From triple helix - winter 2016 - Spiritual Care at the end of life [p20-21]
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Jessica Kingsley, 2015, £18.99, 360pp, ISBN 9781849051996
Reviewed by Gareth Tuckwell, formerly of Burrswood Christian Hospital, now Regional Director of Macmillan Cancer Support
Within your working life, have you ever felt that you had nothing to offer when faced with a dying person or their family? This book is invaluable if you find yourself alongside someone who is dying.
The reader is drawn into a series of moments between a chaplain and a person who is dying. The author reflects with rich learning that is not only well researched but authentic. He develops his theory of the chaplain as a 'hopeful presence' - a presence that moves from a transference-loaded first contact to a hope-enhancing relationship.
Nolan encourages us that, when our therapeutic armoury is exhausted, what we have to offer relationally can be even more important. A personcentred relationship with the dying person often has a transforming therapeutic dynamic. At the heart of good end-of-life care is having the courage to be a loving 'presence' as much as controlling symptoms.
The balance between professionalism and humanity is never an easy ride. Can we be both professional and human whilst bringing the light and love of Jesus into our relationships? How do we enable the person who is sick to be the person they need to be?