Individuals who are facing declining health and eventual death experience intense emotional and psychological challenges. Yet mental health disciplines like psychology and psychiatry have not been well represented in the end-of-life area of practice. Life and Death Decisions offers mental health practitioners invaluable information about the choices that people must make regarding how they will die, or how they will resist dying, and about the ethical issues involved in making those choices.
Offering a presentation of the major moral, value-based, and ethical principles that guide end-of-life decision-making, including autonomy, beneficence, mercy, and justice, the author also reviews the crucial elements of informed consent, competence, and other issues that guide the American legal system's stance on this controversial debate. Life and Death Decisions articulates the role and functions that mental health practitioners — particularly psychologists — can fulfill as members of end-of-life interdisciplinary teams to help individuals interact more fully with their loved ones and make real decisions on a path toward increasing the probability of death with dignity.
About the Author
Phillip M. Kleespies, PhD, was awarded his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology by Clark University in 1971. He is the Coordinator of Emergency and Urgent Care Services for Psychology and has been appointed as Director of a new Behavioral Health/Crisis Stabilization Clinic that is being developed at the Boston campus of the VA Boston Healthcare System. Dr. Kleespies is a member of the Boston VA Ethics Advisory Committee and has published on issues related to ethics and the end-of-life choices available to patients who are terminally ill. He also has numerous presentations and publications on evaluating potential for suicidal and violent behavior, and the impact of such patient behavioral emergencies on clinicians. He is the editor of the book, Emergencies in Mental Health Practice: Evaluation and Management (Guilford Press, 1998). Dr. Kleespies is a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology of the American Board Of Professional Psychology and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He was the founding President of the Section on Clinical Emergencies and Crises (Section VII of Division 12, American Psychological Association) and he is currently the Treasurer of this same Section.
-from the APA website