Grief, Loss, Death & Dying

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Brief History of DeathA Commonsense Book of DeathA Message from JakieAfter SuicideAfter You'd GoneAfterwardsAliveAll Alone in the UniverseAll Rivers Flow to the SeaAll Seasons PassAnd a Time to DieAt the End of WordsBefore and After LossBeing with DyingBequest and BetrayalBereftBeyond GoodbyeBeyond the Good DeathBodies in Motion and at RestCatalystComfortConfessions of a Grieving ChristianContemplative AgingCoping With TraumaCrispinDarwin's WormsDeathDeath and CompassionDeath BenefitsDeath in the ClassroomDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDeath of a ParentDeath's DoorDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDon't Go Where I Can't FollowDriving My FatherDying in the Twenty-First CenturyElegy for IrisErasing DeathEthical WillsEthics at the End of LifeEvenings at FiveExtreme MeasuresFacing Death: Elisabeth Kubler-RossFatal AttachmentsFinishing Our StoryFortress of My YouthGhost at the WindowGoing Through Hell Without Help From AboveGood GriefGoodbye RuneGraceful ExitsGrave MattersGrieving for ChildrenHealing ConversationsHello from Heaven!History of SuicideHonoring GriefHonoring the Dead and Facing DeathHow We GrieveHuman Dignity and Assisted DeathI Remain in DarknessI Wasn't Ready to Say GoodbyeIn the Wake of SuicideIt Takes a Worried ManLayoverLearning to FallLiberating LossesLife after LossLiving and Dying WellLosing Mum and PupLossLost in the ForestLove Is a Mix TapeLove That DogMaking Sense of SuicideMars and Venus - Starting Over.Michael Rosen's Sad BookMortal DilemmasNight Falls FastNobody's Child AnymoreOlive's OceanOn Life After DeathOne Last Hug Before I GoOne More WednesdayParting CompanyPeaceful Death, Joyful RebirthR.I.P.Reason's GriefRemembering GeorgySaying It Out LoudSeeing the CrabShooterSome Thing BlackSpeak to MeStandbyStayStill HereSuicidal ThoughtsSurviving HitlerThe Art of LosingThe AwakeningThe Boy on the Green BicycleThe Bright HourThe Cambridge Companion to Life and DeathThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Color of AbsenceThe Dead Fathers ClubThe Death of a ChildThe DisappearanceThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related DisordersThe Lovely BonesThe Measure of Our DaysThe Mercy PapersThe MiracleThe Modern Art of DyingThe Other Side of SadnessThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of DeathThe ScarThe TravelersThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Truth About GriefThe UndertakingThe Way of TransitionThe Work of MourningTo Die WellTuesdays with MorrieUnderstanding GriefWakeWhat Dying People WantWhen Breath Becomes AirWitWrinklesYoung@Heart

Related Topics
Healing ConversationsReview - Healing Conversations
What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say
by Nance Guilmartin
Jossey-Bass, 2002
Review by Markus Wolf, D.Litt et Phil
Jun 17th 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 25)

Most if not all of us have been with someone we have wanted to help through a difficult time.  How should we best do so?  What should we best say and how should we say it to comfort someone in destress?  Or how should we best ask for or accept help when we need it?  Nance Guilmartin has made a laudible attempt to describe numerous difficult situations and possible ways of dealing with them in Healing Conversations: What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say.  Sometimes it may be quite easy to comfort someone or give good advice, at other times it may be a whole lot more difficult, and in still more difficult situations, listening may be the only comfort we can give.

Guilmartin emphasises the importance of listening and its healing potential.  Showing that one cares in the appropriate manner can sometimes bridge a difficult communication gap.  Listening is much more than just being quiet.  It’s about paying attention to what people say, what they don’t say, and what they mean.  It is important to any healing conversation.  A meaningful conversation is much more than just talking or asking questions.  The stories Guilmartin presents aim at making us more sensitive to how persons feel in similar situations, and in my opinion, they are effective in attaining their objective.

The stories range from how to start a healing conversation, asking for help, a reminder that what comforts you may not comfort someone else, what to do when you don’t have the answers, to mention only a few.  The problems dealt with range from coping with the end of a relationship, bankrupcy, a serious or terminal illness, facing surgery, waiting for test results, the difference between a cure and healing to how to be with someone in pain.  Difficult conversations at work are also illuminated, e.g. when staff don’t get along, how to deal with angry customers, giving and receiving critical feedback, or dealing with the difficulties of being laid off.  Difficulties arising from divorce, having to live alone, and the pains of death are also dealt with.  The book is written in an easy-to-read style and aims to appeal to all of us who face difficult situations, not only at counsellers and therapists, although they are almost certain to benefit too from it.  A list of useful sources is also provided at the end of the book.

I recommend Healing Conversations as a well written, interesting and useful book.


© 2003 Markus Wolf


Markus Wolf recently attained his doctorate in philosophy through the University of South Africa (UNISA), one of the leading distance education universities.  He lives in Austria where he now works as a general translator for the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (Österreichischer Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband) and as a general librarian in their audio library. His aim is to continue with philosophy professionally, either through a teaching position or as a philosophical counsellor.




Welcome to Metapsychology.

Note that Metapsychology will be moving to a new server in January 2020. We will not put up new reviews during the transition. We thank you for your support and look forward to coming back with a revised format.

We feature over 8300 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716