And I dare say you may now look at this picture in a different way😂.
So getting to the point: when looking at anything on a screen, you can only go on what you see, and hear (should there be sound and you have speakers). Likewise, when you are consulting with a someone online, you and they can only go on what your eyes and ears tell you.
Virtual consultations, for me, are missing a vital ‘ingredient’. In the words of Alfred Adler, you CANNOT ‘feel with the heart of another’ through a computer screen or a telephone line!! I fervently believe a person needs to be able to ‘taste the emotions’ that are present in the room. But perhaps even more significant, should the health professional be lacking the necessary skills to ‘feel with the heart of another’, then, even if they are in the same room, their ‘taste buds’ are not going to function properly. Consequently, you could end up with someone who may come across as ‘emotionless’. I wonder how many people have had that sort of experience in their life – not only within the confines of a consultation!?
If early life experiences are such that a child fails to develop essential senses, due to the ‘environment’ they are brought up in, then I suspect quite a bit of work is required to correct all of that, especially if they want to function in a world were empathy is an essential skill, and the expression of emotions is a fundamental need. ❤️
I wrote this earlier and posted it on Brainstrust Facebook support group (a group to support families living through a brain tumour experience), and finished it by saying: “I really hope this has been helpful. I have been wishing to find a way to express this passion, that has built up inside me, for sometime now. If you think what I have relayed makes sense and you can use it in your world, please feel free. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to learn that it could be of help to others”.
I wish to share with you (with the person’s permission, and removing their name) what happened shortly after I posted it:
One hope I have, by sharing this here is, (and I’m finishing it now, whilst sitting in the lovely grounds of Tonbridge Castle) to continue to connect with like minded people, and keep building communities of people who have a shared desire to “contribute to others”. Two examples that Innervate has helped to build are the websites Epilepsy Quality of Life (eQOL), which you will find at www.eQOL.org.uk and Type 1 Keto which still needs populating but has been built for Dr Ian Lake to share.