Bereaved individual's embodied experiences at the moment of death within the context of them being physically present or absent

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Dvorjetz, L.
  • Subject: BF

Despite there being a vast amount of research within the field of bereavement, as well as death and dying, there are still some experiences which are yet to be explored within the literature. One of the aspects seen within the bereaved and medical communities is that of patients and relatives achieving a ‘good death’. The ‘good death’ has transpired as being physically present at the moment of someone’s death. Although there have been a handful of studies which have looked at presence at the moment of death, the current study explored the embodied experiences of bereaved people who were physically present or absent at the moment of death. Nine participants took part in semi-structured interviews, which explored how they made sense of the phenomenon. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the transcripts and what emerged were three inter-connective super-ordinate themes of: ‘connecting to the body and emotions’, ‘putting the moment of death into the wider context’ and ‘endings and beginnings’. Participants spoke of their relationship with their bodies, their emotions and the dying person’s body. As the experiences were context bound, participants mentioned the challenges of choice at the moment of death and the connectivity to their wider family and societal networks. Finally, physical presence or absence at the moment of death not only brought about the significance of saying goodbye but also life changes in response to the event. These findings go against the longstanding medicalied view of death to offer a different way of looking at bereavement as well as death and dying. In doing so, they offer application to practice for counselling psychologists, but also those working with the dying as an attempt to incorporate the body into providing holistic care to people.
  • References (8)

    Part A: Introduction and the start of therapy .......................................................... 13 Rationale for the choice of the case .............................................................. 13 Background information about the client ..................................................... 13 The context for the work ............................................................................... 13 Initial impressions .......................................................................................... 14 Convening the first session ............................................................................ 14 Summary of theoretical orientation .............................................................. 16 Negotiating a contract and therapeutic aims................................................ 19

    Part B: Development of the therapy ........................................................................ 19 Beginning of therapy...................................................................................... 19 Middle of therapy .......................................................................................... 21

    Part D: References and appendices.......................................................................... 29 References ..................................................................................................... 29 Appendix 1: Figure 1 - The continuum of experience (Gillie, 2010) ............. 32 Appendix 2: Reflective diary entry................................................................. 33

    Discussion ................................................................................................................ 130 Contextualising the findings................................................................... 130 Super-ordinate theme 1: Connecting to the body and emotions............. 132 Super-ordinate theme 2: Putting the moment of death into the wider context............................................................................................... 137 Super-ordinate theme 3: Endings and beginnings ..................................... 143 Practical application .................................................................................... 146 Implications for counselling psychology .......................................... 147 Implications in a wider context ........................................................ 148 Implications to the end-of-life care context..................................... 149 Limitations and suggestions for further research ...................................... 150 Methodological, personal and embodied reflexivity................................. 152 Methodological reflexivity................................................................ 152 Personal reflexivity ........................................................................... 155 Embodied reflexivity......................................................................... 156

    Appendices .......................................................................................................................... 169 Appendix 1: Recruitment poster.................................................................. 169 Appendix 2: Table of participant demographic information ....................... 170 Appendix 3: City University ethics release form .......................................... 171 Appendix 4: Semi-structured interview schedule........................................ 176 Appendix 5: Consent form ........................................................................... 177 Appendix 6: Debrief form............................................................................. 178 Appendix 7: Extract from reflective diary .................................................... 179 Appendix 8: Example transcript notation .................................................... 180 Appendix 9: Example list of emergent themes from a transcript................ 181 Appendix 10: Table of sub-themes and direct quotes................................. 182 Appendix 11: Picture of clustering sub-themes from all participants together............................................................................... 183 Appendix 12: Table of initial master themes ............................................... 184

    Part 3: Publishable Paper.................................................................................................... 186 Physical absence at the moment of death: The embodied experience of bereaved individuals

    Saunders, C. (1996). Hospice. Mortality, 1(3), 317-322.

    Participant name45

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