Death and Dying

Our society has developed the belief that death and illness should be avoided and feared.  The denial that death is real and can happen has caused people to regard illness and death as something that is happening to them, rather than a natural process that can be embraced without anxiety and suffering.  Our thoughts and perspective on death and illness are based in fear rather than viewed as a possible opening to an experience that can offer new learning, challenges, growth and positive insight into our existence and ourselves.  The denial that death is real and can happen has caused people to regard illness and death as something that is happening to them, rather than a natural process that can be embraced without anxiety and suffering.

Spirituality is often interwoven in the dying process regardless of previous spiritual development.  As I have seen in my office, a person can feel stable in a particular belief system and with a diagnosis or when an opportunity to examine death arises, many beliefs are immediately re-evaluated. 

I have had the opportunity to work as a Chaplain in a Community Hospital, and I have extensively worked with people who have been recently diagnosed with a life threatening illness and/or know someone close to them who is going through the process.  I believe that everyone has a different response to his or her particular life circumstances. 

The therapeutic process can be very helpful, supportive and beneficial to feel and move through emotions as they arise.  Therapy can also be a place to process what may remain unfinished. 

As a therapist, it is my job to hold space for another’s process rather than to fix, heal and/or deny ones experience.  Through all feelings of grief, anger, shock, denial and acceptance, I hold the space for choice in the midst of challenging circumstances.  Sitting with another human being in this process is humbling, powerful and reminds me how the role of choice occurs up until our last breath. 

Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Levine, S. (1997).  A year to live: how to live this year as if it were your last.  New York: Bell Tower.

Levine, S. (1982).  Who dies: an investigation of conscious living and conscious dying. New York: Anchor Books.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1969).  On death and dying: what the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy and their own families.  London: The Macmillan Company.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1974).  Questions & answers on death and dying.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

Book Recommendations: Death and Dying

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