Dr Kathryn Mannix spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. Starting in cancer care and changing career to become a pioneer of the new discipline of palliative medicine, she has worked as a palliative care consultant in teams in hospices, hospitals and in patients’ own homes, optimising quality of life even as death is approaching. She is passionate about public education, and having qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in 1993, she started the UK’s (possibly the world’s) first CBT clinic exclusively for palliative care patients, and devised ‘CBT First Aid’ training to enable palliative care colleagues to add new skills to their repertoire for helping patients.
Using her experience as a physician, psychotherapist, trainer and service lead, Kathryn presents stories that illustrate how we can better understand and prepare for death (our own or somebody else’s) in her bestseller ‘With The End In Mind,’ and then leads us through the art of Tender Conversations in her latest book, ‘Listen.’
When was the last time you felt really listened to?
Too often we listen for our turn to speak, instead of listening to really understand the other person’s perspective. Listening is the key to successful communication.
I’d like to turn the idea of a Difficult Conversation on its head.
Rather than wearing our armour and being guarded in conversations that really matter, let’s bring our tenderness.
I am on a mission to reclaim public understanding of dying.
I have helped to care for thousands of people at the very end of their lives and have seen first-hand the harm done by the Taboo of Death. Instead of dying, people ‘pass away’. They are not ‘dead’, but ‘late,’ ‘lost’ or ‘departed’.
It’s time to give each other permission to talk about death.
Confronting the process allows us to plan for and relate to our dearest people over the last part of their lives.
My weapon of choice for this campaign is stories.
These are stories about people who could have been your friend, your sister, your dad, your son. These are stories about how dying people embrace living not because they are unusual or brave, but because that’s what humans do. These are stories about normal humans, dying normal human deaths, and they offer us illumination, models for action, and hope.