chapter  TWELVE
13 Pages

Inner worlds—outer realities. The dying person in counselling and psychotherapy

ByRuth Archer

The number of people in touch with the client is smaller once he or she is confined to his or her home and later, perhaps, bed. These are the external realities that accompany the inner experience of gradually relinquishing even the most ordinary of everyday things—shopping, going to the library, visiting friends, going to the theatre. Most therapists who encounter terminal illness in a client do so when they have already worked with that person for some time and the therapeutic alliance will be well established. Death is an unknown experience for many, and therapists are no exception, which means that they may be ill prepared for working with a person who is facing death. Therapy with a dying person has a definite outcome, although the timing of the ending may not be predictable—in fact, it is often very uncertain.