Although it is a natural and inescapable part of life, death is a subject that is often neglected in psychotherapeutic literature and training. In When Death Enters the Therapeutic Space Laura Barnett and her contributors offer us insights into working with mortality in the therapeutic encounter. Taking an existential perspective, the book brings together a variety of client groups, all of whom have experienced a confrontation with mortality, and encourages the reader to engage with and reflect upon the subject of death. Although this may initially evoke anxiety and distress, Barnett and her contributors introduce the reader to the 'vitality of death' (Koestenbaum): an energy and focus that can come from confronting our greatest fears and anxieties, including the anxiety aroused by our own mortality. Topics covered include: philosophical roots and principal approaches to existential therapy health related issues including cancer, HIV and Intensive Care surviving violent trauma creating a safe space for the client short prognosis and palliative care bereavement.When Death Enters the Therapeutic Space presents therapists with an understanding of what it means to experience such traumas and prepares them for helping the client.
It will be useful for trainee counsellors and experienced therapists alike.
Laura Barnett is an existential psychotherapist and supervisor working in the NHS and in private practice. She manages the Cancer Counselling Service and the Psychological Aftercare Service for Intensive Care Patients, which she set up at Mayday University Hospital, Croydon.