Dying

A Transition

Monika Renz. Translated by Mark Kyburz and John Peck

Columbia University Press

Dying

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Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231170888

176 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $38.00£32.00

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231540230

176 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $37.99£32.00

Dying

A Transition

Monika Renz. Translated by Mark Kyburz and John Peck

Columbia University Press

This book introduces a process-based, patient-centered approach to palliative care that substantiates an indication-oriented treatment and radical reconsideration of our transition to death. Drawing on decades of work with terminally ill cancer patients and a trove of research on near-death experiences, Monika Renz encourages practitioners to not only safeguard patients' dignity as they die but also take stock of their verbal, nonverbal, and metaphorical cues as they progress, helping to personalize treatment and realize a more peaceful death.

Renz divides dying into three parts: pre-transition, transition, and post-transition. As we die, all egoism and ego-centered perception fall away, bringing us to another state of consciousness, a different register of sensitivity, and an alternative dimension of spiritual connectedness. As patients pass through these stages, they offer nonverbal signals that indicate their gradual withdrawal from everyday consciousness. This transformation explains why emotional and spiritual issues become enhanced during the dying process. Relatives and practitioners are often deeply impressed and feel a sense of awe. Fear and struggle shift to trust and peace; denial melts into acceptance. At first, family problems and the need for reconciliation are urgent, but gradually these concerns fade. By delineating these processes, Renz helps practitioners grow more cognizant of the changing emotions and symptoms of the patients under their care, enabling them to respond with the utmost respect for their patients' dignity.

A pioneering work on research about dying and a treasury of knowledge about dying processes, this book will promote our understanding, care, and guidance of terminally ill persons.

Pim van Lommel, cardiologist and author of Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience

Monika Renz is able to partially lift the veil shrouding the mystery of death. Based on her vast experience with the dying, her book provides an intimate and rich account of the phenomenological experience of the dying process.

Paul T. P. Wong, Trent University, president of the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute

A bold, probing investigation into how analogies and metaphors provide fresh access to dying as the ultimate mystery of human potential. A skillful analysis of patient vignettes render palpable many ineffable and unconscious dynamics of patients' experiences as they move from conventional ego-based schema through personal, transformative, beautiful, and even painful transitions. This insightful work is a compass for reducing suffering among the dying and the living.

Bruce L. Arnold, University of Calgary

This powerful book plumbs the existential depths of our ultimate transformation.

Network Review
Acknowledgments
Introduction: In Search of Inner Experiences of Dying
1. Dying and the Transformation of Perception
2. The Three Stages of Transition and Dignity
3. What Is Primordial Fear? "The 'I' Dies Into a 'Thou'"
4. Other Hearing: Beyond Space and Time
5. Metaphors of Transition
6. The Sites of Transition: Fear, Struggle, Acceptance, Family Processes, Maturation
7. Dying with Dignity: Indication-Oriented End-of-Life Care
Epilogue
Appendix
Notes
References
Index

Read an excerpt from the first chapter, "Dying and the Transformation of Perception":

About the Author

Monika Renz is a practicing psychotherapist, music therapist, theologian, and spiritual caregiver and has been head of the psycho-oncology unit at St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital, Switzerland, since 1998. She holds a Ph.D. in psychopathology and in theology/spirituality. An international lecturer and the author of several books, her research focuses on dying, spirituality, and spiritual care and can be found at www.monikarenz.ch.