Ann Orbach is a practising psychotherapist and her book represents a thought-provoking examination of death. In an open and honest way, she confronts some of the issues surrounding this subject and helps us reconsider attitudes to death and dying, and the needs of those who may ask for our help. Looking at the problems faced by dying patients and their families, she considers the role of the therapist as helper in this situation. This book is immensely readable. This is a book for everyone working with dying patients and their relatives - not only to aid us in our work, but also to challenge our personal assumptions about death, dying and bereavement.
International Journal of Palliative Nursing
Drawing on professional and personal experience and the literature, Orbach explores attitudes, beliefs, fears and responses to death at various life stages and in various ways. Her exploration of loss is, however, much broader, considering giving up a child for adoption, working with murderers, capital punishment and near-death experiences. In the chapter on "Partly Living" she addresses not only dementia but also those who suffer from anorexia, and those who feel their lives are without meaning. The book is both easy and enjoyable to read, while stimulating reflection of personal and professional experiences. I would have no hesitation in recommending this text to anyone wishing to explore issues around palliative care and bereavement.
Ann Orbach's search for ego and self is well documented in this book, which is well illutrated with case histories and referenced excerpts from literature. Ann Orbach has experienced death close-up with the passing of family members and some of her clients. Her writing throws into stark relief the different approaches to death taken by clinicians and psychologists. This is a good read and if you are interested in this area of study, or have recently had experience of death, it could well facilitate your spiritual journey. Buy it and see.
Death and dying are the issues explored in Ann Orbach's Life, Psychotherapy and Death. She looks at people's reactions and fears, at bereavement and mourning. Different types of dying are addressed - the death of a child, of a person with AIDS, sudden deaths such as murder, capital punishment, suicide and in war. Cultural and religious attitudes towards death are discussed, and the role of psychotherapy.
Ann Orbach is a practising psychotherapist who is interested also in working with older people. I found it a heartfelt and provoking book. She writes of the reality that death permeates our lives from their very beginnings. She covers sudden death, slow death, AIDS, terminal "long time a-dying" conditions, child death, its timeliness, grief and mourning, near death experiences. Throughout the book the author is also exploring the notion of self which in turn provokes questions about the links between mind, body, emotion and soul/spirit; in other words our sense of identity. Is there, for example, life after mortal life is over? In exploring death in life, the author roams around different cultures. It was both a highly personal account as well as being intellectually rigorous, warm and challenging.
Progress in Palliative Care
Ann Orbach's book is a wide exploration into the way people face death as the dying and bereaved. It is a book that is not content to stay with the psychotherapist's narrative but steps out confidently into philosophy, theology and some of the very practical issues that mortality presents illustrated with case studies, research, poetry and prose. This is not a work that dwells upon any particular aspect of mortality - there is fleeting reference to some of the major theories of bereavement and brief mention of important psychological concepts - but there is a wholeness to the book which leaves one, if not better informed, then more aware of how fruitful it can be at times to step over conventional boundaries. This is a book then not so much of information but, as the subtitle suggests, of exploration, and one which depends little on a prior understanding of psychotherapy. It should be helpful to those who are professionally involved in the lives of the dying and the bereaved and who have the curiosity to step over their own boundaries in order to appreciate less familiar perspectives and insights.