The Paradox of Dementia
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Abstract This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews to explore how 6 people talked about their difficulties before and after a dementia diagnosis. The Assimilation of Problematic Experiences Scale (APES) was used to analyse the data and describe participants’ internal processes as they became increasingly aware of their problems. Assimilation analysis views successful therapeutic change as accepting and integrating an aspect of the self that had previously been denied, due to it being too painful. The findings of the study build on the research evidence that suggests that despite the enormity of its psychological implications individuals find ways of integrating a dementia diagnosis into their sense of self. This occurred within an oscillating progress; stepping in and out of awareness, illustrating the paradox of acceptance and denial. Social support was crucial in enabling participants to sustain a positive sense of self in the face of this adjustment.
DClinPsy in Clinical Psychology