Death, Dying, and Bereavement: Contemporary Perspectives, Institutions, and Practices

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9780826171412: Death, Dying, and Bereavement: Contemporary Perspectives, Institutions, and Practices

Delivers the collective wisdom of foremost scholars and practitioners in the death and dying movement from its inception to the present.

Written by luminaries who have shaped the field, this capstone book distills the collective wisdom of foremost scholars and practitioners who together have nearly a millennium of experience in the death and dying movement. The book bears witness to the evolution of the movement and presents the insights of its pioneers, eyewitnesses, and major contributors past and present. Its chapters address contemporary intellectual, institutional, and practice developments in thanatology: hospice and palliative care; funeral practice; death education; and caring of the dying, suicidal, bereaved, and traumatized.

With a breadth and depth found in no other text on death, dying, and bereavement, the book disseminates the thinking of prominent authors William Worden, David Clark, Tony Walter, Robert Neimeyer, Charles Corr, Phyllis Silverman, Betty Davies, Therese A. Rando, Colin Murray Parkes, Kenneth Doka, Allan Kellehear, Sandra Bertman, Stephen Connor, Linda Goldman, Mary Vachon, and others. Their chapters discuss the most significant facets of early development, review important current work, and assess major challenges and hopes for the future in the areas of their expertise. A substantial chronology of important milestones in the contemporary movement introduces the book, frames the chapters to follow, and provides guidance for further, in-depth reading. The book first focuses on the interdisciplinary intellectual achievements that have formed the foundation of the field of thanatology. The section on institutional innovations encompasses contributions in hospice and palliative care of the dying and their families; funeral service; and death education. The section on practices addresses approaches to counseling and providing support for individuals, families, and communities on issues related to dying, bereavement, suicide, trauma, disaster, and caregiving. An Afterword identifies challenges and looks toward future developments that promise to sustain, further enrich, and strengthen the movement.


  • Distills the wisdom of pioneers in and major contributors to the contemporary death, dying, and bereavement movement
  • Includes living witness accounts of the movement's evolution and important milestones
  • Presents the best contemporary thinking in thanatology
  • Describes contemporary institutional developments in hospice and palliative care, funeral practice, and death education
  • Illuminates best practices in care of the dying, suicidal, bereaved, and traumatized

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About the Author:

Judith M. Stillion, PhD, CT is Professor Emerita of psychology and currently serves as a consultant on a variety of issues including end-of-life issues, meaningful aging, positive psychology applied to grieving and dying, strategic planning and facilitation of grief groups. Dr. Stillion's varied career includes teaching and counseling in the public schools and at the university level. She began teaching the psychology of death and dying in 1975 and continued for over 20 years. She also served as Associate and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Western Carolina University, USA Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs in the University of North Carolina System and founding Director of the Institute for Leadership, Ethics & Character at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Stillion is a past-president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling and recipient of both their Death Educator and Contributions to the Field awards. She has written three books and numerous chapters and articles in her field of expertise, which include suicide across the life span, aging, positive psychology applied to grief groups and gender issues in death and grief. Thomas Attig, PhD, is the author of Catching Your Breath in Grief and Grace Will Lead You Home (2012), The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love (2000), How We Grieve: Relearning the World (Revised Edition, 2011), and numerous articles and reviews on grief and loss, care of the dying, suicide intervention, death education, expert witnessing in wrongful death cases, the ethics of interactions with the dying, and the nature of applied philosophy. He spent the greater part of his career (1972-95) as Professor of Philosophy (now Emeritus) at Bowling Green State University, USA where he served as Department Chair for eleven years and established the first PhD in Applied Philosophy in the world in 1987. A Past President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Dr. Attig has also served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement. He holds degrees in philosophy from Northwestern University (BA) and Washington University in St. Louis (MA and PhD). He currently resides in Victoria, BC, Canada and devotes his time to writing and speaking.

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