Death Anxiety and Clinical Practice

By Robert Langs | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FOURTEEN Death anxiety and the psychotherapist

E very aspect of the lives of psychotherapists, both personal and professional, is deeply affected by death anxieties and death-related issues. These effects extend to their life work and influence their choice of psychotherapy as a profession, the particular theory and approach they select as their basis for doing therapy, their preferences regarding the kind of framework and the setting they offer to their patients, and the specific interventions they make on a daily basis.

Each patient whom a psychotherapist treats brings to therapy a specific death-related history and works over, consciously and unconsciously, a variety of death-related experiences as his or her therapy unfolds. All of these factors, in both therapist and patient, will deeply affect a therapist's interventions and behaviours vis-à- vis the patient in question. Death-related issues are a critical component of every treatment situation, and they greatly influence the spiralling, circular interaction between patient and therapist. The effects of death-related traumas spread from a therapist's everyday life into his or her work with patients, much as the effects also

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