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  • uly 17, 2022 Collab Salon: Therapeutic Conversations That Explore How A Person Wishes To Die
    July 17, 2022
    4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Therapeutic Conversations That Explore How A Person Wishes To Die

with Sasha McAllum Pilkington (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand)

July 17, 2022 Collab Salon: 4:00 – 5:30 pm NY time

In November 2021 a new law called The End of Life Choice Act came into effect in Aotearoa New Zealand. The new law gave New Zealander’s living with a life ending illness the option of hastening their death should they be in the last six months of their life. Harbour hospice where I work provides palliative care that aims to alleviate suffering for people living with a life ending, life threatening illness, and their families. The hospice does not offer euthanasia but some of the people who are receiving palliative care express a desire to talk about their options and how they want to live and die. I have been meeting with some of these people in my role as a community counsellor. The conversations we have together are not assessments that decide the suitability of a person for euthanasia or assisted dying but rather therapeutic conversations that seek to support a person to live and die according to their values and to provide support that alleviates suffering.

In this Collab I would like to discuss some of what I have been learning since the law changed in Aotearoa and facilitate a conversation about narrative practices that might be helpful when a person is contemplating how they want to die. My hope is that there can be an exchange as some of you may have had experience in this area of practice.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Consider questions that inquire and make visible a person’s priorities and values at the end
of life.
2. Explore questions that explore suffering and concerns or fears about the end of life.
3. Reflect on practices that can be helpful in alleviating suffering and preventing harm to
families where someone is contemplating assisted dying.
4. Discuss narrative practices that are helpful for people considering how they might want to


Sasha McAllum Pilkington works as counsellor for Harbour Hospice in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She has practiced as a narrative therapist for more than 30 years in a variety of contexts and has worked for Harbour Hospice since 2008.  As part of Sasha’s weekly practice, she meets with people who are living with a life-ending illness, and their families, both in the community and in the hospice inpatient unit. She also meets with family
members who are grieving after someone has died. Sasha has written a number of papers
illustrating narrative therapy in palliative care that are freely available on ResearchGate. She
is currently writing a book about narrative practice in palliative care with Arthur Frank and David Epston.



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