Fresh Views

Seeing with new eyes: Perceptions of life with diabetes

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust 

A view of La Sagrada Familia through an arch on the roof of Casa Mila in Barcelona, Spain

#EASD2019 is a wrap! Hi this is Deb this week. I represented @AFreshPOVforYou at the 55th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference in Barcelona where I was excited to share the results of our study (more about that below). I learned much at the meeting, connected with friends and colleagues, and met Twitter followers in person for the first time! I also had time to do a little sightseeing and take in the food and culture of Barcelona!

Front entry of the EASD 2019 meeting, Barcelona

Our abstract, Perceptions of life with diabetes revealed through a solution focused brief therapy exercise via Twitter, was presented on the final day of the conference in a very large room. Often many people leave for home the last day of the conference so I feared the room would be empty, but it was not! Given that this was the only session addressing the psychology of diabetes, there was a great crowd. The presentation focused on the use of the Miracle Question, a solution-focused tool, to help people overcome challenges by using “solution talk” rather than “problem talk.” We wrote about it in our blog post about our AADE presentation here and here describing our World Diabetes Day 2018 #DSMA Twitter chat.

I try to start all of my presentations with a slide reminding the audience (or sometimes educating them for the first time) that #LanguageMatters when speaking with or about people with diabetes. You can read our past blog posts related to this here and here.

#LanguageMatters slide

I asked for a show of hands to see how many in the room were familiar with the Miracle Question approach. I only saw one hand raised. Since this was a 15-minute research presentation, it was hard to cover a lot of the background, so the focus was on the study outcomes. It was exciting to see lots of Tweets about the presentation and that the concept of a solution-focused approach was being spread across the Twitterverse. You can read the full abstract here

We have submitted the complete data to be published (fingers crossed that happens soon!). However, in brief, when we employed the Miracle Question approach during a Twitter chat there were five themes that evolved.  That means that these were the most common threads, thoughts, comments that were expressed by those who participated in the chat. The themes were: more of living life; laughter and humor; self-compassion; resilience; and support.  

Deb at the podium presentation

There were several questions at the end of the session and many people came up to talk about the approach. In fact, several researchers shared with me about their research and how they could see incorporating a solution-focused approach into their research study.  It was very exciting to see the interest in this tool.

Most of the comments and questions were positive. Interestingly, one questioned the value of having people “think less” about their diabetes, and worried that diabetes management would be hurt. I responded by saying that Dana Lewis (creator of Open APS) might disagree. When I heard her speak earlier in the conference she indicated that with her Open APS system, she thinks less about diabetes, including not having to bolus when she eats carbs.The theme of “more of living life” meant different things for different people.  The Grumpy Pumper (Chris Aldred) commented, “For me, the issue isn’t how often I think about my diabetes, it’s the type of thoughts. Looping hasn’t made me think less, but my thoughts are more positive because I’m seeing the results I want.”  This was a great perspective. The overarching message was that they wanted to focus on the positive aspects of life.

It’s important to acknowledge that people engaged in a diabetes Twitter chat are likely very engaged in their diabetes management. There was a question if the process would still be successful in others. We agree that we have the same questions and hope to conduct additional research in this area in the future.  

We also had a Diabetes Online Community (DOC) advocate @Blue_sugar_cube reach out and ask how she and the DOC could get involved with our work. That was exciting! As well as seeing a few new subscribers to our blog!

And lastly, a big thanks to @WeRateTalks on Twitter who gave our talk an 11/10!  Wow! We were honored!

We’ll be seeing some of these diabetes friends in Busan, South Korea for the International Diabetes Federation Congress where Deb will be speaking on two panels, one on #LanguageMatters and one on digital health. 

Kellie, Karen, Grumpy, Renza, Deb and Donna at the end of our presentation

By sharing a solution-focused approach to diabetes management with a worldwide audience we hoped to inspire people to think differently and consider incorporating a solution- focused approach in their practice.

We began this post with the quote, The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes by Marcel Proust . We’d like to encourage health care professionals to “have new eyes” when they think about diabetes management, and be open to new tools and solutions. 

If you’re a researcher and would like us to consult on a future research grant, please reach out – we’d love to chat!

We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

Disclaimer: A Fresh POV for You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

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