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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 Sue 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 and unsure about

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.
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.
The Etiquette of Illness is a finalist for the Books for a Better Life award.
The Etiquette of Illness is an An Amazon "Editor's Pick" for Best Book of the Year (2004).

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582343839
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
02/28/2004
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
193,674
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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3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I discovered I had lymphoma I told family and friends of my diagnosis. I was surprised at the variety of reactions. I was shocked at some of the well-meaning but insensitive comments some people made. I am also totally blown away by the thoughtful and uplifting words and gestures of others. Susan Halpern is correct when she says that many people's comments have more to do with their own situation than with mine. This is a thoughful guide for well-meaning people to say and do things that are respectful and supportive to a person who is temporarily ill, chronically ill or dying. I got what was promised from the title, but I was delighted that she included helpful and respectful responses that an ill person can use to handle insensitive comments. As we all know or will know people that are ill, I highly recommend this book to anyone.
ksbookaholic More than 1 year ago
As one who is dealing with chronic illness as well as having dealt with losing close family members to cancer, I highly recommend this book! Sometimes there is no "right" thing to say, but saying SOMETHING is better than acting like there's nothing wrong.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Communication during an illness, especially one as frightening as cancer, can be difficult at best. This book is the best I have seen on simple advice for patients and loved ones on how to communicate with each other. It gives practical advice on everything from making a phone call to talking to children. I highly recommend this for anyone who works with families and patients and for patients and loved ones of patients with cancer and other life-challenging or life-threatening illnesses.