May 17 2008

Suicide, ethics, and end of life care dilemmas for families: Use of guided imagery

I invited Susan to use guided imagery to speak directly with her brother Bob. She worried that she did the wrong thing by not stopping his suicide. Using imagery might help her resolve this dilemma for herself.

I helped Susan follow her breathing inward to find a deeper place of peace and relaxation. I then asked her to allow an image to form of her brother Bob in her mind’s eye. She did so and I encouraged her to ask whatever questions she could and hear Bob’s answers.

Susan’s eyes filled with tears. She began to cry, smile and shake her head in a knowing sort of way. I could feel her brother Bob in the room with us. After a few moments, I asked her what she was experiencing.

She told me that Bob appeared to her and immediately reassured her that she had done the right thing to care for him so lovingly and unselfishly at the time of his death.
We met a few more times. Each time we talked about how much she loved and missed Bob. She was much more content and accepting of his death.

What she was left with most of all was the sadness that his illness caused his death…she understood that her brother loved life and fought hard to live.

For Susan, it was the cancer that killed Bob and she could live with the memory of his end of life choices.

I invited Susan to use guided imagery to speak directly with her brother Bob. She worried that she did the wrong thing by not stopping his suicide. Using imagery might help her resolve this dilemma for herself, rather than worry about this forever.

I helped Susan follow her breathing inward to find a deeper place of peace and relaxation. I then asked her to allow an image to form of her brother Bob in her mind’s eye. She did so and I encouraged her to ask whatever questions she could and hear Bob’s answers.

Susan’s eyes filled with tears. She began to cry, smile and shake her head in a knowing sort of way. I could feel her brother Bob in the room with us. After a few moments, I asked her what she was experiencing.

She told me that Bob appeared to her and immediately reassured her that she had done the right thing to care for him so lovingly and unselfishly at the time of his death.
We met a few more times. Each time we talked about how much she loved and missed Bob. She was much more content and accepting of his death.

What she was left with most of all was the sadness that his illness caused his death…she understood that her brother loved life and fought hard to live.

For Susan, it was the cancer that killed Bob and she could live with the memory of his end of life choices.

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