This book combines a theoretical understanding of death anxiety with narratives recounting the life experiences of many individuals to illustrate how people can use an awareness of death to enhance their lives. The book discusses defensive reactions to death anxiety and offers guidelines to health practitioners on how to help clients overcome their fear of death. The authors set forth a new perspective, focusing on the ways that we try to protect ourselves from the anxiety and dread surrounding death. They show how defenses that offer comfort and an illusion of safety can lead to self-limiting, self-destructive ways of living. Challenging these defenses and learning to accept our feelings of sadness, anger, and fear about death can lead to more personal satisfaction, and expand the opportunity for self-realization. Topics include children's awareness of death, effects of death anxiety in every day life, defenses against death anxiety, challenging defenses that interfere with living fully, and more.
Part I: The Impact of Death Awareness on Everyday Life; Chapter 1: Overview; Chapter 2: The Uncharted Terrain of Death; Chapter 3: Children's Dawning Awareness of Death; Chapter 4: Effects of Death Anxiety in Everyday Life; Chapter 5: Literal and Symbolic Defenses against Death Anxiety; Chapter 6: Microsuicide: Death of the Spirit; Part II: Core Defenses against Death Anxiety.