Below you will see links to our current classes and workshops. These will include CPD workshops for professionals, as well as short-courses for the general public. These workshops are engaging and informative; and will help you talk about death, dying and loss with ease and compassion. Click the workshops below for more details and a link to book.
About the tutor, Dr Judith Wester
I came to be a thanatologist (an expert in death studies/death education) by way of necessity, rather than choice, and it is a profession I have grown to love. It started with my work as a volunteer HIV hotline crisis counsellor in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the USA in the mid 1980’s.
The thing that struck me about the people who came to the confidential service was that the information they wanted the most was not about HIV or AIDS or what treatments were available. What they wanted to know was how to communicate their fears and concerns about death, dying and loss to the people they loved most: ‘How do I tell my parents I am gay and HIV-positive? How do I tell my mother/brother/wife/daughter/son/partner/ girlfriend/husband …? How do I ask for help? How do I talk to my doctor? How do I talk to my employer? What will they do to me? I don’t want to be alone when I die.’
Other questions came from the surviving family and friends, and those in the community who lived in fear of catching a deadly disease just by being in proximity to someone who was very ill with, or dying from, HIV/AIDS. ‘By hugging my son will I get AIDS? Do we have to keep him away from the younger children? Should I cook for him? I am afraid.’
Most days at the walk-in centre I was bombarded with questions that had the underlying theme of fear of social isolation. What stood out more than anything else was the sheer lack of education not only around the disease itself but, more importantly, how to talk about death, dying and loss. If you don’t know what something is, how can you begin to discuss it? It was through this experience that I became determined to learn more about, and engage in, death education.
For my students, I strive to deliver a fascinating workshop that will engage, entertain, and most importantly get you to feel as comfortable as possible to talk about a subject that effects every living thing. We owe it to ourselves, our family and friends and our community to talk about death, dying and loss in healthy and appropriate ways. Come and join us, because talking about death is much easier than you think.
Dr Judith Wester,
BASc in Organisational Behaviour & Industrial Psychology
MPhil in Death Studies/Sociology
PhD in Philosophy/Medical Sociology
- Comparison of approaches to the study of death in UK/USA
- Revealing the myths behind end of life medical treatment decisions in the UK
- Why teaching young people about death is important