Monday, October 17, 2011

I attended this Workshop conducted by Robert Lawrence Friedman
The Healing Power of the Drum – Workshop Outline

This full day workshop Singapore (17th October, 20110) will run from 9:00am to 4:30pm with morning, lunch and afternoon breaks.

Please note that meals are not included in the workshop registration fee.

Seminar Objectives
Use rhythm-based exercises to improve communication, listening skills and intimacy of various populations;
Examine specific populations in regard to effects of rhythm-based therapy;
Provide tools and techniques for releasing anger and stress;
Explore non-verbal and verbal rhythmic exercises for boosting self-esteem;
Use Rhythmic Entrainment as a vehicle to both relax and energize;
Use Guided Visualization as a method to deepen the state of relaxation.
In addition, the program will focus on :
Drumming for Specific Populations and Disorders

§ Alzheimer’s Disease
§ Parkinson’s Disease
 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
 Unresolved Grief Anger Management
 Disabled Children Exercises

Drum Set Vocalizations
The Scat Orchestra Entrainment Exercises I and II.
Drumming Meditation
Releasing Emotions Into the Drum
Drumming to Feel Your Power
Affirmations and Drumming
The African Village
Music Therapy Techniques

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A state of Emotional Pain

A State of Emotional Pain

My heart is still longing for him (her late husband). Loneliness is sad and emotionally unpleasant. - Josephine-

A feeling of sadness. Participants in this study repeatedly stated that many of their lonely times included times of sadness as well. “Feelings of sadness” is a phrase that has never been used in the UCLA Loneliness scale. Rather, it is reported in this way: “I am unhappy being so withdrawn.” For the purpose of this study, I am assuming that the UCLA concept of ‘unhappiness’ is equivalent to the sadness, observed in the participants in this study.

Unhappiness caused by the frustration of loneliness, unhappiness caused by the absence of others, or still yet so many other emotions could automatically and knowingly occur while trying to cope with each passing day. According to my study, sadness quickly intensifies. It passes through stages of anger, rage, defiance, frustration, even self-pity but very often, the end result is a deep seated sadness that easily evolves into, in the worst case scenario, profound sadness that has proved to be a characteristic of the loneliness experience by the participants in this study.

Rubenstein and Shavers (1982) mentioned that sadness is a feeling that goes with loneliness. Another study also affirmed that in general, persons who reported loneliness were more depressed, anxious, and hopeless, and were more likely to report sadness and anhedonia, than individuals who did not report loneliness. (Barg, Ashomre, Wittink, Murray, Bogner and Gallo (2006).

Gaev (1976) explains that emotional loneliness describes a general feeling of sadness and longing when the need for genuine emotional closeness, affection or meaningful conversation with significant others is frustrated, even if in a relationship. Gaev (1976) uses the term social loneliness to identify the feeling of sadness stemming from the unsatisfied need to belong or have a place in the social world and she likens it to the sociological term of alienation.

Loneliness, then, sounds like an unpleasant state of emotional pain and negative self-image that people fear, attempt to avoid, and struggle to escape. Buchholz and Catton (1999) describe loneliness as a negative state most often coupled with feelings of sadness and hopelessness. So, it can be easily deduced that sadness is the effect after many other emotions take precedence that is the multi-causal ignition that causes the feeling to erupt and to be maintained.

It (loneliness) is a feeling of hurt when you do not have that person (his late wife) with you any longer. -Adrian-

Extract taken from a doctoral Dissertation, (Abas, 2007)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy Birthday to Santo

A joyful day for Mr. Santo Castello who celebrated his 95th birthday on Oct, 1st 2011. Santo has been a great friend when I was still in Rochester, NY.
Many more years for your Santo to be the witness of the Lord.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A State of Being Overwhelmed with Work and Emotion

I feel overwhelmed and realize my limits when doing something which I am incapable of doing. – Sonia-

A feeling of being overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed encompasses many emotions including the typical feelings of despair and anxiety. These participants described being physically overwhelmed (with work) while at the same time, their minds were filled to capacity with a feeling of having nowhere to turn. Anger and resentment set in quickly when overwhelmed feelings came to the forefront. All in all, persons feeling overwhelmed claim to feel that there is nowhere to turn; nowhere to achieve a productive or rewarding sense of self-worth.

The word “overwhelmed” came into play quite frequently during these interviews. Some of the participants in this study stressed their feelings of being overwhelmed and at the same time reported feeling anger and sadness along with being overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed was always reported as being associated with other types of pain, as well. No research in the literature about being overwhelmed was found. The situation of being overwhelmed is much too broad of a topic to reference. The situation does not stand alone, especially as evidenced in these participants’ interviews.

Summing up, being overwhelmed encompasses two basic situations: Overwhelmed with responsibility and overwhelmed with emotion. Not all participants who felt overwhelmed were overwhelmed with responsibility. They were all however, overwhelmed with emotion in their own way. Above all, becoming overwhelmed along with being lonely made coping even more difficult.

The feeling of helplessness occurs because of the inability to handle the emotion of living alone. –Andrew-

A feeling of being helpless. My anecdotal experience in clinical settings suggests that the transition to helplessness from feeling overwhelmed involves retreat when the psyche can no longer contain anxiety or fear anymore. Rubenstein & Shaver (1982) have put being helpless as one factor of feeling lonely that involves desperation. The word “helplessness” was used by study participants in a manner reminiscent of Von Witzleben (1958) who distinguished between two types of loneliness, one accompanied by loss of an object in the real world, and the other the “loneliness of one’s self,” (the feeling of being alone and helpless in this world). This latter type of loneliness, which is commonly experienced, is what he terms primary loneliness. For him, it was independent of the loss of an object. Loneliness can include an experience of anxiety, which is vague and pervasive, in which one feels panicked and helpless. One does not know how to cope with it and fears that it may overwhelm one (Gaev, 1976).

Taking this concept to the next step, the overwhelmed participants were all grounded in one commonality of emotion. They all tended to agree that loneliness set in only after their own filled psyches resisted any more responsibilities. But, the situation that changed them from overwhelmed to helpless was only felt because, during attempts, they could not devise a plan to rectify their overwhelming feelings. Therefore, “no plan” then led to the feeling of helplessness because they finally realized that not only could they not achieve success in their endeavors, but that only solution was to seek the help of others, enabling the frustration, the guilt, and the fear to become the main characteristics of helplessness.

Extract taken from Doctoral Dissertation, Abas 2007.

Monday, September 26, 2011


1. Geriatric Workshop Programs

a) To draw a Logo for the proposed Borneo Research Aging Center

b) To draft the Vision & Mission of “BRAC”

c) To produce and print program brochures

2. Rhythmic Tranquility Programs

a) To draw a Logo for Rhythmic Tranquility Program “RTP”

b) To draft the Objective of Rhythmic Tranquility

c) To produce and print program brochures

3. Topics of Professional Development Courses

a) Counseling “A Process View”

b) Basic Helping Skills and Counseling as a New Experience

c) Adult Life Span

d) Counseling Skills

e) A Pastoral Response to Domestic against Violence

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stories of elderly individuals

As an elderly person living independently, there is a certain time of day when she feels that loneliness does creep in.  This admission solidifies the lived time component in Alice’s life experience. She says, “I’d say between 4.00 P.M to 7.00 P.M; that’s kind of like it is dusk and that, to me, is that in-between.”  She feels very adamant about this lived time aspect, as she chose to mention it in both of the interviews conducted.
With her soft-spoken voice, Alice expresses her feeling further explains that getting around in the winter is not a problem for her because she remains homebound.  Naturally, the cold stops her from going out. However, even during the summer, she realizes that she is less active, as well because she does not like the outdoors when it is too hot. She concludes, “That’s why I like it better in the springtime.” She convinces herself that staying inside during the summer is naturally all right.  Above all, she has her own preferences for certain types of weather and that helps her to be more active. Besides facing the different seasons of the year and living alone, she tries to convince herself that even though she is alone, she can never be lonely.  However, she realizes, in reality that it is a feeling of loneliness that she is experiencing. Gradually she accepts the fact that loneliness does occur in her life of being alone.
Extract of Doctorate Dissertation, Abas, 2007.

Stories of Elderly Individuals

Alice is a retired 71-year-old licensed practical nurse. Currently she is living alone in her own apartment. Her husband passed away twenty years ago. She has two sons; one is out-of state and the other lives in a large urban community. Also, her children are living their own lives with their families, and contact with her is infrequent.  She expresses that this is what has caused her loneliness. In addition, her relationships with others have also decreased because of her own preoccupation with her daily chores.
In both interviews she confidently described her lived experiences. Alice spoke gently, and occasionally paused for a few minutes before giving the answer to each question. To each question I posed, it appeared that she was making a serious attempt to delve into her inner-self.
The above quote is an excerpt taken from Alice’s narrative. It signifies the lived body (corporality) experience. Alice realizes that at this stage of her life, she is no longer young. She explains that ailments associated with aging have caused her to go slower in her daily activities. According to Alice, her age-related ailments have also stopped her from doing certain work that she frequently has been able to do. 
 Extraxt from Doctrate Dissertation, Abas 2007

Stories of elderly individuals

Stories of Eight Elderly Individuals
I think that once you start feeling some of these aging ailments, I think they compound it, because then you realize that you are not able to do some of the things you like to do, like walking in the mall, for instance (Line 154-158 of 1st interview).
The story of Alice. Using the metaphor of a flowing river, Alice symbolizes her daily journey of life in this way: She feels that the flowing river, while constantly changing its course, can be treacherous, at times. But it also can easily carry her off, away from the regularities of her life in general. The reason for feeling this way is the relationship that she makes to the concept of “staying afloat” throughout life’s changes. She confidently states that she is surviving and even in the second interview she reiterated that although the river is still treacherous, it is not as dangerous as she felt it was when talking about it in the first interview.

Extract from Doctrate Dissertation, Abas 2007.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

FIRST PERSON-Rhythmic Tranquility

Democratand Chronicle May 30, 2006: A Weekly Column that explores the ordinary,
and extra ordinary, moments of our lives.
by Carlos Ortiz

Father Peter Abas, 45 moved to Rochester three years ago from Borneo, Malaysia.
He founded and leads the Peaceful Rhythmic Hand Drumng Session, which takes
place three time each month at St. Anne Church in Rochester, where he is an assisting
priest. Abas also counsels students at the University of Rochester and is very active
with nonprofit organizations within the community.

really love counseling, helping people. One of the methods I'm using now is to the sounds of the drum. I learned to play the drum from Mr. Blair (Blair Horbuckle) from Bushmango.
I've played the drum for the last three years, and what makes me play is helping elderly and

young people feel the inner peace in themselves. When they beat the drum, they can express themselves emotionally, feel the tranquility and they and have that peaceful moment in their lives.

Normally I get around 10 to 15 people different ages, the youngest is 11 years old and the oldest is 86 years old.
I use different instruments; jembe, which is a typical Africa drum, the dun dun which is
also from Africa, and I also have a drum from the Native Americans and many
other percusssions.

The culture that has a big influences in me are my own people, because back at home we play drums and gongs. When I came over here, I tried to integrate the East and West Afro-culture and I would say that the greatest influences is from my own tribal people of the

Kadazandusun of Borneo, Malaysia, because we are really in love with music.
If you want to have inner peace, it really has to start from our inner self through the
peacefulness of the soul, so that we can produce harmony when we work or mingle
with people.

Wisdom of the Sacred Drums

Diversity + Unity = Harmony
The powerful expression of each individual is very unique. It is the expression of the inner-self.

Friday, September 9, 2011

IRONDEQUOIT POST November 19, 2009


Visting priest gives presentation tonight

INRONDEQUOIT - The Rev. Peter Abas, a priest who is a native of Borneo, in Irondequoit

on a temporary assignment in the Irondequoit cluster of Roman Catholic churches, is

giving a drumming presentation at 7p.m. tonight, Thursday, Nov, 19 at St. Margaret Mary

Church, 401 Rogers Parkway.
The Presentation, sponsored by the Irondequoit Regional Evangelization Comittee,

is titled "Diversity and Unity equals Harmony inChrist." It is open to all.

"He is very talented, has several degress, does family counseling, helps with art therapy for

Alzheimer's patients and also is quite musical." said Irondequoit resident and

Christ the King Church parishioner KyraNiklewicz. "He (Abas) has been

known to pull out his harmonica during Mass and play along with the music ministry!

Why you should try the Wisdom of the Sacred Drums? 

Get in touch with your Life Experiences and recognize your "Sacred Story" with color and drums. Storytelling, paint and drumming with our gifted facilitator, Fr. Peter Abas.
Are you willing to share your Sacred Stories? If so this might be the session you are searching for...

Enhances sense of community among elderly individuals

Creates engaging & positive experiences for elderly individuals.

Communicate your deep seated commitment to the spiritual well being of elderly individuals.
WISDOM of the Sacred Drums

- Peaceful Rhythmic Expression -

Each of us has been blessed with abundant grace in our lives. Knowing this

blessedness is a gift that often comes wrapped in change.

Day by day, we face inevitable changes and our spirit goes

where we allow it through the personal choices we make.

It is when we stop to reflect on our sacred stories that we can recognize

the Gift of Wisdom in our life experiences.

Wisdom holds a special dignity and depth. It is not a spontaeous gift. It is acquired

through grace from the Holy Spirit, reflection and sharing.

(Charism, December 2009 Volume 7, Issue 4)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some workshops which Dr. Abas presented

Some workshops which Dr. Abas Presented.

Feb 9-12, 2006 32nd Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana
Presented: Phythmic Art: Counselors Create Empathy with Elderly through Peaceful Rhythmic Hand

March 5-8, 2006 Southern Gerontological Society in Lexington, Kentucky
Presented: Integrating Peaceful Drumming in Reminiscence Group with Elderly Individuals.

April 28-30, 2006 New York Mental Health Counselor Association Convention in Albany, New York
Presented: Rhythmic Art: Counselor Creates Empathy with Elderly Individuals in Group
Counseling Through Rhythmic Hand Drumming.

June 13-17, 2006 33rd Annual Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference in Rochester,
New York
Presented: Diversity, Unity and Harmony: Realizing Human Potential with the heartbeat of the drum.

Oct 12-14, 2006 North Aantic Regional Association for Counselor Education and Suervision,
Lake George, New York.
Presented: Tapping into the Rhythm of Life: Drumming, Empathy and Elderly.

There were more past evening workshops on hand drumming workshops to be posted soon!

Loneliness Scale 1999

With Professor Dr. Theo van Tilburg
Professor Social Gerontology
VrijeUniversiteit Amsterdam

With Professor Dr. J. Gierveld, J. (Honorary Fellow)
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

The scale consists of 11 items; six are formulated negatively and five are formulated positively. The items are sometimes preceded by a short introduction.


Please indicate for each of the 11 statements, the extent to which they apply to your situation, the way you feel now. Please, circle the appropriate answer.
Wilt u van elk van de volgende uitspraken aangeven in hoeverre die op u, zoals u de laatste tijd bent, van toepassing is? Omcirkel het antwoord dat op u van toepassing is.
Manual of the Loneliness Scale 1999
(Updated from the printed version: 30-3-2011)

Jenny de Jong Gierveld & Theo van Tilburg
VU University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

There is always someone I can talk to about my day-to-day problems
Er is altijd wel iemand in mijn omgeving bij wie ik met mijn dagelijkse probleempjes terecht kan

I miss having a really close friend
Ik mis een echt goede vriend of vriendin

I experience a general sense of emptiness
Ik ervaar een leegte om me heen

There are plenty of people I can lean on when I have problems
Er zijn genoeg mensen op wie ik in geval van narigheid kan terugvallen

I miss the pleasure of the company of others
Ik mis gezelligheid om me heen

I find my circle of friends and acquaintances too limited
Ik vind mijn kring van kennissen te beperkt

There are many people I can trust completely
Ik heb veel mensen op wie ik volledig kan vertrouwen

There are enough people I feel close to
Er zijn voldoende mensen met wie ik me nauw verbonden voel

I miss having people around me
Ik mis mensen om me heen

I often feel rejected
Vaak voel ik me in de steek gelaten

I can call on my friends whenever I need them
Wanneer ik daar behoefte aan heb kan ik altijd bij mijn vrienden terecht

1 Updated from the printed version: de Jong Gierveld, J., & van Tilburg, T.G. (1999). Manual of the loneliness scale. VU University Amsterdam, Department of Social Research Methodology (ISBN 90-9012523-X). A hard copy is to obtain from the authors.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports financially supported the revision of this manual.

Correspondence address
Prof. dr. J. de Jong Gierveld, Prof. dr. T.G. van Tilburg
VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Social Sciences
De Boelelaan 1081, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone (van Tilburg): (+31) 20 - 598 6870; Telefax: (+31) 20 - 598 6810
E-mail: Gierveld at, T.G.van.Tilburg at

An outing turned fatal for an elderly man

MIRI: A breakfast outing in Tudan yesterday morning turned fatal for a senior citizen who was hit by a lorry.

The 70-year-old man succumbed to injuries on his head and body.

According to eyewitnesses, a lorry from Tudan heading towards a nearby shopping complex rammed the elderly man.

MIRI: A breakfast outing in Tudan yesterday morning turned fatal for a senior citizen who was hit by a lorry.

The 70-year-old man succumbed to injuries on his head and body.

According to eyewitnesses, a lorry from Tudan heading towards a nearby shopping complex rammed the elderly man.

After the impact, the vehicle allegedly sped off.

Miri Traffic Police have yet to classify the incident as a hit-and-run accident, as they are still waiting for the lorry driver to make a police report.

The 7am incident attracted curious passers-by to the scene.

Medical personnel from Miri Hospital and Miri Traffic personnel rushed to the scene on receiving calls from members of the public.

The man died on the spot and his body was sent to Miri Hospital for an autopsy.

According to the deceased’s brother, who was met at the scene yesterday, it was a daily routine for his brother to go for breakfast with friends at the coffee shops in the area .

After the impact, the vehicle allegedly sped off.

Miri Traffic Police have yet to classify the incident as a hit-and-run accident, as they are still waiting for the lorry driver to make a police report.

The 7am incident attracted curious passers-by to the scene.

Medical personnel from Miri Hospital and Miri Traffic personnel rushed to the scene on receiving calls from members of the public.

The man died on the spot and his body was sent to Miri Hospital for an autopsy.

According to the deceased’s brother, who was met at the scene yesterday, it was a daily routine for his brother to go for breakfast with friends at the coffee shops in the area .

News taken from Borneo Post Online July 26, 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Description and Interpretation of Loneliness

(Taken from my Doctoral Dissertation, 2007 which was defended in Dec, 2007 at the University of Rochester, NY)


Adrian is a 75 years old man. At the age of 60 he retired from his job as a sheet metal worker. He lost his second wife two year ago. His first wife is currently suffering of Alzheimer and living at the nursing home. Adrian used to be a member of the German choir. He has three daughters and they have their own families. Adrian is a traveler and he used to cruise with his second wife. Adrian keeps himself busy with house chores and he spends time with his older brother. He chooses spinning top as his metaphor. The spinning comes off the string and goes round and round and then it wanders off a little bit and then it slows down and stops. He identifies his life similar to this spinning top. According to him, he needs to keep up his life straightened.

Losing his wife is an incident that he needs to accept and to reprocess in his life. He gently expresses his feeling about this situation.

Adrian: It is a feeling of missing someone a significant other. There is the emptiness in that feeling. It is also painful as I see that I am alone now. Like a part of me is not there. I know it but I can’t put my hand on it. It’s an inner part of me that I should be aware of but it just isn’t there. And yet, I am not grieving because she is gone. I am looking forward to seeing her again. (Line 48-53 of 1st interview).

His exploration into this situation becomes apparent when he interprets his loneliness.
Adrian: Loneliness is a feeling that something is missing out of your life and you keep looking for a way to replace it. It’s something hard to define, actually. I don’t know what the word could be. I can’t explain it very well but it is an absence of something. (Line 73-76 of 1st interview).

With his gentle and emotional voice he expresses his inner feeling.
Adrian: The emptiness is not having her there to touch to hug I keep wishing that I had done more of it when she was still here. I told her I loved her more because you can say it a dozen times a day. It’s still not boring. (Line 107-110 of 1st interview).

He delves in-depth with his feeling and he eventually voices this sentence in regard to his feeling of missing something. He ultimately explains his feeling.

Adrian: It is an emotional and painful because I am missing wife. There is emptiness and it cannot be replaced. It is also a feeling that comes and goes in life. (Line 292-294 of 1st interview).

Adrian expresses his lived bodily but in this aspect confidently expresses of how he feels.
Adrian: I have been very fortunate. I have been very healthy but, I have been thinking about that, too. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I am little bit worry because I am alone. And yet I don’t really like the thought of living in a nursing home. For one thing it is too expensive. (Line 190-194 of 1st interview).

Another positive perception of Adrian as he is living independently is that he is not totally lonely because of his companion a dog.

Adrian: However, I am not that lonely at the time I have an old dog and she’s with me, most of the time. In fact, when I sit down, she thinks that it’s a signal for her to jump up on my lap. She’s a little apricot colored poodle. She’s a good girl and she gets along fine with the kids. She loves them and her tail is wagging so hard you think she is going to take off like a helicopter. (Line 55-60 of 1st interview).

In regard to his own interaction with others, it is obviously that Adrian has limited himself of going out. He goes out only for some special occasions.

Adrian: I see my brother mostly; I see him twice a week. We go out together for lunch on Thursday and dinner on Friday. We go someplace where there have a good fish fry. (Line 185-187 of 1st interview).

One way Adrian point out of how he keeps himself for being lonely is by occupying himself with works.

Adrian: I keep myself busy. I have an awful time trying to keep my room straight. I have papers all over the place; on the desk, on the dresser. (Line 63-65 of 1st interview). I’ve had plenty of things to keep me busy. I don’t have time to sit and brood, even if I had time to brood over something. (Line 28-30 of 1st interview).

His kitchen area at home is the place he likes to be because it enables him to reminisce his past relationship with the wife.

Adrian: I would say the kitchen, because we just sat in the kitchen and talked quite a bit. If we had anything bothering us, that’s when we got it off our chest. It never interfered with our meals. We would just get up and leave the table. That’s one of the good things about it. As long as we discussed things and got them off our chests, we didn’t have a lot of arguments. We may have had little disagreements about one thing or another that weren’t very serious, but if it was serious, we both gave in. I can’t think of anything much that was that serious that we had to worry about it. (Line 119-128 of 1st interview).

Adrian expresses an interesting event of his life of how he realizes his action of what he is doing is a kind of coping mechanism toward his wife death.

But I am beginning to understand that that is a way of compensating for the loss of my wife because eating always keeps you satisfied and happy for the time being. But, it just occurred to me a short time ago that perhaps that’s what I am doing without even realizing it. (Line 174-177 of 1st interview).

Finally Adrian highlights of how he wants his life to be and what direction does he needs to follow. He has his beliefs and faith that becomes his primary focus in Life.

Adrian: I just want to be firm in my faith and sometimes there is a struggle between what I should do and what I have an inclination. It’s been that all our lives. First things, first. God is always first. It has to be, no matter what. I am not letting anything interfere with my going to the 8:00 mass unless there’s nothing I can do about it like being snowed in or having a flat tire just before I start off to mass or something like that; circumstances. (Line 223-230 of 1st interview).

In summary, Adrian describes loneliness identifying to how he misses his wife who have died. He also explains that his eating habit has to do with his coping of the death of the wife. It is compensating of the loss of his wife. The emptiness signifies of not having someone to touch and this he refers to his wife. Loneliness for him is also emotional and painful and the emptiness cannot be replaced. He concludes by saying that it is also a feeling that comes and goes in life.

How do I appreciate my Lived Experiences (Part 1)


Session I
How do I appreciate my lived experiences?

1. To give an opportunity to an individual person to reflect and appreciate her/his journey of life.
2. To give a sense of awareness to an individual person that each person has a “sacred” story to tell and to share.

Part I: Moment of Encounterment (40 minutes)

a. Where am I going and where am I now?
- To give each person an equal opportunity to share about herself/himself.
- To give each person the opportunity to appreciate others’ stories.

Part II: Moment of Identity: “Communal activity on Expressive Arts.” (20 minutes)

b. To empower each person to express her/his journey in “color” in the form o arts.
c. To empower each person to appreciate her/his own uniqueness of others’ journeys.

Part III: Moment of Intimacy: Appreciation of ourselves, relationships with others and thankfulness to God for each individual. (20 minutes)

a. To encourage each person uniqueness expression in the beating of the drums.
b. To promote harmony among in the group to the sacred sound of the drums.

Part IV: Debriefing from everyone. See you again at the next session. (10 minutes)

Facilitator; Rev. Dr. Abas

Monday, August 29, 2011

Proposed Training Program for Caregivers


Learning objectives:

Identify basic human needs & their impact on aging
Discuss changes that often accompany aging, vision, hearing, mobility and etc...
Identify & assess the individual's needs from multiple perspectives
Preserve self-esteem

Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

Friday, August 26, 2011

Description and Interpretation of Loneliness

Taken from my doctoral dissertation "Loneliness and Lived Experiences of Elderly Individuals Living Independently: Hermeuneutic Phenomenological Approach.
Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

A State of No Direction

Loneliness is like losing my path of where I am going. It is a searching kind of experience.

A feeling of being lost.
Four participants in my study described their loneliness as feeling lost; there is no literature that speaks directly to this experience of loneliness. Feeling lost occurs when other people are not able to help to give the participant a sense of understanding and meaning. According to Adrian, a sense of loss is created from being alone. He stated, “When my wife died, my emotions were unclear and I did not know which way to turn.” People are often used to depending on others to help them complete their daily tasks. This quote by Sonia validates the previous statement, “after my husband passed away, I was lost and burdened with many tasks.” People gain a sense of identity by being around other people. If one is lonely and no others are around to support him/her, he/she often loses his/her sense of identity. According to Sandra, “since all my children are gone, and I have been left alone, I don’t know who I am anymore.” Confusion precedes feeling absolutely lost because there is, in general, no maintenance of the sense of identity or the sense of self. In summary, these quotes serve as a support for the incidental theme of feeling lost, but there was no existing literature about this subject matter.

It is difficult to lose someone (her husband). Confusion hits me very much. I am stuck and need direction. –Josephine-

A feeling of confusion.
Another incidental theme that is not directly mentioned in literature is the feeling of confusion. There were six participants who mentioned this feeling of confusion in their descriptions. One piece of literature did mention something about this emotion, however, the reference speaks more specifically about “identity confusion”. Salder and Johnson (1980) stated: “The experience of social loneliness is often quite complex. Consider, for example, the problem of identity confusion which may be an integral part of the social dimension of loneliness” (p. 53). In contrast the participants in this study were addressing in this study confusion about being alone and the inability to handle chores in their daily lives. Alice also sees that “loneliness is similar to getting out of confusion and searching for direction.” Once very functional in their everyday lives, these participants were becoming aware of the fact that they were beginning to become confused about doing things they once did automatically. Adrian states, “…now that she (his wife) is gone, many things, I once knew how to do are confusing to me.” Sonia adds, “After my husband died, many things that I was capable to do have since confused, me totally.” Sometimes, the end result was even incapacitation to the extent that others had to become involved in order to achieve a functional lifestyle. This, then, can be described as having feelings of confusion, due to this predominant and underlying inability to rationalize and discern.
I am trying to understand my situation better; this is loneliness for me because there is no one who truly empathizes.-Vicky-

A feeling of lack of understanding.
The incidental theme of the feeling of a lack of understanding is very prominent among the participants’ descriptions. There were six participants who described feeling a lack of understanding. It was very clear that their descriptions were based on their lived other components of lived experiences. The participants looked into their inner selves and assessed that nobody understood their situations. Sonia emphatically states, “unfortunately, family members’ lack of understanding makes me feel lonely.” In addition to the previous statement, Jessica offered a similar testimony. “When others do not understand my experience it is a lonely feeling for me.” She adds, “It is just a matter of knowing that this is my life and I need to have a direction.
There is no literature that corroborates this incidental theme, thus, it is another incidental theme that is worth researching in an in-depth way. The need for more in-depth research is underscored by the frequency with which the participants mentioned this in their descriptions. In this study, not being understood has been identified as the initial feeling of loneliness.

Losing the natural balance of psychological well-being has been proven to be precipitated by feelings of loneliness due to the three incidental themes described in this section. First, feeling that one is lost gives that person a helpless feeling and frustrates attempts at recalling previously learned abilities and behaviors. Next, feeling confused brings about a concern that it is important to be able to “get right” with the world so that the course can be re-charted. But when confused, there seems to be no where to turn. Lastly, trying to convey the lost and confused state to others poses the problem of then becoming greatly misunderstood, thus leading to the inevitable lonely feeling that sets in and becomes deep-seated and constant. Generally, “a state of no direction” is the end result of the incidental themes that occur while these persons experienced loneliness.

In concluding this section, it is noteworthy to discuss the fact that there is evidence of a lack of corroborative literature available when addressing some of these incidental themes that were used to describe loneliness. In particular, it seemed that the more depth these incidental themes possessed, the less corroborating literature there was available on that particular theme. It demonstrates how difficult it is to fathom the words spoken, but it is ironically very easy to empathize with the feelings expressed. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to chronicle situational feelings in documentation format without losing their total meanings. When listening to the participants explore the feelings of being lost, for example, the term “lost”, took on an array of nuances when utilized in these various interviews. Corroborative literature, however, did not exist pertinent to the term lost. As discussed previously, inner suffering is almost impossible to quantify or document because of its extreme profundity. Likewise, the feeling of being overwhelmed is also too broad a topic to describe because of the range of problematic situations that could be included in the overwhelming situations. All in all, these specific incidental themes have proven to be the area of greatest concern in the ongoing study of loneliness in that the need has emerged for additional study in these individual areas of the characteristics of loneliness. In the following section the area of interpretation will be explained and evaluated relative to the responses of these participants.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Training programs for Care-givers

Rev.Dr. Abas earned his doctorate in education with a specialization in geriatric populations in December of 2007 from the University of Rochester’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development. In addition to the doctorate, Father Abas also has three master’s degrees and has worked in a variety of fields, including youth ministry with street gangs in the Bronx. At St. Anne, Father Abas has led several initiatives for the elderly, including discussion groups and an intergenerational drum circle.

He also completed his Gerontology Certificate Program from Lifespan/John Fisher College, Rochester, NY. In addition to this, he also completed his learning at the Alzheimer’s Learning Institute – Monroe Community Hospital, Rochester, NY (Completed the Dementia Specific Care giving: Train the Trainer).

In the year of 2007: Lifespan/John Fisher College, Rochester, NY
(Completed Gerontology Certificate Program)
Facilitator Rev. Dr. peter Abas

• Physiological Aspect of Aging
• Economic Aspects of Aging
• Social and Public Policy
• Creativity and the Aging Brain
• Mental Health Assessment
• Issues of Sexuality and the Elderly
• Communication Skills
• Counseling Older Adults and Families
• Loss, Separation and Grief
• Stress and Burnout
• Spiritual Eldering
• Aging and Substance Abuse
• Aging and Emotional Issues
• Aging and Nutrition
• Aging and Women
• Medications and Older Adults
• Aging and Legal Issues
• Aging and Ethics of Life

In the year of 2006: Alzheimer’s Learning Institute – Monroe Community Hospital, Rochester, NY
(Completed the Dementia Specific Care giving: Train the Trainer)

• Nuts and Bolts of Dementia Care
• Effective Communication in Dementia Care
• Problem Solving & Managing Behavioral Issues in Dementia Care
• End of Life
• Sexuality and Intimacy
• Spirituality and Aging
• Meaningful Activities for Dementia Specific Care
• Dementia and Music –Making a Connection
• Dementia Art and the Quality of Life
• How to Work With Families

Rochester Priest Studies Loneliness in the Elderly

Rochester Priest Studies Loneliness in the Elderly

By Amy Kotlarz, Rochester Catholic Courier

February 28, 2008

To get a handle on loneliness in the elderly, Rev.Dr Peter Abas, parochial administrator at St. Anne Parish in Rochester, asked seniors he was counseling to describe their lives through art.

Together, they painted a picture. One woman contributed a cactus to the canvas.

“Life for her is a cactus -- so dry,” he said.

That was just one metaphor of many that seniors used to describe their lives to Father Abas as he researched his doctoral dissertation on how elderly individuals describe and interpret the experience of loneliness.

“Loneliness is the existence of a powerful void; the state of being overwhelmed with work and life; the state of emotional pain; and the state of no direction,” he said.

He earned his doctorate in education with a specialization in geriatric populations in December of 2007 from the University of Rochester’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development. In addition to the doctorate, Father Abas also has three master’s degrees and has worked in a variety of fields, including youth ministry with street gangs in the Bronx. At St. Anne, Father Abas has led several initiatives for the elderly, including discussion groups and an intergenerational drum circle.

In January, Father Abas left to take a seven-week journey back to his native Borneo, where he grew up in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Speaking in an interview prior to his trip, he said he intends to continue his research by interviewing the elderly in Borneo as well. He said he plans to compare whether a different cultural background changes how people describe loneliness.

He said work on his doctorate “Loneliness and Lived Experiences of Elderly Individuals Living Independently: A Hermeneutic Phenomological Approach” took two years to complete. He recruited volunteers from throughout upstate New York who were 65 years and older and living independently. All were from different professional backgrounds, and his research subjects included a retired social worker, a retired English teacher and a retired professional truck driver.

Father Abas had the seniors describe their everyday lives, then he was able to interpret the meaning of the phrases they used and the words they said to him.

“I couldn’t jump to the conclusion of whether they were lonely or not,” Father Abas noted.

As he began to explore the theme of loneliness more, Father Abas asked people what they did when they were lonely, how they would explain the reason for their loneliness and how they would describe their experience with loneliness.

“Some of them found it easy to speak, and they were very open with their story,” Father Abas said. “Some found it really difficult.”

Although he was confronted with initial reluctance, Father Abas did have success when he asked the elderly to describe a favorite memory, which led to disclosures about loneliness.

“I could even see some of them really feel a burden in their lives,” he said.

Many used metaphors to describe their lives, such as a flowing river, a flower, a cross, a sunset, an oak tree, an entangled circle or a spinning top.

After a while, though, as participants continued meeting with Father Abas, some began to look at the world in more positive ways. For example, the person who described life as a flowing river amended the statement to say the river was not that treacherous.

“It’s flowing much better,” Father Abas recalled the person saying.

Sue Murty, director of social work at St. Ann’s Community in Rochester, said isolation and loneliness in the elderly can be caused by the loss of loved ones; the loss of independence, such as the loss of driving abilities; and the loss of physical abilities, such as hearing or mobility.

She said seniors often are reluctant to talk about being lonely, so neighbors and friends should keep watch for signs of changes in routine, reclusive behavior or depression. Another sign may be an eagerness to talk for a long time, she said. Friends and neighbors should begin asking questions if they see signs of loneliness, she noted.

“Start by saying, who else do you get support from? Are there other persons in your life?” Murty said.

Father Abas said other ways to cope with loneliness include having a strong faith, acknowledging the importance of prayer, accepting loss and coming to terms with the fact that a person is alone.

It also is important for seniors to take care of their health so that a loss of mobility does not isolate them, he said. Seniors also should consider the time and talents that they are able to give, and they should maintain social connections to counter loneliness.

“Within the church parish level, they can join a social-programming group or some involvement in their church,” Father Abas said.

Most importantly, seniors should turn to others if they are feeling isolated, he noted.

“The way to work through it is to ask for help from people,” Father Abas said.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prayer is needed too...

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, may it through your intercession the "dream" to start the home of hope in Borneo will be fulfilled!

Praying for intercession of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha at her Shrine in Fonda, NY.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sharing the widom of the gift of age"

"Changes has always been difficult for me. Times like when I moved to Rochester, being in a strange place and not knowing anybody. the Serenity prayer has been my daily strength. Accepting som eof thses changes helps me be close to the Lord every day." Josie B. -Charism Dec 2008, Vol. 2, Issue 4"

"Wisdom of the Drums"

Changes in our lives told in the Wisdom of the Drums

"There have been a lot of changes in my life but God has been good to me. I'm slowing down taking longer to do tasks. But this is rewarding, too. I am looking at my family more closely by slowing down and really appreciating what's around me. It's giving me more time to read and pray. I work at letting go, not taking life so seriously, enjoying life and being more encouraging to my family." (Meyers M. A -Charism, Dec 2009, Vol. 7, Issue 4)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Bridge to heaven

My Bridge to Heaven

Wonderful education from my parents made me of who am I now
Marriage blessed me with children
The transitions and changes in the Church affected my life
Changes are difficult to handle
Being a widow is not that easy
Need a companion but I do not it
Depend on my Father the Lord to guide me
Holy Spirit comes to me

Written by : Virginia (one of my research informants)

Life is Romantic

Life is a romantic

Thought life is romantic
It takes me to a different path
Dissapoitment and sadness
Later depreseion
River become a river of tear
Faith help me through
Hope to set me through the journey
Redicovery my faith
The water refreshing again
Hopeful stage of my life
I see it as a peaceful and claim river again

Lee, 2007 (Poem written by one of my research informants.

...need help...sos

I am still looking for a publisher to assist me with the publication of my book.

Anybody can be a help to me. Thank you very much, Peter.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A snapshot of me!

Reverend Peter Abas, (L.S.L. (Liturgy), M.A. (Pastoral Counseling & Spiritual Direction), A. P. D. (Counseling & Personal Services), Ed. D. (Counseling)

Peter has counseled individuals, couples and families for over 20 years as an ordained Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah –Borneo- Malaysia.

Besides being a spiritual director at PCFT, Peter specializes in gerontological caregiving, dealing with issues related to aging and mental health. He also provides individual, group, and couples consultation. He is also interested in issues related to international college students, academic challenges, depression and anxiety.

Peter is a professional member of the ACA (American Counseling Association), AADA (Association of Adult Development and Aging), ASGW (Association for Specialist in Group Work), ACC (Association in Creativity in Counseling) and ASA (American Society of Aging).

Addition special services provided by Peter include: Self-Care Practices of Caregivers, Peaceful Rhythmic Hand Drumming, and Sacred Stories and Healing Journeys.

Proposed Borneo Aging Gracefully Center

Rev. Dr. Peter Abas praying in the Chapel of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha at Fonda, New York for the success of this project- Borneo Aging Gracefully Center.
Those of you who might read this about this proposed prject and would like to contribute your time, talents and treasures do not hesistate to contact me.

Peace and Hope,
Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

About BORNEO Aging Gracefully Center
Aging Gracefully Center (AGC) is committed to providing information, guidance and services that help older adults take on both the challenges and opportunities of their well-being. We provide community and professional education. We also continue to do research on the issue of aging.
It also has an adult day care center, located within the vicinity. Adult day care can render caregivers respite by providing a center where elderly parents can be taken for a couple of hours or the entire day and picked back up later. The day programs include social activities, meals and general elderly supervision.


Professional Education
General Aspects
• Spirituality and Aging
• Aging and Sexuality
• Women & Men and Aging
• Nutrition and Aging
• Medications and Older Adults
• Economic Aspects of Aging
• Ethics and End of Life Decisions

Emotional, Physiological and Legal Aspects
• Emotional impact of caregiving
• Physiological aspects of Aging
• Legal aspects of Aging
• Aging and sexuality

• Functional Assessment
• Mental Health Assessment

• Alternative therapies
• Coping with grief and loss
• Counseling Older Persons and families
• Communication skills
• Stress & Burnout
• Loss, Separation & Grief

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proposed Trainging program for care-givers

Proposes Training program for Care-givers

Input one:

Eldercare: Perspectives on Aging parents and their adult sons and daughters.

Unput two:

Family caregiving changing roles and responsibilities.

Presented: Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Proposed Training for care- givers


Learning objectives:

Identify basic human needs & their impact on aging

Discuss changes that often accompany aging, vision, hearing, mobility and etc...

Identify & assess the individual's needs from multiple perspectives

Preserve self-esteem

Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Drum used for therapy was vandalized?

Why the Drum and the Monstrance?
Six months ago it was a sad morning for the parish priest at Holy Nativity Parish Terawi, Penampang when he found out that his hand-drum and a sacred monstrance were vandalized in the church sacristy.

As he walked down the aisle to celebrate the Holy Mass, his facial expression showed that he was very disappointed and confused with the whole situation. He ended his brief homily that morning, with this profound statement, “Only God knows the inner motive of this person who did this undesirable act.”

Three days prior to that incident, he spoke to a group of elderly individuals and their caregivers about how he utilized his hand-drum to rejuvenate the elderly individuals in his place of work in Rochester, New York.

When he lived there, many elderly individuals joined his group known as “Peaceful Rhythmic Hand Drumming.” One of his programs was known as the “Changes in our lives as told in the Wisdom of the Drums”; where he empowered every elderly person to beat the drum and eventually to share what their feelings were. On that day, he shared about his past session on “Wisdom of the Drums” and he quoted an elderly woman who said, “We can feel our “heartbeats” through the sound of the drums and we all have a sacred story to share.”

He said, “Even though my hand-drum has been vandalized, the memories of it bring tears to my eyes and pain to my heart.” The reason was because the peaceful rhythmic sound of this hand drum soothed many elderly individuals in the nursing home, independently living and in the hospital in Rochester, New York.” He concluded with humility and with a prayerful voice, “It is sad that this person who vandalized this drum did not know its healing power.”

Another unbearable incident that occurred at the same time of the incident with the drum was when Father Peter found out that the monstrance, which is a vessel in which the consecrated Host is exposed for the adoration of the faithful, was smashed. This monstrance was given by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas of the Diocese of Rochester, New York just few weeks before Father Peter left for Malaysia. Father Peter was very upset with this incident and he said, “As if the hand drum was not enough, why was this sacred vessel, this monstrance, vandalized too?” With his empathetic voice, he concluded, “Let’s conquer evil with good.”

Until now the problem is left unsolved and still remains a mystery and an historic event in this newly inaugurated Holy Nativity Terawi Parish, Penampang.
Freelance Writer

Geriatric depression scale

Choose the best answer for how you have felt over the past week:

1. Are you basically satisfied with your life? YES / NO

2. Have you dropped many of your activities and interests? YES / NO

3. Do you feel that your life is empty? YES / NO

4. Do you often get bored? YES / NO

5. Are you in good spirits most of the time? YES / NO

6. Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you? YES / NO

7. Do you feel happy most of the time? YES / NO

8. Do you often feel helpless? YES / NO

9. Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing new things? YES / NO

10. Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most? YES / NO

11. Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now? YES / NO

12. Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now? YES / NO

13. Do you feel full of energy? YES / NO

14. Do you feel that your situation is hopeless? YES / NO

15. Do you think that most people are better off than you are? YES / NO,

Environment with beautiful garden can make an elderly person to be more cheerful! We need more "Green Environment" be a lover of natural beauty of Green-green-green....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

...harmony and joy.

Peacefulness in the human heart and soul bring harmony and joy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Loneliness the "Feeling of being incapable"

Adrian states, "It is something hard to define, but the limitations in my capacity to be able to work create a lonely situation for me." Josephine almost echoes these thoughts by stating: "My slowness and incapability to perform my work is a kind of loneliness."

Loneliness is a kind of emptiness;...

Sonia feels that "Loneliness is a kind of emptiness; an empty feeling of being alone and abandoned." She says, "When you have to depend on another person, or persons, that is depressing and annoying; not a good feeling."

Extract taken from Doctoral Dissertation, Abas 2007.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Arrived safely in Borneo

Good bye Lancaster University UK and Good bye University of Rochester, NY. I arrived safely after 31 hours of flight!
Will be blogging soon, Jet-lag is hitting me now.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vicky selects "A Garden of Flowers" as a metaphor

Vicky selects a garden of flowers as a metaphor. She feels that flowers symbolizes and are the colors of life. However, she admits a garden of flowers also symbolizes the existence of resentment in her. The reason is that she logs to have a cheerful life. Vicky with her gentle voice, allows the interview to flow very well. Vicky eloborates that a garden of flowers always brightens her mood and makes her cheerful and happy.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some Programs Designed by Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

2004- present

Inter-generational Peaceful Hand drumming

1. To understand the use of hand drumming to enhance communication, concentration, listening skills, intimacy, and understanding of the self.

2. To gain some skills and techniques to work with elderly in how to encourage expression of feelings and increase socialization in the group process.

3. To give guidelines of specific approaches and strategies for maximizing participation, motivation and learning for older adults.

2005- present

Reminiscence Group with Elderly 65 and above)

(Reminiscence has a way of bringing people together, and this can be particularly useful in a group setting)

1. Promoting self understanding

2. Preserving personal and collective history

3. Transcending the material world and physical limitations

4. Allowing for identification of universal themes of humanity

5. Reinforcing coping mechanisms

2006- present

Sacred Stories - Healing Journeys for older adults (65 and above)

(An opportunity to express emotion in safe and supportive environments)

1. Enhancing sense of community among elders.

2. Creating and engaging positive experiences for elders.

3. Communicating the deep seated commitment to the spiritual being of elderly people.


Vision of Hope - Partner in Healing (65 and above)

(An opportunity to identify and experience your personal “Vision of Hope” while journeying with others)

1. Emphasizing their strengths, not weaknesses.

2. Developing independence while diminishing dependence.

3. Encouraging decision making and action taking.