Assessment and treatment of death anxiety
Although death anxiety can be associated with the development of productive coping strategies (e.g. seeking achievement, extending the self through family and relationships), it may also drive crippling fear and maladaptive coping mechanisms. As such, it has been argued that the dread of death is a transdiagnostic construct with the potential to underpin a range of mental health problems including panic disorder, illness anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, OCD, the specific and social phobias, separation anxiety disorder, PTSD and depression.
If the dread of death is at the heart of various clinical presentations, treatment approaches which explicitly address these existential fears may be necessary. Conventional treatments which fail to target death anxiety may result in a ‘revolving door’ of individuals presenting with a shifting array of mental illnesses across their lifespan. Notably, recent research has reported relationships between fear of death and various markers of clinical severity, including overall distress, number of lifetime diagnoses and number of hospitalisations. This workshop will present a variety of innovative procedures to manage death anxiety that can be used in conjunction with standard CBT to provide a more comprehensive treatment of a range of mental health disorders.
KEY LEARNING OBJECTIVES
- To understand the role of death anxiety in underpinning a range of mental health disorders.
- To increase competence in assessing for death-related fears.
- To increase competence in building comprehensive formulations that account for adaptive and maladaptive behaviours in clients.
- To master various cognitive and behavioural procedures and death education used in treating death anxiety.
- To recognise when and how to integrate death anxiety work with standard clinical procedures for mental health disorders.
IMPLICATIONS/ APPLICATIONS OF LEARNING FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE
Understanding the existential issues that underpin abnormal behaviour will lead participants to produce more sophisticated, comprehensive formulations with their clients. On completion of the workshop, participants will be equipped to assess and treat death anxiety with a range of evidence-based procedures and protocols. They will be equipped to integrate existential work with standard cognitive and behavioural treatments for a variety of mental health disorders.
THE WORKSHOP INCLUDES:
Socratic and didactic content.
Measurement instruments for death anxiety.
An introduction to the use of film, music, apps, children’s books, and related materials in treating existential dread.
Menzies, R.E., & Veale, D. (2022). Free Yourself from Death Anxiety: A CBT Self-Help Guide for a Fear of Death and Dying. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishing
Menzies, R. E. & Menzies, R. G. (2021). Mortals: How the fear of death shaped human society. Sydney, Australia: Allen and Unwin.
Menzies, R. G. & Menzies, R. E. (2019). Tales from the Valley of Death: Reflections from psychotherapy on the fear of death. Samford Valley, Qld: Australian Academic Press.
Menzies, R. G., Menzies, R. E., & Dingle, G. (2022). Existential concerns and cognitive-behavioral procedures: An integrative approach to mental health. Switzerland: Springer Nature.
Menzies, R. E., Menzies, R. G., & Iverach, L. (Eds.) (2018). Curing the dread of death: Theory, research and practice. Samford Valley, Qld: Australian Academic Press. 254pp.
RELEVANT JOURNAL ARTICLES
Iverach, L., Menzies, RG., & Menzies, RE. (2014). Death anxiety and its role in psychopathology: Reviewing the status of a transdiagnostic construct. Clinical Psychology Review, 34, 580-593.
Menzies, R.E., & Dar-Nimrod, I. (2017). Death anxiety and its relationship with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126, 367-377.
Menzies, R.E., Zuccala, M., Sharpe, L., & Dar-Nimrod, I. (2018). The effects of psychosocial interventions on death anxiety: A meta-analysis and systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 59, 64-73.
Menzies, R.E., Sharpe, L., & Dar-Nimrod, I. (2019). The relationship between death anxiety and severity of mental illnesses. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 452-467.
Zuccala, M., Menzies, R.E., Hunt, C., & Abbott, M. (2019). A systematic review of the psychometric properties of death anxiety self-report measures. Death Studies, 6, 1-23.
Ross & Rachel Menzies
Assessment and treatment of Death Anxiety
18th & 25th September 2023
(09.30 - 11.00 UK time)
To book reserve your place click below and email our team
Dr Rachel Menzies
University of Sydney
Rachel Menzies is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Fellow at the University of Sydney. Rachel's work on fear of death and psychopathology has been published in several leading journals (e.g. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, British Journal of Clinical Psychology). Rachel has published five books on existential issues and completed an invited workshop tour on the dread of death across seven cities for the Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (AACBT). In 2021, she won the national PhD Prize from the Australian Psychological Society for her work of death anxiety and its relationship with mental health. In 2022, along with her co-author and father, Rachel won the Nib People’s Choice Literary Award and the Alex Buso Shortlist Prize for her book, Mortals.
Professor Ross Menzies
University of Technology, Sydney
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Ross Menzies is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney (UTS). In 1991, he was the founding Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the University of Sydney. He is the past President of the Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (AACBT). He was the editor of Australia's national CBT journal, Behaviour Change, for 17 years and has trained psychologists, psychiatrists and allied health workers in CBT around the globe. Professor Menzies has produced 10 books and more than 230 journal papers and book chapters and was the President and Convenor of the 8th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies (WCBCT) in Melbourne in 2016. Professor Menzies is a founding director of the newly formed World Confederation of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (WCCBT).