Bilateraal CI-gebruiker Stuart McNaughton gaat zelf aan
de slag als Cochlear Implant Coach
Eerder dit jaar besliste Stuart McNaughton (Groot Brittannië) op zijn kennis als therapeut en als bilateraal CI-gebruiker voor meer dan 20 jaar, aan te wenden om ouders van CI-kinderen en volwassenen CI-gebruikers te begeleiden. Hij vindt namelijk dat er in de nazorg veel te weinig aandacht wordt besteed aan het welbevinden van mensen met een CI. Hierbij heeft hij er voor gekozen om gebruik te maken van het REDJ-programme (Reflect, Explore, Discover and Join).
Het vervolg van het verhaal van Stuart kun je lezen in onderstaande Engelse tekst, die Stuart McNaughton ons zelf heeft aangeleverd:
"Earlier this year, I branched out to utilise my counselling skills to support adults and families interested in Cochlear Implants. As a bilateral Cochlear Implant user myself for more than 20 years, I felt I was in a unique position to leverage my training to support adults and families so I created The Cochlear Implant Coach and then later devised the REDJ Programme (Reflect, Explore, Discover and Join).
I have been a qualified Psychotherapist since February 2020. Since then, COVID19 has struck and it was during this period that my initial thoughts around The Cochlear Implant Coach developed. Leaning on my psychotherapeutic experience and drawing on our COVID19 experience, I saw how more of us used technology than ever before, primarily to stay in contact and to be entertained. And this is why we also want cochlear implants: they help us to connect and to access more of the world. I started to wonder, however:
When a child is waiting for their cochlear implant,
who is supporting the parents?
A quick call to 4 Cochlear Implant Programs in the UK confirmed what I suspected – psychological assessment and support was undertaken by existing Audiological staff in the team. Why is this important? It is important to me because, over the years, I witnessed a number of mental health concerns that I think could have been avoided, and all of these were during and/or after cochlear implantations. Given the enormous transition individuals go through to get a cochlear implant, I believe that psychological support should be mandatory for both the individual being implanted and their caregivers.
Under the REDJ Programme, I am now currently supporting 5 families and one adult. Due to client confidentiality, I’m not allowed to go into detail. However, what I have discovered has been quite stark. What was apparent in all of the individuals who had signed up to the REDJ Programme was fear: fear of surgery; fear due to uncertainty; fear on impact of their current life etc., which brings me to one of the reasons why I created the REDJ Programme.
As a young hearing aid user, unbeknownst to me, my parents’ fears were constantly being ‘projected’ onto me which made me feel ‘less than’. In our role as parents, we must try our best to avoid doing this to our children. In each of the families, they have all discovered that they were actively, but unconsciously doing this to/around their children. Given that the vast majority of children go on to do well with cochlear implants, this projection serves no long-term purpose, but immediately reduces the child’s self worth. Also, by not advocating positively for their child, a message is being send out to family and friends that their child is ‘less than’ within the wider community.
The way I work involves having one session with the mother and the father separately, and this can really reveal the dynamic of the family. Fathers tend to be less open and less communicative while mothers fear more, express guilt more freely and don’t feel supported by their partners in the way they would like. In this respect, The REDJ Programme is a holistic approach which listens to and supports everyone. We know that parents that express how they feel and resolve their issues will benefit their child and their family dynamic.
At the moment, the REDJ Programme is a private service, but I’m wondering if there are qualified therapists out there that might want to expand this into their regions? More importantly, I would love to learn if any recipients out there felt unsupported during their journey to hearing? If so, what kind of support?
You can learn more about the REDJ Programme on www.TheCochlearImplantCoach.com and please follow me on Instagram - @thecochlearimplantcoach
The Cochlear Implant Coach does not offer medical device or advise on device selection."