Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words

Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words

3.8 8
by Susan P. Halpern
     
 

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What should I say when I hear that my friend has cancer?
How can I help but not get in the way?
How do I let my loved ones know what I need?

The Etiquette of Illness is a wise, encouraging, and essential guide to navigating the complex terrain of illness. This collection of anecdotes and insights will help those who feel awkward

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Overview

What should I say when I hear that my friend has cancer?
How can I help but not get in the way?
How do I let my loved ones know what I need?

The Etiquette of Illness is a wise, encouraging, and essential guide to navigating the complex terrain of illness. This collection of anecdotes and insights will help those who feel awkward and unsure about responding to a friend, colleague, or relative who is suffering. The book is also for people who are ill and want to engage with their loved ones effectively. We read about a range of people who are dealing with chronic illness, doctor-patient communications, and end-of-life issues-and who are striving to find their way with awareness and compassion.

Drawing on her years of counseling people with serious illness, as well as her own experiences with cancer, Susan Halpern presents an insightful book of the utmost relevance for patients, their caregivers, and their family and friends - a group which will, at some point, include all of us.

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Editorial Reviews

Andrew Weil
"This moving book has a message that shines with wisdom and hope. Susan's advice is sound and useful."
Cokie Roberts
"Susan Halpern tackles the last taboo-how to talk about illness, dying, and death. This book is filled with much-needed common sense."
Bill Moyers
"This is the most helpful book for hard times that I have read in years."
Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Valuable and gratifying...Susan Halpern gives us words when our own are most likely to fail us."
Daniel Goleman
"Practical and vastly compassionate. I recommend it to anyone who wants to visit a seriously sick friend."
Christine K. Cassel
"Intensely personal and full of captivating stories, The Etiquette of Illness embeds practical advice in easily accessible prose."
Joseph Goldstein
"Wise, compassionate and very down-to-earth, this book illuminates our relationship with illness and with each other."
Rachel Naomi Remen
"At last! Help for those difficult moments when those we love are suffering. The Etiquette of Illness is a timeless blessing."
Publishers Weekly
Halpern, a psychotherapist, social worker and founder of the New York Cancer Help Program, shares here her considerable expertise on how best to comfort a close friend, colleague or relation who is living with a serious physical or mental illness. Practical suggestions are illustrated by compelling stories from her professional life, as well as from her own experiences after being diagnosed with low-grade lymphoma in 1995. Rather than focusing on what precise terminology to use, Halpern believes that what we say depends on the individual, the relationship and one's own self-consciousness. So long as the words come from the heart, it is the expression of true compassionate feeling that will be remembered by the recipient. In calming, well-crafted prose the author addresses a number of particular situations including advising friends on the importance of connecting with a physician who knows how to listen and talk to patients, less conventional ways of communicating with those who are dying and ways to effectively assist the chronically ill. She recounts the example of one helpful woman who drops off cooked food for an ill friend, but only stays to chat if her company is welcome rather than tiring. Of particular interest to parents will be Halpern's insightful chapter on talking to children about serious illness and death, in ways that are both truthful and as reassuring as possible. First serial to O: The Oprah Magazine. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582343839
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
02/28/2004
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
193,751
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 7.43(h) x 1.03(d)

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What People are saying about this

Joseph Goldstein
Wise, compassionate and very down-to-earth, this book illuminates our relationship with illness and with each other.
Cokie Roberts
Susan Halpern tackles the last taboo-how to talk about illness, dying, and death. This book is filled with much-needed common sense.
Jon Kabat-Zinn
Valuable and gratifying...Susan Halpern gives us words when our own are most likely to fail us.
Daniel Goleman
Practical and vastly compassionate. I recommend it to anyone who wants to visit a seriously sick friend.

Meet the Author

Susan P. Halpern is a social worker and psychotherapist. She is the founder of the New York Cancer Help Program and a staff associate at the Commonweal Cancer Help Program. She lives with her husband, near their children and grandchildren in Berkeley, California. This is her first book.

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