New and bestselling titles on spiritual care and chaplaincy

Browse our latest collection of new and bestselling titles in spiritual care and chaplaincy below. For more information on any of the titles, simply click on the book cover image or title to view the full book information page.

You can also download a free PDF version of this leaflet here

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Breaking the final taboo – a talk with Dying Matters.

Final Chapters: Writings About the End of Life is a moving collection of short stories and poetry pieces originally written for a competition run by the Dying Matters Coalition. We caught up their Director of Communications, Joe Levenson, to find out more about the idea behind the competition and why they believe a collection such as this can be not only moving but also significant in getting us all to open up about that final taboo – death and dying. 

Final Chapters: we need to talk about dying

Joe Levenson

Every minute, someone in the UK dies but for many people talking about dying and facing up to their own mortality remains the final taboo, something either to be ignored or postponed indefinitely for a day that many of us like to believe will never come.

While most of us say we’re comfortable talking about dying, the reality is that the majority of people are still shunning important conversations and practical actions to manage their end of life care and final affairs. This reluctance to talk about dying also means that shared experience, which could be a real source of comfort and support, is often hard to come by.

It was against this backdrop that the Dying Matters Coalition was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care in 2009, with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of talking more openly about dying, death and bereavement. With over 30,000 members from across the voluntary, public and commercial sectors Dying Matters is at the forefront of trying to make it easier for everyone to talk about dying.

For many people writing about dying can be less difficult than talking about it and more therapeutic. That’s why Dying Matters initially launched its Final Chapters creative writing competition, and why we are so delighted that a collection of 30 short stories of poems from the competition has just been published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Final Chapters

Final Chapters

This collection provides a great opportunity to think and talk about dying, death and bereavement – too often a taboo subject – and we hope that it will appeal to a wide range of readers. We also want it to become required reading for all those with a professional interest in end of life care.

So taken were we by the response to the Final Chapters competition which saw 1,400 entries including many of an exceptionally high standard, we have also just announced the launch of a new writing competition, While there’s still time: writing about putting things right. We really hope this will provide another great opportunity for people to use the medium of short stories and poems to reflect on end of life issues.

Certainties in life are few but dying is one of them. That’s why we hope that as well as providing a great read, Final Chapters plays a part in breaking the taboo about discussing dying.

By talking more openly about end of life issues and taking actions such as writing a will, recording our funeral wishes, registering as an organ donor, planning our future care and sharing what we would want with our loved ones we can help to ensure that we all get the chance to live well until we die.

You only die once, so don’t leave it too late to make your wishes known or to provide support to those who need it.

Joe Levenson is Director of Communications at the National Council for Palliative Care which leads the Dying Matters Coalition. Find out more about Dying Matters here.

You can also follow them on twitter: @DyingMatters

#YODO

Karen Watchman on Intellectual Disability and Dementia

Karen Watchman, Lecturer in Dementia at the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, and editor of the new book Intellectual Disability and Dementia, joined us for a short interview. She talks about how she became involved in the field, and gives her advice for those working with and supporting people with intellectual disabilities and dementia.

How did you get involved with this area of study?
I spent many years as Director of Down’s Syndrome Scotland where I worked alongside families and people with Down syndrome of all ages. There was even less research conducted about dementia in people with intellectual disabilities at that time which spurred me on to complete a Masters degree in Dementia followed by a PhD researching the experiences of people with Down syndrome and dementia. So, whilst I have an academic interest in this area I am very much grounded in practice and in ensuring that information is made available in an accessible format.
My Great Aunt had Down syndrome and, unusually for the period in which she grew up, lived at home with family into her adult years. So it came as no surprise when research started showing the link between quality of life and increased life expectancy.

 

People with disabilities are living for longer and as a result we are seeing more people with intellectual disabilities than ever develop dementia as they age. What training is available for carers and professionals to help deal with this increase?Watchman Intellectual Disability and Dementia 9781849054225
Typically in the UK, staff, volunteers and carers supporting people with an intellectual disability do not have training in dementia. Similarly, staff supporting older people with dementia do not have training in intellectual disabilities, despite many younger people (especially with Down syndrome) being diagnosed, and some moved inappropriately to care homes for older people.
This is slowly starting to change but there is still not enough interdisciplinary exchange of learning. Training and courses that I deliver where staff attend from across sectors are very valuable, as participants learn from each other. However, it is not just intellectual disability or dementia services – equally important, especially as dementia progresses, is the input of all allied health and palliative professions and that there is partnership working with all services talking to each other and to carers, and all being consistent in their approach.

 

 

Are they any particular methods or activities which are helpful in explaining a dementia diagnosis to someone with an intellectual disability?
This is an area addressed in the book and is something that doesn’t receive enough attention currently. As a result there is inconsistency in practice. Information about a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of dementia is not routinely shared with the person who has an intellectual disability, despite UK dementia strategies maintaining that everyone has a right to know of their diagnosis. We need to think more about how this can be done with people who have an intellectual disability and embrace non-verbal communication methods too.

 

 

What should staff or carers be aware of in order to be able to support people with an intellectual disability and dementia?
Someone who already works alongside people with an intellectual disability is likely to have been trained to support people to maximise their independence, to work towards independent living or community involvement to the best of their ability. Their work will be person centred and will be focused on the needs of each individual. There is an element or re-learning required by staff when the person with an intellectual disability has a diagnosis of dementia. The work should still be person centred and based around the individual but as capacity and cognitive ability change there is an associated need to change the way that staff, volunteers, family and friends provide support.
Carers also need information about interventions – this may or may not include medication. Social interventions such as meaningful activities and life story work are also essential. Awareness of contraindications with medication is important especially as many people with intellectual disabilities are over-prescribed anti-psychotic medication.
Specific knowledge of dementia that needs to be shared with staff, volunteers, family and friends include: what dementia is, different types of dementia and how each affects the person, early signs (this can differ from early signs in older people without an intellectual disability), environmental adaptation to ensure that accommodation is appropriate to the persons changing needs, communication changes and physical changes that will occur as the condition progresses. I am often asked for help with what is perceived as a behavioural issue, but with appropriate information or training there is a realisation that if we get the environment, communicating and our approach right – this is what has caused the changes in behaviour.  We need to work out the triggers and acknowledge our role in this – often a change in behaviour is caused by us not understanding the person and not providing appropriate support.

Intellectual Disability and Dementia is due to be published May 2014. 
Karen Watchman is the editor of the book as well as an experienced expert in working with intellectual disabilities. 

 

Helping people through the holidays.

In this blog post, John Wilson, bereavement counsellor and author of Supporting People through Loss and Grief, shares some thoughts on how grieving people can cope with the difficult holiday season, and how those around can try to help and support them.  

Supporting People through Loss and Grief cover

Supporting People through Loss and Grief

This Christmas will be Sophie’s first since her husband David* died in early Spring 2013. Her eyes filled with tears as she recalled a long-standing family tradition. Each year since the children were small, the family would drive to a plantation in a country park and select their Christmas tree. They would all sing along to festive music on the car stereo, and once home, would decorate the tree together.

In her grief counselling session, Sophie and I, her counsellor, were discussing how she and her three children should buy their tree this year. Should they try to continue the family ritual as if Dad was still with them, or should they do something entirely new? Sophie had talked to her children, who were certain that they wanted to continue the tradition.

At times such as this, there is no escaping the reality of a loved-one’s absence; a situation rendered even more poignant by a holiday others are celebrating. Be it a religious or secular holiday, a birthday or an anniversary, the loss of those we loved and continue to love, evokes bittersweet memories.

Of course David, husband and father, will be with his family when they choose their tree. He will be in their hearts and thoughts; more so perhaps, if they are brave enough to continue this and other rituals in his fond memory. One of the many things my bereaved clients have taught me is the power of symbolic meaning. David will be with his family symbolically. This is not at all the same as pretending that nothing has changed, because for this family, a lot will be different this holiday and on all future holidays.

Not so very long ago, it was believed that to overcome grief, the bereaved needed to relinquish the lost loved-one. “Let them go and move on”, we were told. We accept now that bonds with the deceased can continue. This does not mean clinging on vainly to the past, but it allows the life of our lost parent, child, sibling, lover or friend, to become part of our future. The lessons they taught us, the examples they set us, the values they lived by and the jokes and stories they shared, become immortal; family lore which we can choose to bequeath to each new generation.

Symbolism and ritual are valuable human activities. At festivals and holidays we will inevitably be drawn to think about those no longer with us, whether we like it or not, so let us deliberately and consciously embrace the opportunity to recall the ways in which they continue to affect our life. At the hospice where I work, and at many hospices, relatives can sponsor a light on a tree at Christmas. We call it “Light Up a Life”. The switching on ceremony is emotional, but both happy and sad thoughts are evoked, and in many cases shared. Whoever it is you have lost, there is something helpful in knowing you are not alone in your grief; a reason why collective memorial events serve to heal. You may consider lighting a candle or taking flowers to a grave or to a special place significant to your loved-one. Perhaps you might make a donation to a charity in his or her name.

Not every bereaved person has close family nearby. Childless people bereaved of a spouse often struggle when they lack the continued sense of purpose and meaning which comes to those lucky enough to have children, or even grandchildren. It is easier to maintain a sense of purpose when you have this motivation to “keep cheerful”. Bereaved spouses with no dependents have to find novel, symbolic ways to continue a bond with the partner they have lost. One of my clients would retrace the steps of a favourite moorland path she and her late husband had often walked. At holidays and anniversaries she felt that this brought them closer together. It was important to her that she walked the route alone, to give herself time for reflection. This need for solitude can be very important. For many newly grieving people, December marks the end of a sad year and the hope of a new start. Many bereaved spouses have told me that they would like to have some time on their own on Christmas Day, but that well-meaning relatives will not allow it. If you have a recently bereaved friend or family member who has asked to be alone, at least for some of the day, please try to support this wish. Remember that being alone is not the same as being lonely, and that sometimes the loneliest place to be is in a room full of happy people.

When I see my clients for the last time before New Year, generally in mid-December, I say to them ”Try to have the best time you can”, because to say, ”Enjoy yourself” would be insensitive and unhelpful. There are ways to make a difficult time of year more bearable, and I hope that here I have provided a few pointers.

*Sophie and David are pseudonyms. The real ‘Sophie’ has read this text and has given consent for her story to be told.

 

John’s book, Supporting People through Loss and Grief, will be published 21st December 2013. You can read more of his expert advice by following @JWilsonOnline on Twitter.

New and bestselling books on music therapy

Our latest catalogue of new and bestselling books on Music Therapy is now available to view online, including new titles ‘Music Technology in Therapeutic and Health Settings’ by Wendy Magee, ‘Musical Encounters with Dying’ by Islene Runningdeer, and ‘Mindfulness and the Arts Therapies’ by Laury Rappaport.

You can simply click on any title or cover for more information or to buy.


 

 

The comfort of music at the end of life – an extract from Musical Encounters with Dying

Runningdeer_Musical-Encount_978-1-84905-936-7_colourjpg-webWhile teaching piano to an adult student, an unexpected diagnosis led Islene Runningdeer to explore how music could provide a deep sense of comfort and support at the end of life.

Read more about the story here

This extract is taken from Musical Encounters with Dying, in which Islene Runningdeer shares many moving and inspirational tales about her work with patients facing death. This supportive guide considers the key ingredients for bringing music into palliative care settings such as creating a therapeutic relationship, helping patients to reach final goals, showing sensitivity to cultural contexts, and dealing with difficult emotions.

 

 

What do you say to someone who is bereaved? JKP author Judy Carole Kauffmann advises

In every Bereavement and Loss workshop that I have facilitated over the years, regardless of the role of the participant, the question of universal interest seems to be  ‘what do we say when we don’t know what to say?’

The Essential Guide to Life After Bereavement cover.

The Essential Guide to Life After Bereavement.

Everyone it seems is afraid of saying the wrong thing, and the more tragic the loss the greater our fear. So why is it so hard for us to know what to say when someone has been bereaved? Is it possible to say the wrong thing?  Does it matter what we say, as long as we convey by our tone of voice and facial expression the fact that we care?

In both my personal and profession experience there are certain phrases and actions that are more helpful than others, but without any shadow of doubt the worst action of all is no action at all.

Because we don’t know what to say, we may go out of our way to avoid the person who has been bereaved by literally or figuratively crossing the road to avoid them. Thus we are in a sense punishing them for something that was out of their control. We are isolating them at a time when they most need support. Sometimes all that sustains the person going through a crisis is the knowledge that other people care. They need to be wrapped in a symbolic blanket of love and support. So, how can we best comfort those in emotional pain?

‘I don’t know what to say’ and ‘I’m so sorry to hear’ are quite helpful expressions and cover most eventualities; ‘I wish I knew what to say’ is another variation on the theme.

‘Is there is anything I can do?’ needs to be backed up with something concrete. For example ‘if there is anything I can do this is my e-mail’ (for a work environment) on a personal level you could say ‘I am not working on Monday, would you like to meet for coffee?’  Alternatively ‘I’m going to the supermarket can I do any shopping for you?’ or ‘would you like me to pick up your kids from school?’ if appropriate.

Practical offers of help are often welcome and much more helpful than an empty ‘if you need anything don’t hesitate to call me’ which often makes the speaker feel virtuous,  but leaves the recipient unfulfilled and unlikely to take up your offer believing, possibly correctly, that it is not meant.

If the bereaved person says ‘I miss him/her so much’ a reasonable response could be ‘what do you miss most about him/her?’ allowing the person the opportunity to talk about their loss rather than trying to change the subject.

Trying to jolly them along with comments such as ‘but you have two lovely children/grandchildren to take your mind off him/her’ is not helpful.  It may make you feel better because you have said something to ‘cheer them up’ but you will not be helping them at all.

The ‘why did this happen to me?’ type of unanswerable questions that  many professional and non professional carers fear,  can be answered with ‘I wish I knew the answer’ or ‘I wish I knew what to say that would help’

The point is that is not essential to have an endless supply of wise words. The person you are with needs to know that you care and that you want to be supportive. It is not necessary to have a brilliant philosophical response.

The importance lies in being there and being able and willing to really listen, giving that person your whole attention.

To truly give someone your full attention without interrupting them is a gift, and if you can listen without giving them your unsolicited advice, your experiences, or what your neighbour did in similar circumstances, it is a rare gift indeed. 

Judy Carole Kauffmann is the co-author of The Essential Guide to Life after Bereavement – Beyond Tomorrow  (Jessica Kingsley July 2013) and End of Life the Essential Guide to Caring (Hammersmith Press 2010). She facilitates workshops on Bereavement and Loss and can be contacted on 07919 072111. I f you’d like to find out more about her work, visit End-of-Life Management.

Reminiscence in Dementia Care – An Extract from ‘Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today’.

'Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today' cover image

‘Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today.’

This week is Dementia Awareness Week in the UK, so we thought it would be the perfect time to share an extract from one of our classic books on using reminiscence to improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

This excerpt has been taken from the book Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today  by Pam Schweitzer and Errollyn Bruce, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Schweitzer and Bruce – ‘Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today’ – extract

Visit our website to get additional information or to order a copy of Remebering Yesterday, Caring Today by Pam Schweitzer and Errollyn Bruce.

Celebrating What Does Dead Mean? at the House of Commons

JKP Commissioning Editor Caroline Walton and Marketing Executive Claudine Harris were delighted to attend an event at the House of Commons on Wednesday 6th February to celebrate the publication of What Does Dead Mean?  A Book for Young Children to Help Explain Death and Dying.

The event was hosted by the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP and the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust (ALMT), and also celebrated the work of the ALMT and their collaboration with bereavement counsellor and co-author of What Does Dead Mean?, Jenni Thomas.

It was both a moving and uplifting evening. Speeches were given by Keith Vaz, the authors of the book Caroline Jay and Jenni Thomas, and Nick Lawson, the founder of the ALMT. Two short films were shown, the first of a young boy, bereaved of his sister, reading and talking about the book. The second of a six year old boy and his sister talking about their mother who had recently died of breast cancer. The film was shot 20 years ago, and the young boy, now grown up, was at the event.

These moving films, as well as the reading of a beautiful poem written by a bereaved mother, served to highlight the importance of a book that helps children to try to understand what ‘dead’ means, and to talk about their feelings. Jenni Thomas, a bereavement counsellor of many years’ experience, spoke of how important it is that children can ask questions about death and be given clear answers.

After the speeches and films, Keith Vaz very kindly treated us all to a wonderful tour of the Houses of Parliament, complete with tour guide patter, jokes, and greetings to politicians, Baronesses and others that we passed along the way! After a visit to the gallery of the House of Lords, where we happened to enter as John Prescott stood up to speak,  we were ushered on to the floor of the House of Commons, where we practiced our ‘hear hears’ and jeers!

The following day, Keith Vaz tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons which mentioned What Does Dead Mean? and noted that it helps adults to talk to children about death and dying.

You can read the Early Day Motion here:

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1049