When asked to identify the worlds greatest waterfalls, many would be hard-pressed to name Iguau Falls, tucked into the southwestern tip of Brazils Paran state. The Iguau River forms the border between Brazil and Argentina here and 18 miles downstream it joins the Paran River (seventh-largest in the world) to form Brazils border with Paraguay.
Iguau Falls is higher than Niagara Falls and twice as wide as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Where Niagara has two massive falls, Iguau has 275 separate falls, a number that swells to over 350 in the rainy season (Dec-Mar). Water roars over a precipice three miles wide and 270 feet high. If you think of the falls as a giant horseshoe, you get a good visual picture. The near leg of the horseshoe is Brazils side of the falls; the far leg is Argentinas sector. The rounded portion of the horseshoe is where the two countries meet at Devils Throat (Garganta do Diabo). Its spectacular!
Set in South Americas largest national park, the falls are primarily on the Argentinean side of the river, which means that the view from the Brazilian side is broader and more panoramic. You can, however, get up close by following the constructed walkways that lead in front of and below the falls. Visiting the falls from the Argentine park allows you to get close views. You should certainly visit from both sides.
Hemispherectomy. What a chilling word. Probably one most of us have not heard before. Yes, it means what it sounds like—removing onehalf of the brain.1 Imagine the heartbreak of being told your beautiful two-year-old son needed a hemispherectomy. This is what happened to the parents of Benjamen Schwalls, Michael and Michelle of Fort Worth,
Texas. After hearing of Ben’s dramatic surgery and recovery, I arranged to watch him ride while his father told me his story.
When Ben was about four months old, the Schwalls began noticing unusual body movement and his grandmother thought he might be having mild seizures. The pediatrician diagnosed reﬂux until two or three months later when the condition worsened and it became apparent that an Electroencephalogram (EEG) was necessary. The test conﬁrmed the baby was having seizures.
“The diagnosis,” Michael Schwalls said, “was infantile spasms, a rare form of seizure. When the doctor gave us the bad news, he threw a lot of percentages at us about what to expect, indicating the disease would likely be debilitating, if not deadly. The cause was never determined, but we were told it was not genetic, therefore we need not be hesitant to have more children.” Schwalls recalled that the unusual activity started shortly after Ben received his second diptheria/pertussis/ tetanus (DPT) shot, but no ofﬁcial connection was made.
The mental and emotional damage encountered in the two children about whom this chapter is written are painful examples of the kinds of harsh deprivation or mindless abuse that may bring children into care. Mrs Hunter’s account of the history of her work with each of these small girls provides a vivid portrayal of the nature of the damage effected by the experience of such relationships. It also discovers the strengths with which each eventually finds in herself trust, understanding, and real concern.
Breaking through to hope: Julia and Susie
The two children about whom this chapter is written are two of the many who are neglected and abused by their families to the point where law intervenes and the Local Authority assumes parental rights over them. They become children ‘in care’ of the Local Authority. As workers in this field become more able to recognize and intervene in family situations of sexual abuse and extreme neglect, there is a growing need to address and help to mend the inner turmoil of these child victims. For we all now recognize that removing a 3-year-old from her father’s prostitution of her, removing a starved 18-month-old from her parents’ neglect, is only a first step towards safety and healing for these children. It is difficult but sometimes possible to support and guide abusing parents to better care for their children. Failing this, it is difficult but often possible to find new homes and better parents for these children. As workers in this field have long recognized, however, the children themselves often continue to have difficulty adapting to their happier circumstances, and too many of them will compulsively provoke in their new circumstances the rejection and the abuse of their early lives.
This chapter comprises Graeme's responses to Keith's article “Empathy: A cocreative perspective” (Tudor, 2011a, and the previous chapter in this volume). It is followed by a brief rejoinder from Keith.
Response from Graeme
I have shared some general responses to this paper in my Introduction (pp. xxxvi–xxxvii). Here I reflect more specifically on aspects of your latest co-creative transactional paper. I am particularly interested to explore where we agree and where we have differences of opinion.
I appreciate you mapping significant influences behind your thinking. The client-centred influence comes across strongly, given your choice of empathy as the principle method, and I enjoyed your creative juxtaposition of this with constructivism.
Your touchstone interest in the quality of contact or interruptions to contact resonates with me. However, I would not necessarily be primarily concerned with the presence or absence of empathic experience. I am interested in the range of ways we might experience each other and subsequently seek to navigate the limitations and potential of our relationship moment by moment.
What causes addictions? There is no short answer to this question in spite of many decades of theorizing about it. None of the psychiatric hypotheses have been very helpful. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been the most helpful, but even this very useful social program reaches only a small proportion of the total population, and only those who join AA are helped. AA is not based upon hypothesis—it is based on research in action, on actually seeing what works. Some of the causes of alcoholism are social, such as having alcohol freely available. Blaming the individual is not very useful, and we have not yet come across alcoholics who really enjoy their addicted state, yet they cannot free themselves from it.
One cause is the general nutritional deficiency of people who barely survive their modern, high-sugar, low-fiber, and very-lowvitamin diets. For example, the elderly characteristically eat poor diets, low in vitamins, low in protein, low in fiber … and remarkably high in alcohol. Quiet drinkers they may be, but the problem is serious and widespread. An incredible two-thirds of all hospital admissions of the elderly may be alcohol-related.1