I recently had the privilege of enjoying a wonderful conversation with relational aggression/anti-bullying expert Laura Martocci, who writes for Psychology Today. Our conversation veered toward the topic of preventing bullying around end-of-life decisions and care, and funerals. She’s managed to pull that together into a wonderful article on Psychology Today – I do hope you will check it out! You may also want to check out Laura’s book, Bullying, The Social Destruction of Self, and explore her website atwww.RelationalAggression.com.
Here’s the beginning of the article she posted, explore how death doulas can protect you from bullying – I hope you enjoy it.
Can ‘Death Doulas’ Shield You From Bullying Around Funerals?
Professionals can be ‘pro-active bystanders’ as you prepare last rites
Posted Oct 17, 2016
DOULA: doo-luh; do͞olə; duːlə
“A woman who serves.”
This word, which comes down to us from the ancient Greek, now refers to a professional who is trained to support the physical, emotional, and informational needs of a (new) mother—before and throughout the birth, as well as just after, in the postpartum period that follows.
A doula assists in the transition from vulnerable state to a stable state. S/he monitors the situation, providing continuous information, encouragement, and practical advice to her client. Laura Saba trains these professionals, and she is now at the forefront of a movement to provide this kind of support at the time of death—training, coaching, and certifying mourning and death doulas.
These individuals assist the dying before and throughout their transition, and support family and friends before, during, and just after, as they pull together funeral and burial rites. They provide continuous information, encouragement, and practical advice during a period of great vulnerability—throughout the process of negotiating death.
No small part of this training, it seems, involves coaching trainees to become pro-active bystanders. Death doulas learn to work with the client to ascertain key stressors and points of vulnerability, and can preemptively troubleshoot potential bullying situations. (These range from the oft-caricatured financial pressuring by the funerary establishment to dissent between family members over burial and ritual choices to overly “helpful” neighbors and friends).
I had a chance to catch up with Laura Saba, and explore how death and mourning doulas can help negotiate pressure from third parties, conflicts, and even active disrespect that can emerge around loss and/or funerary rites. Here’s some of what we talked about: