Psychotherapy with the dying patient
DOI link for Psychotherapy with the dying patient
Psychotherapy with the dying patient book
Psychotherapists, analysts and counsellors are increasingly confronted in their private practices with people affected by cancer, HIV-related illnesses and other life-threatening conditions. In an established psychotherapeutic relationship, the onset of a life-threatening illness may have a profound effect on the analyst as well as the patient. The experience of working with a dying patient is unusually engaging; it makes very particular demands and calls for a flexible approach. Physical illness does not stay within prescribed boundaries and inevitably the structure of the analytic frame has to be adapted to accommodate the deterioration of the patient’s health. The terminal illness of the patient brings this sharply into focus. Psychotherapists who truly engage with the process are obliged to confront the inevitability of their own death. This glimpse of mortality may heighten identification with the patient.