Death and Bereavement counseling

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    • 00:12

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: And then I have teapots,so we can just sit and--

    • 00:15

      SPEAKER 1: Yeah.

    • 00:16

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: --talk.This afternoon we just have seven of us,and we will be sitting around the table,and we will be talking about death.In our culture, death is still a subjectthat this very, very difficult to address.Especially when it is the death of somebody close to you.And the people who I have contact

    • 00:40

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: with all struggle with the fact that they can't talk to them.Maybe they haven't got a lot of peoplethey're close to in the first place,but they can't talk about their feelings about what happened.Or what is happening as somebody is dying.

    • 01:04

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: I suggest you introduce yourselves with your name,and also what brings you to Death Cafe.What's your interest in Death Cafe.

    • 01:13

      ROSE: I'm Rose, and I've come to the Death Cafebecause I was caring for my husband who died in 2007,and I cared for him for five years.I found it very hard to get to a situationwhere I could talk about openly about his passing.

    • 01:36

      ROSE [continued]: It was always put in the shadows and we're all sortof in denial about the whole process of dying.

    • 01:47

      SPEAKER 2: I've always been interested in deathon a personal level and on a wider level.What sent me to the Death Cafe wassomebody who I used to work with who I'm closeto and-- in the past but not too muchnow-- but much younger than me who's got a terminal diagnosis.It just felt like, how to speak with her, or how for me

    • 02:13

      SPEAKER 2 [continued]: to be myself.And it felt like this huge pull somehow preventing it.

    • 02:19

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: It's very catharticgoing around the table and people tell their stories.And what happens, I suppose-- it's not a therapy group,so it weaves in and out becoming personal and quite generalalso.

    • 02:35

      SPEAKER 3: When I came to this country,and I was so shocked to see the amount of taboo thatwas around death because Spain is a very jolly-like country,but death is present everywhere.The death of bulls, the blood of bulls.

    • 02:55

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: You see the images of pigeons and Christ are the bloodiest.Even in Latin America.pigeons with knives, and Christ bleeding, and all that.And the first time I went to funerals hereI was really shocked because people

    • 03:19

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: didn't talk about the dead person.

    • 03:22

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: It's conversational,and it's not unusual that people feel very moved at one momentand then burst into laughter, and becomequite rowdy or noisy.

    • 03:34

      SPEAKER 3: I remember my mother-in-law, when she diedand the undertaker said, where do you want to bury her?Is anybody coming from overseas?And I was horrified.The idea that you have a body somewherein a cupboard waiting--[LAUGHTER]

    • 03:51

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: The idea of Death Cafeis for people to come together in an informal wayto have maybe share tea and cake, and talk about death.And there are only two rules, and theyare respect and confidentiality.And by respect is meant that people respect

    • 04:14

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: different points of view; that there are different lifestyles,different faiths, different experiences,and different beliefs; and nobodytells anybody how they should be thinking or what something is.Nothing is interpreted.It is what it is, and everybody is encouragedto speak from their experience.

    • 04:37

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: And it is very freeing.

    • 04:40

      SPEAKER 2: This chance to talk about death in all its aspects,all its levels, is-- it feels as if my life has expanded somehowinto some other areas.I can see, hear, think things differently.

    • 04:57

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: We're all mortal.Everybody is going to die, and people of different agescome together.In the UK I think we have 170 Death Cafes so far.It is not a workshop where you'remeant to look deep at emotions or anything.It's therapeutic, but it's not therapy.

    • 05:18

      SPEAKER 2: For me, now I believe I'm going to die,and it could be at any moment.I think-- I don't remember if it'slast time at the Death Cafe.I'm not sure if it was you who said, we're all dying people.Was it you who said that?And I just thought, wow.That's an amazing statement.

    • 05:34

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: Although it is painful in psychotherapyto open to the some of those thingswhich you have been protected, or been protective of,finding a way to not suppress things so brings you into life in a new way, and in a small way.

    • 05:59

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: You can see it in Death Cafe.People come to talk about death and talkabout painful experiences, but without beingdeeply emotional about it.

    • 06:10

      SPEAKER 4: The fear is, when I'm dying I might make a fuss,and fight, and be unpleasant, and not accept it.That's my greatest fear, that all my so-called preparationand interest will serve me for naught.

    • 06:24

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: To have such an experience,to prepare for dying well, to talk about it so that peoplerealize what choices they have-- itreally is so much better for bereavement.

    • 06:37

      SPEAKER 5: I think you bring up a very good point as well aboutlive.It really helps to bring you closer to live.It's not just about death.And I've really found in my own experience thatcoming to that fear, and coming to that understandingof the whole cycle, and what it means is very liberating.

    • 06:59

      SPEAKER 5 [continued]: It's very freeing.

    • 07:03

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: What takes place in s private session--in a psychotherapy session-- is verydifferent from what happens in a Death Cafe.Perhaps the only similarities that peoplespeak about their personal experiences, but, of course,

    • 07:24

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: as a psychotherapist I'm there in a quite neutral way.Facilitating-- I'm very engaged and using myself,but it's not about me.It's about the person I'm working with.But at the Death Cafe I'm a participant,and I share my own experiences.

    • 07:45

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: Death is a subject that has always been excludedbut is very, very present.Since childhood it's been a mystery that nobody reallyspoke about, but I heard a lot stories about dead people.I was born in the '50s after the war in Germany.

    • 08:06

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: I was surrounded by traumatized neighbors whoI didn't know particularly, but got to know a little bit.Especially my parents and grandparents.At Death Cafe I facilitate a conversation amongst people,and I want to make it a safe conversation for everybody.

    • 08:26

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: And everybody who comes wants to talk about death,so nobody is forced to talk about death, whilstin a serious therapy session deathmight actually never even-- the word death might notbe mentioned.But what we're talking about is a lotto do with the impact of a death, or of loss and grief,

    • 08:49

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: and the emotions are very present thatis not present in a Death Cafe.

    • 08:54

      SPEAKER 3: Death is becoming much more human and people--and you talk about death in papers.And there is a lot to do-- a lot of desireof changing this taboo.

    • 09:10

      SPEAKER 1: I think it's like any taboo subject,that somebody starts talking about it,you may find the person who thinks, oh, thank God.Somebody's going to say-- because I certainly have thatexperience--

    • 09:20

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: The process of a Death Cafe,I think it always stays on a superficial level youcould say.Emotionally speaking.But people talk about a lot of practical things, aboutexperiences, and also philosophically about ideas.Or they exchange some information.

    • 09:45

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: So it's quite varied.How old were you when you first saw a dead body?

    • 09:51

      SPEAKER 1: Eight.

    • 09:55

      SPEAKER 4: 30 something.

    • 09:58

      SPEAKER 1: I'd have been 13, or something like that.

    • 10:03

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: One of the questionsI've asked people today was how old they were when they firstsaw a dead body.When you first see a dead body it means death is a reality,but we have a society where death is always entertainment.It's always other people who die.You see it on the news.You see a murder mystery.

    • 10:25

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: A lot of violence.Its dramatic but it's never really personable.People have no first hand experiencebecause people are quickly taken away to hospital hospice,or funeral directors take care of things.So they don't know about dying or death.

    • 10:45

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: Death becomes an enigma.

    • 10:47

      SPEAKER 3: And also death is not only the person who dies.It's the people that are left, and all the rituals that we do.In reality, it's not for the dead personit's for us to feel better, or to feel relieved,or to feel-- And I talked to women who work in hospices

    • 11:11

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: and they say, I'll tell you what it is.When somebody dies, they haven't organizedanything, not holding wakes, nothing.They don't know how to perform a funeral,and I think it should be-- I don't know.Educate.People should be educated in the sense of--

    • 11:28

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: Well, thats--

    • 11:28

      SPEAKER 3: --thinking about the ones that are left.

    • 11:31

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: Death Cafe is now really popular,and I think people are ready to want to talk about death.And it's not bereavement counseling.It is just something that they wantto think about as part of life, and Ithink there's a growing movement.

    • 11:50

      SPEAKER 1: I always feel like I'm doing missionary workfor death, that anywhere I go I'll be the one that will bringit up and then see how people react to it.And I'm sure it's, like you were talking about,sex in the old days.But somebody mentions it, and those that are interestedwill return to you.Those are aren't will turn away.So it's the ones that are shown to you, you think--

    • 12:11

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: We as a society canlearn to embrace grief, death, depression,and value it for what it is.It is a very much a part of life, and you can't shun it.You can't ignore it.And it is important-- life and death belong together.

    • 12:31

      JOSEFINE SPEYER [continued]: They inform each other.

    • 12:33

      SPEAKER 5: I've appreciated the opportunityto hear from you all.It's been very special.

    • 12:37

      JOSEFINE SPEYER: One should have death educationwhen one is healthy and fit.I think our attitude is changing and peopleare ready for a change.

Death and Bereavement counseling

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Josefine Speyer explains the Death Café movement, which encourages people to face the reality of death and to talk openly about it.

SAGE Video In Practice
Death and Bereavement counseling

Josefine Speyer explains the Death Café movement, which encourages people to face the reality of death and to talk openly about it.

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