Life, Psychotherapy And Death - The End Of Our Exploring

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Life, Psychotherapy and Death - The End of Our Exploring

Life, Psychotherapy and Death - The End of Our Exploring

Life, Psychotherapy and Death - The End of Our Exploring by Ann Orbach (1999) describes the many beliefs and questions surrounding death. Ann looks at death, and what implications and significance it has on us in terms of our fears of death, cultural underpinnings and religious beliefs, dreams and near death experiences and the cost of death. Ann gives numerous examples through the book to illustrate these and provides practice options for therapists to use when discussing death with clients and families. Throughout the essay, I am hoping to discuss theoretical points of reference, self reflection and examples and how the book can be used by family therapists in a clinical setting.

Ms Orbach discusses several kinds of deaths including stillbirth, abortion, death of children, miscarriage, AIDS, death of parents, capital punishment, suicide, murder, euthanasia, holocaust, war, natural death, terminal illness, anorexia, hospices, dementia, dying in old age, false self, near death experiences and dreams of death. She also provides seem thoughts on the soul, body and spirit. The purpose of Ms Ann in presenting these topics is critical to understand. Sometimes it seems that she wants to convey the individual experience of a dying person and other people involved in it. On the other hand, she provides suggestions and advises as to how their problems could be solved to a greater extent. She gives the concept of psychotherapy, befriending and counselling to heal the people from the fear of death.

Ann Orbach (1999) defines death as uncertainty and unknowing' (pg 9). Scientists describe death as a loss of bodily functions. Ann makes reference to the physiological definition and point of view “the permanent disappearance of every sign of life” and “death has occurred when spontaneous vital functions have ceased permanently” (Ivan and Melrose, 1986, p. 14). As a person, and clinician death is a topic which surrounds much mystery. People and society place their own ideas on what occurs when a person has died dependent upon what they have learnt in growing up from their parents and family, religious beliefs, experiences of someone dying or themselves near death experiences and what views society holds in that time period. I often ask clients how they view death of a significant other with clients being very doubtful to their own words and needing to 'do what is right' by the person whom has died. Death is an extremely difficult notion for clients to define in words just like the idea of life. Earlier this year, I have personally experienced death of my maternal grandmother, and it brought up many issues in my family for instance shame of not keeping in contact with her, when is the right time to grieve, being loyal for other family members, what is the best way to say goodbye and who is getting what in the will - are we all entitled. The period was grief laden as well ...
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