Give Sorrow Words: Working with a Dying Child: Third Edition

Author(s) : Dorothy Judd

Give Sorrow Words: Working with a Dying Child: Third Edition

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Though there has been much written about dying and bereavement in recent years, the particular stress of terminal illness in childhood - as it affects both the families and the professionals - is only beginning to be better understood. In this book Dorothy Judd, a child psychotherapist who has worked with ill, disabled and dying children and adolescents for many years, places her clinical experience in the context of a full understanding of death, the moral and ethical issues raised by some of the treatments for life-threatening illness, and the current research into new developments in approaches to terminal illness. At the heart of the book is a very moving diary of Judd's work with Robert, a seven-year-old suffering from leukaemia. Judd's account of therapeutic work in the hospital setting, away from the privacy of the consulting room, will be of special interest to mental health professionals. Give Sorrow Words combines great sensitivity to the experience of terminal illness with an astute awareness of the more theoretical debates in this increasingly important area of research.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Every health-care professional looking after children with life threatening illnesses should read this book to enable them to communicate more easily with dying children and their families, to see things in a different light, and to think twice about what we sometimes put children through. Dorothy Judd’s account of her work with Robert, a seven-year-old, dying after a bone marrow transplant, is compelling reading that moved me to tears. Doctors and nurses caring for children who are dying, or may die, can learn new ways of dealing with what are often intolerable situations from reading this book. Dorothy Judd’s book remains as relevant today as when it was first written.’
— Dr Heather Mackinnon, consultant paediatrician

‘This remarkable book was first published about twenty-five years ago and it is splendid that it will now be made available again. The study of children’s attitudes to and understanding of death, and the nature of adult responses to the task of caring for children who may die, is illuminated by a detailed and profoundly moving diary of Dorothy Judd’s work as a psychotherapist with a seven-year-old boy during the last three months of his life. The combination of careful scholarship and clinical imagination and courage displayed in the writing shows a mind at full stretch. The memorable heart of the book is her engagement with the meaning of childhood cancer to her little patient, his parents, and the doctors and nurses caring for him. No better case could be made for the unique contribution that child
psychotherapists are equipped to make in paediatric wards and particularly in specialist units, which often entail the family being at a great distance from their home.’
— Margaret Rustin, Honorary Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust; Associate of the British Psychoanalytical Society

‘A thoughtful and thought-provoking read that provides insight into perhaps the most challenging time any parent or professional working with children is likely to encounter. Told with courage and clarity, Dorothy Judd’s own personal account of caring for a dying patient in the final three months of life provides a poignant insight into how little we truly understand about how a child experiences this journey. Simultaneously, it provides an elegant summation of the published literature and offers an evidence base for how best we can support the child, their family, and staff caring for that child. This new edition remains as relevant as when it was first published over twenty-five years ago; the challenges, the emotions, and the human interactions remain as heartbreakingly real and resolutely unrelated to any recent medical advances. It is a profoundly moving, deeply humbling, and essential reading.’
— Dr Sara Stoneham, Paediatric Oncology Consultant, University College Hospital, London

‘This is a classic text of scholarship and psychotherapy. Dorothy Judd gives us straight talk about death in childhood. Here is psychoanalysis applied without formula or mystification; that speaks to terror so that it can be seen and grasped. Besides work with children and their families, a psychotherapist must also support clinical teams, whose complex reactions are accurately described. Judd explores ethical uncertainties in terminal care, but there is no question that the practice of staff who do not have regular opportunities for confidential reflection on what they do will sooner or later suffer. This is a book that all working in hospital and hospice paediatrics should read.’
— Dr Sebastian Kraemer, Consultant Psychiatrist, Paediatric Department, Whittington Hospital, London

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