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09. End-of-Life Conversations with Clients: Insights from the Rebellious Widow with Jill Johnson-Young

“It's a gift to be able to do this work. I know every therapist has that feeling about their work, or at least I hope they do. But I get to see people go through some of the worst parts of their life. If I'm working with them at the end of life, and it's a family member, I'm watching them cope with their loved one die, and then how they were getting them back on their feet and helping them reconfigure their life, which is… it's deeply sad, but it's also deeply fulfilling because they then find a way to reconnect and to weave that loss into the work that they do. And it ultimately makes therapists better therapists because they connect better with their grieving clients, and they begin to see grief and everything that it's in instead of just as death.” – Jill Johnson-Young

Welcome to the colleague down the hall podcast. This episode is sponsored by the collab Oasis clinical consultation groups. Hi, I'm Jeanene Wolfe, and I'm your colleague down the hall, I have a passion for helping fellow therapists get the clinical and collegial support, we all need to do this work. And wow, it just keeps getting harder every day. I'm the founder and facilitator of the collab Oasis clinical consultation groups, I have been a social worker for almost 30 years, and I own a successful solo online private practice, more of us than ever are practicing and solo or online practices. And we all need colleagues to process cases with commiserate with on those really hard days, and also to celebrate our successes with in this podcast, I'll bring you insights about trends and changes in our field and sit down with amazing therapists who are doing amazing work will discuss fictionalized cases, ways to practice sustainably. And of course, there will be plenty of laughing. I love laughing with friends. I'm so glad to have you as one of my colleagues down the hall. Welcome, Jill,

thank you for having me. It's good to be

here. Yeah, great. So I like that you bring unique supportive and a fun perspective to such difficult topics. And a lot of therapists aren't really given even a basic understanding of working with with clients dealing with these issues. And as we know, the presenting issue that clients come in with is very often not really why they're there, or other things such as these topics come up. And we need to know what we're doing.

Grief is our one universal experience, other than birth, and I don't want to remember birth, but we always remember the losses that we have. And so it's something we all need to know how to do. But it's funny I would back in the day when all conferences were in person, I would go and sometimes have a table and literally about half the people there would put a piece of paper up and focus very intently on the table across from me. So they didn't have to even look at the word grief until they got safely away from me because it's just an uncomfortable topic, because of how we approach it. And I It doesn't have to be

right, yeah. And I think if we can break down some of those barriers, and let people know that it's hard work. But it's also rewarding to know that you're helping somebody through such a difficult time in their lives, whether the person themselves are dying, or someone has a family or friend who's dying or has died, that being there to support somebody is can be amazing work, it's a gift

to be able to do this work. And I know every therapist has that feeling about their work, or at least I hope they do. But I get to see people go through some of the worst parts of their life, if I'm working with them at the end of life, and it's a family member. I'm watching them cope with their loved one die, and then how they were getting them back on their feet and helping them reconfigure their life, which is it's deeply sad, but it's also deeply fulfilling because they then find a way to reconnect and to weave that loss into the work that they do. And it ultimately makes therapists better therapists because they connect better with their grieving clients. And they begin to see grief and everything that it's in instead of just as death because it's amazing process to do. And if I'm working with someone who's dying, then I get the gift of helping them say goodbye to this life and figure out what's left and leave this world in a peaceful way, which is something that my hospice heart loves to do anyway, and something I hope somebody will do with me ultimately, when it's my turn.

Yeah, absolutely. It's such intimate work, you know, having the hospice staff that cared for my dad, and I mean, they would come in and we're all in the bed with him and hanging out. You know, it's just they see you like sometimes we were in our pajamas. We tried not to be if it was a male person coming.

You know, have made pancakes for more families and pajamas with someone who's just died sitting in the living room and yeah, I'm fixing them breakfast and we're sitting around and I'm probably in jeans and a T shirt. I throw him on in a hurry, and we sit and share the stories And it's what an incredible thing to be able to do. Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah. I think if people could wrap their brain around that it was allow therapist, it would allow them to maybe look at this work with a different perspective.

Yeah, and I've got dear friends who are terrific therapists who absolutely 100% will not talk about grief and loss, they will send everybody over my way. And they do incredible work in things related to loss, but they're just if there's a death involved, they're out. And I think we all owe ourselves being able to know about dying and how to do grief.

I agree. And if somebody already has a relationship with a therapist, that's who they want to start with and get the support with, they don't want someone to say, oh, sorry, I'm not comfortable with this, or whatever. However they frame it. And they do.

Yeah, yeah. And then there's like two therapists, and I'm just the one who does briefly how does that work? Right, right.

Yeah. And again, it comes some of it comes back to our societal norms about death and hiding people away that are dying and not talking about it. And like other, you know, earlier decades, our country anyway, and other countries do it. But recognizing that, you know, this is something that's going to come up, if you work with humans long enough, at some point, that person is going to experience some type of grief and having a basic understanding of starting to get that support, and then maybe getting some consultation, so you can continue working with them if you feel uncomfortable, but but at least being able to get through that first session, you know, without making because, you know, I've been learning more about energy work, and I still believe that your energies in the room, and if they start sharing with you about that, and you are freaking out internally, like they feel that and then they go down suck downs of Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah. And when you do grief work, you have to be open to so many different things, you have to be able to be solution focused, you have to know what dying looks and sounds like and what it involves, and what the real words are not what the terms are that people use, which sounds scary and horrible. And you have to be open to the energy work. And, you know, to if someone wants to approach Reiki with it, if they need after death, contact work, you have to be open to all of that, because you never know what someone's gonna bring into the room. Right? And you got to go where they are engraved for him more than anything else, you got to go where they are. Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah. And I want to, I don't want to set the tone that we as therapists who are humans can't react to something our client is saying, Oh, no. But I think we need to be aware of our own self regulation and naming it, you know, oh, I didn't even realize that was something you're dealing with. So why don't we just take a breath for a minute. And, you know, and think about what this experience is, and then you can move on. But, you know, not just jumping right into this is my therapist role. And I'm going to pretend that I'm not having this visceral reaction to what you said, we're just going to push on through

right, or I'm not going to find a technique. Let me find a technique and you can literally see the therapist miracle question, let's use the miracle question that will get us on track.

Yes, I love God, no. Let's pretend that your deceased one is sitting in the chair beside you. Like, that's comforting that at some point, but probably not the first thing you want to have coming out of your mouth, right?

I actually never use empty chairs when I'm doing grief work, because you just never know what impact it's gonna have. Yeah, you know, you got to be able to be okay with all of it. You have to be okay with casting and you have to be okay with someone's religious perspective. And someone who came in and their paperwork says they're super religious, but they come in and they're like, I hate God. And okay, let's go there instead, right? Flexible and pivot all the things we learned in the pandemic about how to do life you do in

grief work? Yeah, absolutely. And I think that it speaks to, you know, either the way you have started working with them in that first session or the report you have that somebody who considers themselves religious is comforted and comforting, feels comfortable enough to say, I hate God, because that is a very, I mean, it's very common in grief work. But it's also very distressing for people as well. It can be anyway,

it can be and more than anything, what they're hearing from everyone else, if they come from an Uber religious background, or even just to, you know, a standard every day, whatever religious background, they're hearing from people, you need to lean into your religion, lean into your faith, you'll get through this and a lot of the platitudes we throw at people who are grieving are faith based and just utterly damaging. And so when I say you know, if you want to be mad at God, or whoever it is, I let's talk about that. You don't have to lean in it gives them such freedom and it gives them the ability to talk through what they're questioning and ultimately to decide if it fits them anymore or if it doesn't, because with grief when you have a profound loss, your whole worldview changes. Absolutely,

absolutely. And in ways that you could never have imagined at times,

right? Right. I also find that therapists are not super comfortable with intimate partner loss, because therapists in general, and this is a broad generalization, but in general, when they start hearing about intimate life stuff with a client, it can be a bit uncomfortable. But when you hear someone who's lost their spouse, and they're talking about intimate needs, and missing that it can be off putting, if you're not expecting it at the reality is if someone has lost their intimate partner, they've lost intimacy. Yeah, they've lost all the things about the sexuality that joined with that partner. And that's something they need a safe space to talk about it. Yeah. And we are the safe space. Because you can't tell your kids about that. And you certainly you know, your friends may not be okay with it. Right. So that's us, folks, we got to absorb it.

Yeah. Well, as therapist in general, I don't think that we are prepared enough to understand how often SEC shows up in the therapy room. And that, you know, like, it's gonna happen, you need to make it comfortable for your clients, it's part of who they are. And the like, if you don't know the basics, get got to learn it, including your own perspective. And that's true for grief to understanding your own experiences with grief and how they show up in the therapy room and your own perspectives about grief, and being

able to, if appropriate, share bits of that part of yourself with your clients, because grief is one of those places that you don't want to be that blank slate, because it's not comforting, right. And it's not the way to join with a grieving person. And I'm lucky in that I am so public, that people find me and track me down. And they already know my story. They've heard me they've seen it, they've read the book, whatever. And so they call in and say I want to talk to the crazy widow, great, then you already know I'm a widow, and we can start from there. But it's not as easy when you're not public. And so you have to figure out how you're going to disclose them what you're going to disclose, and how to do it in a therapeutic manner with the client. Right? And that does take some coaching, or at the very least some consulting.

Absolutely, yeah. And that's work that you should really be doing just as a matter of clinical growth, because like we said, it's going to show up in the room at some point. And that's not when you want to realize, Oh, I haven't done any work around this. And now I'm starting from scratch. And I've got this person sitting in front of me, and they're in tears. And

now what do I do? Right, right, right. Yes. Throw the dog at them and let the dog because their face and then I'll figure it out. Exactly.

Yeah. Yeah, that doesn't work so much with video therapy,

but no, it doesn't.

To know like, and I know, you know, you have done this, I'm sure cried with clients like that, you know, my rule of thumb was, if they're comforting me, we've got a problem. But I can be human in the room, I can show emotion, I can feel that loss very deeply. And they can see that I'm feeling that. And that's okay. But sometimes, like you said, we're taught to be that blank slate. And that's not going to be helpful at all, to somebody who is having such deep pain.

I wish grad school would just abolish that term. Unless you're in a very specific kind of therapeutic practice. It just, it doesn't belong. If I've got someone in front of me, and they're describing that they happened upon the accident scene, and their spouse was in the car and the airbags and nobody was doing CPR, right? Yeah, they're in tears. In all likelihood, I'm gonna have some tonight. I'm not going to Boohoo. It's their loss. But if it's affecting me, it's affecting me. And that's okay. Because that tells me that I'm joining with them. And then I can sit with them. And then we can scoop up and work from

there. Yeah, absolutely. And that's a powerful moment. Absolutely. Yeah. And it's wonderful to be able to do it. I agree. Absolutely. Yeah. So you work in the realms before death, things such as dementia hospice, during the dying phase, the grief period, you really kind of run that whole gamut, which is, I mean, really, if you're doing one of those three, they're tied together in so many ways.

You can't separate them. If someone's on hospice, I advocate for the therapist to be part of the hospice team to get releases signed, so that they can talk to the hospice team. So the hospice team can call them if they're seeing a problem or seeing a place for some work to be done. Yeah, because hospices are incredibly busy and very understaffed these days, and they don't have the level of support for patients that they had even five, six years ago. And there's a space for a therapist to walk with that family through that dying process. And yeah, therapists associated they should be

part of it. Absolutely. Yeah. And even understanding the role as a therapist of helping your client own their self advocacy for themselves or you know, their understanding of what's happening or the way meds are being given to their loved one or the choices that need to be made that are really hard at times, like making sure your client knows we can talk about those things. But this is new and most, you know, might be new, but it's very scary, even if it's not your first time. And these are the ways we can help you so you can show up and have the support you need. Because like you said, hospices are very, very busy. And things get overlooked. But that doesn't mean we can't help our clients understand that we can't say, hey, I really need to know more about this. Can we talk about this,

and to help our clients understand that if they have a bad hospice, they can fire them? Yeah, you can interview hospices and hire someone new, you're not bound to the one hospice unless you live in the middle of nowhere. And there's only one Yeah, yeah, you've got options.

Yes. And that is so important. You know, when you have a scenario such as someone's in the hospital, and they're, you're being told they're going to be discharged into hospice, here's a list pick somebody, what do you do with that? Right? Like any Mighty Mouse, like, how do I possibly do this? And it's feels like a crisis. And it's very scary. And, you know, we're not necessarily as you know, humans, given the permission to say, you don't, you can take your time and figure this out. And, you know, talk to some people who maybe have used a local hospice, do you know, people in your community, find out what their experiences were find out? If there's a hospice that's particularly good with this type of diagnosis,

right. There's our hospice that knows dementia, which is a different disease from a lot of diseases, and sometimes requires different medication regimes at end of life. And most you know, that that's what social media is good for. I can't tell you how many therapists have contacted me and said, Do you know good hospice in this area, there's actually a group for hospice, social workers, that's nationwide, I can dip in and find out who to use. That's the kind of thing that social media should be used for. I agree, and it and it allows us to get the right support. But yeah, you can, the more we can help our clients be prepared during a dying process. A it's a therapeutic bond like no other. And B, it means they'll trust you for the grief process. Right? That's incredible.

Yeah, and I so agree about social media, I've had several senior clients share with me that they've come across a YouTube channel, or something like that by either a funeral director or a hospice therapist, or social worker or nurse who explained some of the end of life questions that people have that they think about. But you know, I'm not dying at a timeframe that I'm aware of, you know, I know I'm dying at some point. I'm older. But I just I'm starting to have these thoughts, and where can I get information about that?

Right. And that's, honestly, that's something therapists should address with clients. I did that this morning. Look, you guys are both above a certain age. Do you have things in order? Have you taken care of things? Is there a HIPPA release? Someone can step in? All those things need to be taken care of? When I lecture folks in conferences, and I say how many of you have a professional will? At least 50% of the room is going to sit on their hands? Right? Because if you say, well, then it's like, Oh, crap, that means someone dies. I don't want to think about dying. Do you have life insurance for your practice? Do you have life insurance for you? That could be dying, right? twice before 50? So I'll tell you what, folks, you need the life insurance, right? We have to be able to talk about it.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And also help me be helping our clients understand how to bring up those topics with parents or grandparents. And it you know, it benefits them as much as these elderly people in their lives. Because it's a lot happens when someone dies, there's a lot of things that have to be taken care of. And if you don't have the right signatures in the right places, it's even harder than it is anyway,

that power of attorney may not be worth the paper it's written on if it's the wrong one, or it's the wrong bank or whatever. You know, there's, there's a lot to the work that we do. And there's a lot of layers. And if and this is one of those things that has to be in everyone's corner, I had a new client today. And she was like, Well, I'd like to do some couples. Okay, that is not my forte, let me just tell you, when you have the grief therapist, doing couples work, you're gonna get divorced. So I'm going to refer you to someone else. But we all have to be able to talk about grief loss, death, dying, all the things, at least a little bit. If we have ours in order, it's easier. We also need to know dementia, because we have to be able to spot it. Right. Yes.

And understanding that there's early onset dementia, and that's the number one growing growth. Yeah, yeah. Okay. I wasn't aware of that. But it's not surprising to me.

COVID is contributing to that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So we've got early onset of Anyone under 65. And there are 12 Major dementias. So there's a ton of information that we don't know. And we don't have to be experts, all of us. But we know that 50% of the doctors in this country, don't tell a patient or the family that dementia is on board. Because they feel powerless. And they know there's nothing they can truly do about it. There are a few drugs that can slow things down for a little while. But there are no miracle cures out there. Not yet. We have a lot of research on Alzheimer's in particular, but we don't have cures. And so doctors will say, you know, I'm seeing some depression, let me refer you to a therapist, and they thumb through and they find a therapist who says dementia, and they send the client to us, and then hope that we're going to be the one to figure it out and tell them what the suspicion is. And if we don't pick up on it, then we're treating something else.

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And there's, you know, like you said, there's so many different types of dementia, and some of them are hard in terms of behavioral changes that you see in this person that you love. And, you know, someone with Frontotemporal dementia in their 70s Being told you all of a sudden have bipolar disorder.

That's the one they always diagnosed, everyone has bipolar when they've got dementia doesn't start at seven de oro. Right? You gotta pick that puppy up a whole lot earlier. Right? Yeah. And I, in fact, I remember looking at one doctor, when he tried that with my second wife, who died of Lewy Body, dementia. And I said, you know, I never heard of sudden late onset Bipolar Disorder, can you point that out to me in the DSM or the ICD? And the look on his face was like, Oh, crap, she's got me. This year, America is one of those people you can't do and then they throw the wrong meds at them. And then that makes the dementia worse. So if we can all have at least, a glancing ability to understand all the different things because dementia and depression look very much alike, dementia and bipolar can look like, we have to be able to pull it apart enough to get someone to a neurologist who knows what they're doing. Yeah, bold italic knows what they're doing and get them diagnosed properly, we can still be supportive, we can still be their therapist, right? Because facing dementia is hard for the entire system. But we need to be skilled enough to recognize it and also be able to talk about it and talk about it as a terminal illness. Right. Right.

And that's another frightening thing for therapists terminal illness. Oh, I don't work with that.

Except our patients die. So we have to.

Exactly, yes. Like, oh, I don't I don't work with trauma clients. Oh, okay. That's

a fatal accident. You have to see someone else now. Right? Yeah. what is that?

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You know, and I don't mean to belittle this, because I think there's definitely gaps in our training. But once we come to a realization about these things, we need to do something about it, we need to say, Okay, now I understand, this is a big gap in my learning. And hopefully, newer therapists aren't having that gap, especially with trauma. When I was in grad school, we talked through trauma, you know, just get them talking about it. And you know, that was basically it. We grew it, right. relive every terrible moment. Yeah. So we know so much more about it. And so I, I hope that you were therapists are being trained that way. But knowing that there are certain things in life that most people are going to experience, and you need to have at least a basic understanding about them. You know, dementia, terminal illness, grief, dying, all of those things, trauma, all of those things are so important in our field,

and they will touch every single person we work with. Because if they don't have dementia, someone in their family will, yep, that's a given with the stats. And with the increase, it's coming. And with COVID, causing its own very special form of dementia, we're gonna all be dealing with it. And we all deal with grief and loss, but my own daughter just finished her master's in marriage and family therapy. And she took a death and dying class, and they feel a grief class. And I said, you didn't you didn't tell me you were taking that class? And she said, Yeah, I knew you were going to come in and disrupt it. And I said, what did they teach? And she said, stages? Oh, gosh. You seriously sat through stages and didn't say anything. Like, you know, my mother teaches the opposite of this. She's like, Yeah, I didn't want anyone to know that you are my mom. Cuz ya know. So they're still teaching it That was last year.

Yeah. Oh, that's so disappointing to hear, right? It's not

correct. It's not the research. We've got so much available. And, you know, go online and don't do Dr. Google go into the pending that Google Scholar, but you will find some current research and you can use that we have research that shows people who are grieving need humor, which is why I incorporate humor. I have a really wicked terrible sense of humor that comes from having worked on CPS and hospice, but I think it's needed.

Yes. The humor you develop working in hospice is really unique and has to be doled out to select groups.

Right behind closed doors, right.

Yeah, but also with our clients. I love using humor with my clients. When I still had a physical office, people would be in the waiting room and they couldn't hear the discussion, but they get here the laughing they're like, there's a lot of laughing going on in there. And I'm like laughing is a good thing. We can talk about hard stuff. But we can also laugh about hard stuff, you know,

and we have to because Grievers normally see when someone finds out they've had a loss, they make that face. Yeah, oh, I'm so sorry, face, and they're tired of that. They want to see a smile again. And we need to give them that space to do that and permission to do that. Sometimes even orders to do that my kids will get you know, their care plan includes you have to be outside in the sunshine, 30 minutes a day. And you have to go for a walk every day. And you have to smile if you have to put on I Love Lucy, I don't care what you do. But you've got to find some laughter to Yeah, watch the Chocolate Factory Episode Do something. Right. Right. Yeah,

yeah. And normalizing that to, you know, I think that my family had the benefit of my experience in hospice. And there were things that I was able to normalize for them. But some of it is, you know, giving the wrong dosage at the wrong time, or in the wrong place of the body, and realizing it and dying, laughing and writing awful about it. But at this point, you're exhausted, you're doing the best you can. And for my family humor is really big. And so we have, you know, obviously, we wanted to provide the best care we could, but mistakes will happen. Most of the time, it's not really a big deal. Because you know, this person is dying. We want to keep them comfortable. And it's okay to laugh.

It really is I remember sitting on the floor laughing was one of my best girlfriends when Linda was dying, because we could not figure out how to uncap the catheter tube so we could drain the catheter. And we were like, we are going to have a real problem if we don't get the stem really fast. And so it was like how many buckets can wait, what did we do? It was funny in that moment, and Linda was still laying there dying. But it was funny in that moment. And even she laughed at how inept we were being because she's like, you've been married to a nurse for 23 years. And you can't figure this out. She'll come on what's wrong with

you? Yeah, yeah, I had two identical tubes, when they were labeled side down, put in the wrong place and applied one type of medicine to a place that was uncomfortable, probably it should never have been. And we would just say to my dad, you were such a trooper, or we were getting around that a wheelchair, and we would run into walls and all kinds of stuff. And we, you know, we would just say we're doing the best we can. And then we would tell the nurses about it. And they would laugh with us too, you know,

right. Right. Our hospice doc said, you know, it would be okay, if you gave the morphine and it with a little Cabernet, there's nothing wrong with that you should have a shot, you need a shot to Jill. So everybody have a shot. Just make sure Linda gets morphine to right. Nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with being human. And that's where it's normalized with our clients as well as with ourselves. I like talking to someone who's got hospice in their background, because we have the same kind of approach to life.

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, I was meeting because I live near a naval base and the Jets only fly when I'm recording. That's the thing. And I didn't know that till I started recording things. I was like, well, it really does happen every single time. Sorry

about that. They must have a radar beat on your

Yeah, yeah. Yes. It's so nice to be able to talk to other people who have experience in hospice because it really is a unique type of work. It's a gift. I felt like it was a Colleen and yeah, in you just when I was doing my first internship in grad school at the time, I was working with a pediatric geneticists. And so I was aware of the local pediatric hospice and they he didn't really have internships at that time. And so I went to the school and said, Can we reach out to them and see if they can do this and I was so pleased when they accepted me and and then I had a family member come to me after I was talking about this and they were like, you know, I talked to my friend so and so and she just wants to make sure you know that these children are going to die. Like me. Yeah, seriously?

Hospice equals.

Yeah. I was like, wow. Yeah. Because that's just Yeah. But that's just that level of fear people have. You know, people do

that with my wife, who's a mortician, my current wife, and they're like,

so you touch dead people. Yeah. Otherwise, I'd be the only mortician on the planet who does not touch

dead people. That's what right? Yeah, right. Yes.

There's that certain reality and just like people look at us as therapists and say, so are you diagnosing me? Yes, yes. As matter of fact, I am. I can use my crystal ball and tell what's going on in your head.

Right, exactly. My favorite is, oh, I'm just too sensitive to do that type of work. IE, you must be a total bitch.

You've got steel over you and you never absorbed your client's emotions, right? One thing you do need to learn is never tell the hairstylist or anyone else what you do for a living especially not on an airplane.

Yeah. Oh, no. Yes, I Yes. On. That's when I become a store clerk. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I've come up with all kinds of things that I do. And my you know, my family members have had to be trained as well, because I'm like, I don't want to be at a party and someone finds out. I'm a therapist, and now they need me to fix their family problem. Like,

right, don't stop it. Exactly. Right.

I'm not going there with you.

This is my time to relax. And I don't want to know.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. self care is important for all of us. It is 100%. Yeah. So if there are people who are listening, who are realizing, okay, I don't have a basic understanding of some of these areas, dementia, grief, terminal illness, medical self advocacy, those types of things. Can Yeah, I mean, I think you are a great resource. So they can probably listen, go to your website and listen to some of your stuff, and learn a whole lot. Are there other go to resources that you recommend for therapists who want to kind of make sure that they are at least understanding the basics of some of these things,

they should hit the national Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website, it's got a ton of stuff, they should hit the Funeral Directors Association website, because they have a free download called having the hard conversations. And even though it's geared towards funerals, and ultimately, it's to get you to buy a funeral. It's from the national organization. So it's not promoting a particular funeral home. And it does help with, you know, mom, dad, or husband or whoever we need to talk about the stuff. That Kaiser hospital system has a free download for end of life planning, which is really positively focused and anyone can access it. You have to hunt around a little bit, but it's there. And it talks about, you know, what's my best day and it helps you kind of figure out what you wanted end of life and really what you probably don't. And then there's a podcast called, Oh, crud, it's on my website. It's a hospice podcast, it's right to friends of mine, and they can find it there. And they talk about all things hospice, and it's they've got hundreds of episodes, that's got lots of stuff that also will help them with navigating that with clients. Okay. And

there's lots of different ones. Yeah, okay. Yeah, yeah, we all

need to know about all the things I would look at the five wishes Foundation, because that's a good place to start discussion about end of life and, you know, the five wishes document. And I would get familiar with pulsed forms, which you can download for your state online, because we all need to have those things in our hands. The Alzheimer's Association has a good summary of all the dementias, although they call them Alzheimer's and related dementias. And I like to refer to just all the dimensions because most dimensions are mixed dimensions now, and it doesn't minimize the experience for the frontotemporal families and the other families. And it's got links to all the other websites. Was that too many?

No, no, that's wonderful. And I hope people are pausing and busily writing this down. Yeah, because there, you know, those are great resources. And we need to be doing that, at least that basic work of, you know, expanding our knowledge base. And I also think it's important that if you find that these topics feel incredibly uncomfortable for you, or they're raising issues that you haven't dealt with, then as a therapist, talk to some colleagues say, hey, is there a couple people that want to chat about this so we can, you know, learn from each other and explore how we are showing up in the therapy room based on our own experiences, and obviously having their own therapist and talking through those personal issues with them as well. But so there's lots of ways that we can prepare ourselves for this

Help, you can also find a death cafe to attend. Those are places where people just sit down and talk about end of life and death. And it's just really open discussion. They they are worldwide. They started in Holland, but they're everywhere now. So I would look up and see where the closest one is, and maybe just go hang out with other people who like to talk about end of life. Yeah. what

a cool resource. I've

not heard of that. Yeah, they're really fun. There's I sometimes speak at one in Cal State Fullerton out here. But there's a lot of them. And they're just grassroots developed. Yeah, the goal is to eat something sweet and talk about end of life. Spend an hour.

And I just want to highlight what you said there a lot of fun, because we need to embrace that, that this can be fun, and not just scary, and intimidating. And sad and difficult. You know,

it shouldn't be any of that. If you ever go to a Funeral Directors Association Conference, you will find the biggest party on the planet because those folks, they do a hard job. And when they need to have a sense of humor. They can have it together and they laugh a lot. Yep. Yep. Our conferences should be like that, too.

Absolutely. Yeah. Well, Joe, it's been wonderful having you here I have a question that I am starting to ask people, because I just think it's kind of fun. Do you have a favorite metaphor or analogy that you'd like to use in therapy that you can share with us,

I like to look at grief as a way to find a way to a new life that you didn't choose, but that you are going to embrace? Yep, and figure out that the sun is still there, and that sunsets can still be beautiful.

Oh, that's so beautiful. And that just so reminded me back in the day, we had a mom's support group and a dad support group. And they would say it was the club that we never wanted to join. But we are so thankful that we have it. That's just yeah, it can be a gift in so many ways.

Find your people as therapists find the group private practice grief on Facebook. I should have said that earlier, because 3300 therapists who do end of life work there.

Oh, wonderful. Another great resource. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed talking to you today. And I appreciate you taking the time to be here. Where can the listeners find out more about what you offer? How can they connect with you?

I have several websites. One of them is Jill Johnson. young.com It's kind of weird as a social worker, but I have a.com There's also a central counselling services.com and the rebellious widow.com. You can also find me at humor, grace and grief on Facebook. We have a Friday grief chat every Friday at 10am Pacific that stays on the site. Google me I'm everywhere.

Yeah, yeah, I know you are. Yeah. We listened to Facebook today. It was it was good. It's a nice to get those little notifications pop up. So I knew that you were live. But for everyone listening there are new episodes of The colleague down the hall podcast released every Thursday on all major platforms. And I want you to please remember, our work is hard. It doesn't have to be lonely. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to the colleague down the hall podcast. For show notes, links and downloads, head over to colleague down the hall.com where you'll be able to learn more about getting the clinical support you need and resources to help you work in a supportive sustainable way. If you've enjoyed this episode, please share with your therapy friends and colleagues. subscribe to the podcast and if you love this episode, please leave a review.