Mary is a women with a mental disability. She had severe eating and drinking problems for quite some time. It started when she was sick and didn’t want to eat or drink. But after her illness was cured, she still didn’t want to eat or drink. 

Giving her little portions spread out over the day and stimulating her to take it wasn’t helpful and finally it was decided that she should get tube feeding at end of the day if she didn’t take anything during the day. This tube feeding was a struggle, because Mary didn’t like it all and she wouldn’t cooperate. Because of this struggle in the evening, the caregivers would persist more during the day every time when they offered Mary food and drink. But without the desired result. Still she needed the tube feeding in the evening.

Refusing eating and drinking seemed to have become a pattern in her relationship with the caregivers since her illness. The trainer gentle teaching who supported the caregivers, advised to break with this pattern. Stop pushing her to eat and drink during the day a dozen of times and just give the tube feeding with as much love for Mary as possible. Meantime instead of offering food and drink, go to Mary a dozen or more times a day just to give her what she really needs: loving attention. 

The caregivers took over the advice and after a week or so, Mary spontaneously started eating and drinking again. This was a breakthrough for a new start in the relationship between Mary and her caregivers. 
A few month after this breakthrough Danielle, Mary’s sister, told the caregivers that she saw that her sister had changed very much. She seems to be more human, even more that before the time of her illness. Danielle speaks of a rebirth of her sister. 

Habitual patterns always were very important for Mary. She did everything very neat, but without personal involvement. She didn’t seem to experience what she was doing. Now this changes. As an example Danielle explains about the birthdays of Mary. Usually Mary just sat there and she didn’t show whether or not she liked it. But on her last birthday she really enjoyed the attention and the presents she got. 

Another example: Mary is used to show her sister out when she goes home. During the visit she wouldn’t talk about anything else beside her going to show out Danielle. Now she asks if she can joint Danielle to the parking, but she can also talk about other issues. Usually she would walk very fast to the parking with a flat face when the visit was coming to an end and after waving to her sister, Mary would run walk back as fast as she could. Now she brings Danielle to the parking, together with a caregiver and they all walk in a relaxed way while talking with each other. Mary keeps on waving to Danielle until she is out of sight and then returns to her home in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. 

Mary enjoys little things, but especially the contact with others. She shows real emotions and habitual patterns and structure are becoming less important.

The balance is still fragile, but already it is obviously to see that another approach by the caregivers made a turnover in the life of Mary. The emphasis on presence made her more open towards the presence of others!!! And Mary now also talks in a warm way about the group; is has become a home to her.