Newcastle: Menzies and Menzies – Death
- Rachel E. Menzies
- Ross G. Menzies
Curing the dread of death: Targeting the existential heart of mental health disorders – one day workshop
Presenters: Rachel E. Menzies and Professor Ross G. Menzies
Research suggests that death anxiety may be a transdiagnostic causal factor in a variety of mental health disorders. Learning how to treat existential dread may be critical for achieving stable, long-term recovery in individuals with a broad range of anxiety and mood-related mental health problems.
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.
Assumed Background Knowledge and Experience of Attendees
Basic: Casual familiarity with topic area; e.g., treated one case
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.
Duration & Format / Training Modalities
The workshop includes:
- Socratic and didactic content.
- Case exemplars.
- Measurement instruments for death anxiety
- An introduction to the use of film, music, apps, childrens books, and related materials in treating existential dread.
This workshop has 7 hours CPD, and includes morning & afternoon teas plus lunch.
References – readings
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, RE., Menzies, RG., & Iverach, L. (Eds.) (2018). Curing the dread of death: Theory, research and practice. Samford Valley, Qld: Australian Academic Press. **
Menzies, RE., 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.
***Registration at 8:00am for a 8:30am start.***
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