I currently work with the elderly at Villaggio Sant' Antonio in Page, Canberra.
I offer relaxation massage, Somatic Experiencing trauma therapy and bodywork, counselling, spiritual care. Due to the complex needs of people in nursing homes the work usually involves a mixture of all these approaches.
I see this time in our lives as a deeply vulnerable and precious one.
It is our last chance to resolve concerns from our lives. It is our last chance to have experiences that we may have missed out on.
It is also a difficult time: whether it be dementia, Parkinson's disease, the general breakdown of our bodies and increasing ill health, or just the awareness that we are not able to do what we once could and that is not going to get better. People have lost their independence and with that often a sense of identity. It is a time when one faces death and the end of this life. Often partners are dead or also ill. It can be lonely and confusing, despite all family do to be present and supportive.
And yet it is also a sacred time. The vulnerability, the loss of former identity, the approaching end to what was this life also creates space for new awareness of needing others, memories of childhood and work life emerge. Sometimes old traumas resurface - ones that could be held to one side while work and family crowded the view. This is an opportunity to work some of these old challenges through.
How this work works
In my work with the elderly my main focus is to be present with someone exactly as they are, to offer compassion and understanding to fears. To be present with anxieties, frustrations, griefs, and hopes for the time still here.
Through the touch work I bring connection and comfort. Also some ease for pain and distress. This is particularly helpful for those at end of life who may no longer be able to communicate through speech.
I also support people to resolve old traumas and to find more coherence amidst an illness like dementia. Because a lot of this work also supports the nervous system (through the Somatic Experiencing work) this work has also proved very helpful for Parkinson's - giving more stability to the underlying system.
For families who wish to engage this service I provide fortnightly reports on the work done and the results. I also communicate with staff and family around any needs that arise for the resident during sessions.
there is no extra charge for fortnightly reports.
"You help mentally, too, which is really important! You make us want to live!" ~ resident with dementia
"I am so glad you are working with my father." ~ daughter of resident
"My breathing is much easier now." ~ resident
"You are really good with my husband. You do things no one else has done!" ~ wife of resident with Parkinson's
"I really appreciate the reports you write." ~ daughter of resident
"You take things deeper and find out what is happening everywhere [in me]." ~ resident
Qualifications and training
I also work in Spiritual Support Services at Canberra Hospital. I am on the general (non-denominational) team and provide pastoral care mostly to dialysis patients at the hospital.
For more on my personal history that created interest in this field, see About Chantal