Deeper into the Soul:
Beyond Dementia and Alzheimer’s Toward Forgetfulness Care

By Nader Robert Shabahangi, Ph.D.
and Bogna Szymkiewicz, Ph.D.

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Deeper into the Soul emphasizes that each stage of forgetfulness is a meaningful part of the life journey filled with important emotional and spiritual experiences.The authors remind us that with each effort to understand others, we expand our view of the world. Rather than simply a disease, forgetfulness has purpose and meaning; rather than simply being in need of our care, people with forgetfulness can teach us about life and living; rather than a burden, people with dementia offer us an opportunity to slow down, to be more open and caring, to get in touch with the essence of our human nature. In this process, we deepen ourselves, journey further into our souls.

This book is a practical guide for people who work and live with relatives or residents with symptoms of forgetfulness. The authors offer ideas and tips dealing with symptoms such as aggression and wandering, but they also explore a new way of understanding the people for whom we care.

They ask some fundamental questions: What are the possible meanings of forgetfulness? What purpose does forgetfulness serve for both caregiver and the one experiencing it? How does forgetfulness redefi ne our dominant views of who and what we are as human beings?

In Deeper into the Soul: Beyond Dementia and Alzheimer’s Toward Forgetfulness Care, the authors invite us to shift our attitude toward dementia, or Forgetfulness, as they call it. Accompanying us are four characters—a sage, a psychologist, a physician, and an intern—who each sees Forgetfulness from a different viewpoint. The goal is to develop a perspective which includes the basic ingredients of openness, curiosity and acceptance.

“We loved reading and gained much from the good suggestions, practical insights, and psycho-spiritual metaskills of Forgetfulness Care. If you are interested in the human race, and if you want to know how to help people in the latter stages of life, please read this book.”

—Arny & Amy Mindell; Psychotherapists, Writers and Founders of Process Oriented Psychology

Deeper into the Soul is a beacon of hope and understanding for victims of dementia, their caregivers and families. This remarkable book presents a comprehensive explanation of the challenges of life with Alzheimer’s, and encourages us regarding its possibilities for the future.”

—Edward Voris, Developer, Builder, Fundraiser; Recently diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer’s

“In times when our society faces an increasing number of people suffering from dementia, an approach that goes beyond the neurological explanations and adventures into the emotional and spiritual experiences of those suffering and those caregiving brings a perspective that encourages support, understanding, and a very much needed new paradigm to face this challenge. Deeper into the Soul represents that paradigm in which dementia and forgetfulness represent a meaningful part of the lift journey.”

—Gloria Cavanaugh, retired President & CEO American Society on Aging/Consultant Institute on Aging

“If you are a researcher, a hospital worker, a teacher, a caregiver, this book belongs on your desk or at your bedside. Deeper into the Soul will push you further than you meant to go, surprising you into a smile of pleasure, a buzz of new learning, a challenge to your usual interpretation of meaning. Best of all, it will engage and enlarge your heart.”

—Elizabeth Bugental; Psychotherapist and Author of AgeSong: Meditations for Later Years

About the Authors:

Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D., received his doctorate from Stanford University and is a licensed psychotherapist. In 1994, noticing the often inhumane treatment of the elderly living in institutions, he started to develop an innovative Gerontological Wellness Program in order to provide emotional support and mental health care services for the elderly. Since then, he has launched innovative Gerontological Wellness Programs while designing non-pathologizing programs to work with forgetfulness and other ways of Dementias—including Alzheimer’s—in care homes for the elderly in San Francisco. Nader continues to create programs with the purpose of caring more comprehensively for the elderly. He deepens this exploration through teaching ‘eldership’ workshops in Europe and the United States. These seminars explore the difference between getting ‘old’ and growing into the role of an elder and have the purpose of preparing us for old age and eldership. He continues his work by training interns and supervisors in an existential-humanistic and process oriented attitude to life and living.
Dr. Bogna Szymkiewicz is a psychologist and psychotherapist who has been teaching for over twenty years at the University of Warsaw. She holds a Diploma in Process Work from Zurich, works with clients in private practice, teaches process work and facilitates groups. She is especially interested in fi nding better ways to communicate with people in altered states of consciousness, from intense emotions to dementia and coma. Bogna is a regular visiting professor of Pacific Institute and in that capacity collaborates in research projects, public programs, seminars, courses and training supervision. She is the mother of Julia and Paulina, two beautiful 16 year old twins.