Death anxiety and the psychotherapy patient
I have endeavoured to broaden our perspectives on death- related issues and death anxiety as basic concerns of all humans. In this second part of the book, I concentrate on the therapeutic interaction and on how death anxieties evoke adaptations by both patients and therapists in the course of a treatment experience.
Death concerns are a universal problem for every human. Each person adapts to these issues on the basis of individual propensities activated by specific death-related triggering events. In the therapy situation, however, the roles specifically assigned to the patient and therapist define and constrain the means by which death issues are, in general, activated, expressed, and responded to -- and, especially, how they can be resolved. While some overlap exists between patients and therapists regarding aspects of this problem, there are significant differences as well.
Three major interrelated facets of death anxiety play a role in psychotherapy: