Barb Phillips - Thanadoula
"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones knowing that your own life depends on it, and when the time comes to let it go, to let it go." ~ Mary Oliver
A Thanadoula or community death-care practitioner is someone who has been introduced to a variety of teaching methods focused on whole-person care. In our training we are required to create relevant and personalized family care plans for the dying and those planning ahead, and offer a quality of presence and engagement that can transforms the experience of dying to one filled with meaning and grace (Institute of Traditional Medicine).
The Thanadoula or community death-care practitioner is an ancient tradition, one that exists today in every society on every continent. A person who is there to help families prepare and grieve. An advocate for the dying and the family, a Thanadoula returns the choice and personalization of the grieving process to the families.
In my role as Thanadoula, community death-care practitioner, I’m really hoping to affect a shift in the way society views end of living, death and dying, from something to be avoided, to something which is to be welcomed as a life-enhancing experience. I strongly believe that it’s about families and individuals taking back control of how they grieve, mourn and heal.
The Thanadoula, community death-care practitioner's role has been introduced in response to families’ and individuals’ increasing need for information, knowledge and skills; and the decrease in the number of educators and counselors who are trained in end of living care. Traditionally, funding has been directed towards science-based disciplines such as nursing and medicine. These resources have been extremely helpful in treating persons who are dying, but there is an increasing gap in family-centered and community care. Thanadoulas are relationally based educators who offer counsel based on families’ values, beliefs and practices.
Thanadoula or community death-care practitioner services are designed to be flexible and customized to suit the needs of each individual client. Services include, but are not limited to:
Companionship & Support
Education & Resourcing
I offer workshops and presentations to community and special-interest groups on:
Dealing with debilitating illness and death is often a very emotional and stressful time. I can act as a mediator or advocate in complex situations relating to end of living care.
Often family members live far away and may not be in a position to visit or care for their loved one who is ill or dying. I can provide peace of mind by fulfilling this role and acting as a vital link between absent family members and their loved one.
I believe my key role as a Thanadoula or community death-care practitioner is to always maintain flexibility in providing compassionate care and services that best suit the needs or wishes of the client.