Concerned With Death?

I can offer some suggestions, tho indirect and roundabout. The fact of death ends us, but the idea/concept of death saves us. Death is deeply addressed in:  Irv Yalom’s Existential Psychotherapy, and if you’re an ambitious researcher, Rollo May’s Existential Psychology, which contains excerpts from the philosophical roots of this approach. More practical ​are​ Yalom’s Staring Into The Sun:Overcoming The Terror of Death​, and Who Dies by Steven & Andrea Levine​.
At last report, Yalom, one of the great luminaries of psychotherapy, is in his 80s,  still writing and seeing a few patients for single session therapy consults. His revised  and updated Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy is in it’s 5th edition, quite rare in my field. Because interpersonal processes importantly influence any approach to group therapy, no professional can competently lead a therapy group without reading this seminal book.

My decades ago dinner with him and his wife was far more influential on my developing therapeutic/group therapeutic style then I’d realized at the time.

 I meant to & forgot to include Oliver Saks’ last 4 very short essays collected as”Gratitude”, written as he was finishing dying – profoundly simple and deeply touching.

Please share your experience/response to this Post. I'd sure like to know, and it could be useful to someone else. You can click the Post's title to view the entire post, and Comment below, if you like. The "Name Field" will accept any name, so you can be Anonymous [Anon] if you prefer. You must enter your Email to post a comment, but your Email address will not appear publicly. Thanks, Dr Bob
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2 Responses to Concerned With Death?

  1. I’ve been thinking about death lately — more than usual because of family circumstances.

    My household includes an elderly person with dementia who might die this year or three years from now, a 30-something with multiple disabilities who sometimes frets that life will get much worse rather than better, and me with no great plan for my later years (especially if I need a lot of $$$ and help for eldercare).

    I told my best friend today that I’d like to make plans for a good, voluntary euthanasia if I ever get to a place where I’d want it. As we were speaking, I talked about the financial/medical/legal prep (e.g., find a country where I can have a dignified suicide when I choose to). Then I realized — perhaps for the first time — that I might want to do the emotional and philosophical prep that would help me make a truly intentional and peaceful choice about voluntary euthanasia, if and when that time comes.

    Thus, your blog post is extra timely! I look forward to finding copies of the books you’ve mentioned (including Yalom’s Group Therapy book) and to letting their words sink in. How cool to learn how one encounter with him and his wife made such a difference to you!

  2. Dr. Bob says:

    Hello Phil, and thanks for your thoughtful comment. I believe you’ll enjoy the books and find them personally useful, Sacks is especially accessible. I welcome your feedback about them, and wish you very well. When the time comes in the distant future, you’ll likely be able to arrange your death with dignity much closer to home than abroad. The ancients use to think the purpose of life was to prepare to have a good death.
    Warmly, your friend, bob

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