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PSYC 3560 (1)
Chapter 1

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 3560
Professor
Stephen Fleming
Semester
Fall

Description
Education About Death, Dying and Bereavement - Death-awareness movement or thanatology – focused on life and living considered from the perspective of death and dying - Some of the concerns that helped death education thrive: o (1) Interest in the subject of the work they were already doing o (2) Others were preparing to enter some profession or vocation in which they expected to be asked to help people who are coping with death, dying, or bereavement (education, medicine etc) o (3) Dealing with the aftermath of an unresolved encounter with death in their own lives o (4) Struggling to cope with a current death-related experience in their lives o (5) Simply curious about some subject or issue in the field of death, dying and bereavement, perhaps because of media reports of mass deaths, stories about homicide committed by juveniles, or debates about physician-assisted suicide o (6) Prepare for personal experiences that might or could be expected to arise in the future - Education alone may not be sufficient to address the needs of individuals who are unable to cope with difficult personal experiences by themselves What is Death Education Like? - Formal or planned death education is usually associated with programs of organized instruction of the type found in schools, colleges, graduate education, professional workshops, and volunteer training programs - Lessons from Lions: Using Children’s Media to Teach about Grief and Mourning o This slim booklet provides an outline for discussion to encourage discussion about 3 common but unhelpful reactions following a loss: o (1) Running away from the problem, the pain, and those who know and love you best o (2) Pretending the bad thing never happened o (3) Never telling anyone about your grief reactions - Informal or unplanned death education is more typical and more widespread, although it may not always be recognized for what it is o Most human beings first learn about loss, sadness, and coping in the arms of a parent or guardian and through interactions within a family or similar social group o They also learn about death, dying, and bereavement from their own experiences, the people they meet throughout their lives, and events in which they take part o The Internet can also contribute to informal death education – for example, if you search the Internet for the phrase virtual autopsy, you will be led to some sites that offer case examples of death scenarios, ask the reader to identify their possible causes, and then explain the actual causes of these deaths - Opportunities for informal death education also emerge naturally from teachable moments o These are the unanticipated events in life that offer important occasions for developing useful educational insights and lessons, as well as for personal growth th o For example, a natural disaster, an act of violence like the horrific events of September 11 Four Dimensions of Death Education - Four central dimensions of death education, relating to what people know, how they feel, how they behave, and what they value are the: cognitive, affective, behavioural, and valuational dimensions of death education - Death education is most obviously a cognitive or intellectual enterprise because it provides factual information about death-related experiences and tries to help us understand or interpret those events o For example, death education offers facts about death-related encounters, insights into the American death system and cultural patterns among different groups of Americans, and information about topics like suicide o Also, death education identifies new ways of organizing or interpreting the data of human experience o Such a cognitive reorganization took place in the early 1980s when some physicins observed relatively rare forms of skin cancer and pneumonia in an unusually high number of young, otherwise healthy, homosexual males o These observations helped to identify a new disease and cause of death – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - The affective dimension of death education has to do with feelings, emotions, and at
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