Grief and Loss Session Helpful
From Therapy Times - Radiation Oncology
Article by Dr. Charles von Gunten
March 25, 2011 - The following is a reprint from the Therapy Times - Radiation Oncology newsletter, Volume 1, issue 2..
On March 22, 2011, Dr. Charles von Gunten  gave a wonderful presentation on dealing with Grief and Loss. The session provided in- sight to feelings that we all share about grief, but sel- dom allow ourselves the time to deal with.
We had an interesting exer- cise that required opening up to someone about a loss, while the listener did just that, and only that. They listened. We learned that it's not easy talking for four minutes while some- one only listens. It makes us feel uncomfortable, insecure, worried that we're burdening the listener. And we learned that, as the lis- tener, we wanted to reas- sure with words but found that the conversation took interesting and unexpected turns, that had we inter- jected, we may never have had the privilege of hearing.
In our profession, we deal with losing patients that become like family to us. We spend five days a week for months with our pa- tients learning about them, listening and providing comfort as well as providing top notch healthcare. We
work very hard to balance time, care and compassion and we do it with joy in our hearts.
It was nice to hear that we all feel the same on the inside, and that we all struggle with dealing with the losses we experience. But as Patsy put it, "thinking about what we've lost hurts, but it makes us smile too, because we re- member the good things."
A special thanks to Carmen Ayala for help with coordination.
"To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which ex- cludes the ability to experi- ence happiness"
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