A Place of Healing: Working with Nature and Soul at the End of Life


 A Place of Healing: Working with Nature and Soul at the End of Life

by Michael Kearney

10.0 hours of CE Credit                       Cost = $100.00

(Cost includes test only - book must be purchased separately.   See below for more details and a link to Amazon's page for this book)

Advanced level
73-question true/false + multiple choice test

This book takes the position that modern medicine (the medical model) is invaluable, but has become divorced from other ways of working with patients which could support their health, emotional lives and help with the existential questions brought about by illness and the idea of impending death.  Dr. Kearney looks to the ancient Greek god Asklepios and the history and mythology around Asklepian healing for an approach that could (and in his hands does) complement modern medicine.  This approach uses Depth Psychology, dreamwork and the idea that it is who the healer is – not what she knows – that matters in helping with these existential concerns.

The book is divided into five sections.  The first sets a context for what is to come with an overview of healing and curing, pain and suffering and some of the experience of patients with chronic or incurable disease.  The second section takes us into ancient history and describes the types of curing and healing available in ancient times.  Here Dr. Kearney goes into detail about the origins and ideas of Asklepian healing.  The third section focuses on the theoretical grounding of Dr. Kearney’s work with chronically ill and end of life patients.  Section four describes the type of knowledge and education a carer or healer needs to work with these patients and describes in some detail two types of workshops that can be implemented to train carers (who may or may not be trained psychotherapists).  The final section describes in detail two case studies illustrating the use of Dr. Kearney’s methods.  Dr. Kearney’s work is strongly influenced by Jungian Psychology and Depth Psychology and uses dreamwork extensively.

The book is beautiful in the way that Dr. Kearney integrates creative material such as poetry, literature, and visual art into his prose in order to illustrate and help his reader understand on an emotional level what he is discussing at an intellectual level. The book is packed with information and incorporates liberal use of ancient texts and quotations from Jung and others.   It would be of interest to mental health professionals who enjoy the use of this artistic and intellectual material and are interested in Jungian approaches to Health Psychology or End Of Life issues, together with those who are interested in learning about dreamwork for use in this context.  The book is sometimes challenging, and would not be appropriate for those who are unfamiliar with or uninterested in complementary approaches to medical treatment and/or dreamwork and/or analytic approaches to healing.

Course objectives:

1.    To be able to define curing and Hippocratic medicine and contrast that with healing and Asklepian medicine.

2.    To be able to describe Dr. Kearney’s view of the difference between of pain and suffering.

3.    To be able to give reasons why the current medical model would benefit from partnering with the Asklepian/healing model of Dr. Kearney.

4.    To be able to describe how Dr. Kearney’s dreamwork can be helpful to people with chronic illness or end of life issues and to distinguish between basic types of patients who would benefit and patients who should not engage in this type of work.

5.    To be able to describe the type of dreamwork used by Dr. Kearney and to list the steps used to implement that work.

6.    To be able to outline at least one workshop designed to train carers in the use of Dr. Kearney’s dreamwork.

292 pages; 269 pages of text + Bibliography & Further Reading, Index

Michael Kearney, M.D. trained and worked at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London where he worked with Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement.  He subsequently served for many years as the Medical Director of Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin and then worked at McGill University in Montreal.  He is currently the Medical Director of the Palliative Care Service at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California.  Dr. Kearney’s psychological work draws heavily from Jungian Psychology and Depth Psychology and he is a frequent speaker and presence at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.