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When Life Changes Course

In Spite of Loss, Learning to Find Joy Where You Can

Lori Gottlieb

By Lori Gottlieb - What do you do when your life’s expectations get turned upside down?

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Dying as a Rite of Passage

There's a Gap Between How We Hope to Die and How We Really Do

Katy Butler

By Katy Butler - There’s a gap nowadays between how we hope to die, and how we really do. More than three-quarters of Americans hope to die at home like their ancestors, but more than two-thirds die in hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions. It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a pathway to a peaceful, empowered death, even in an era of high-technology medicine.

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Life Without Father

A Son Looks for Answers from a Stoic Parent Back from War

Frank Pittman

By Frank Pittman - Even though I knew I wanted to be a father when I grew up, I didn’t know exactly what skills were required. We of the ’40s and ’50s grew up with fathers who were off at war or at work, and who weren’t part of the family even when they were at home. We were essentially fatherless.

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A Rare Moment of Self-Disclosure

Revealing Ourselves to Clients

Deborah Buckwalter

By Deborah Buckwalter - The first time I saw Michael, I could barely distinguish his form as human.  A young man in his 20s, Michael had been the sole survivor of a plane crash. The sight of him was unlike anything I’d witnessed before, as was his question that left me confronting everything I'd come to believe about therapist self-disclosure.

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Embracing Grief in a Laundromat

Honoring a Sister's Memory

Martha Manning

By Martha Manning - It was 4:00 a.m. and I was the only patron in one of the most broken-down laundromats in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My sister Sarah, after decades of turmoil and tumult, had died the day before—a combination of pain and painkillers.

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The New Realities of Dying

A Daughter Struggles with the Medical System's Epidemic of Overtreatment

Katy Butler

By Katy Butler - Although many doctors assume that people want to extend their lives, many do not. I believe that my father’s doctors did their best within a compartmentalized and time-pressured medical system. But in the absence of any other guiding hand, there is no doubt that economics helped shape the wider context in which doctors made decisions.

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Remembering Catherine

Coming to Terms with a Client’s Murder

Maggie Mulqueen

By Maggie Mulqueen - Over the course of my career, numerous world events have entered my office. But none of them prepared me for grieving the murder of Catherine, my client of 15 years.

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VIDEO: David Kessler on Coming to Terms with the End

A Special Storytelling Piece from Our 2018 Symposium

David Kessler

When our clients are facing their own mortality, how can we guide them in a way that's both compassionate and realistic? In the following video, therapist David Kessler, an expert on healing from grief, shares the story of his work with a terminally ill client and what it took for her to come to terms with her illness and finally reach a place of acceptance.

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