Lesson Three: Altered States of Consciousness Study Guide Individual Track

Altered States of Consciousness Series

Individual Track Learning Guide

Lesson Three: Dementia and Relationship

Questions Worth Considering

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Best Practices – (Choose at Least One)

1.“Even the most minimal signals from the comatose person, like a twitch of an eyelid, can be the doorway to communication.”  (Amy Mindell)

Lie restfully on a flat surface taking deep breaths to help you enter a relaxed state.  Keeping your eyes closed, attempt to use minimal, non-verbal signals to communicate with your partner.  Notice what you feel while attempting to be understood in this way.  How did you expect to feel?  Did your feelings change the longer you spent attempting to communicate?


2. “One of the most important tools (in coma communication) is the ability to notice the comatose person’s feedback – and his/her response to your communication. Trust that what you do depends on the feedback you receive.” (Amy Mindell)

Have your partner lie in a prone position, eyes closed.  Ask your partner to attempt to use minimal signals to communicate with you.  Do you notice changes in your partner that might indicate positive or negative feedback to your presence with them in this state?  Notice what you perceive your partner is attempting to communicate.  After 15 or 20 minutes, share your experiences with your partner.  What did you learn from this exercise?


3. Communication can take place through various channels; visual, auditory, sensory. For example, “Looking up usually indicates accessing of the visual channel; looking sideways, the auditory channel; looking down, the body sensation channel.”  (Stan Tomandl)

  1. Experiment with your own visual, auditory and sensory channels in this way with a willing partner:
    • Look up and pause for a moment to notice how and what you are perceiving.
    • Looks sideways and notice the same way.
    • Look down and notice again what you experience.
    • Engage in normal conversation and notice your partner’s eye positions as you talk.
    • Share with your partner what channel they were perceiving and compare their perceptions to your experience. Then try switching roles!

For one week, dedicate 10-15 minutes a day for reflective writing. As described in the quote above “Keep the pen moving; welcome everything; don’t worry about errors; let the subject choose you; write for your eyes only; feelings, feelings, feelings; and details, details, details!”