End of Life Dreams and Visions with Dr. Michael Barbato

This workshop will focus on some of the unusual language and experiences of dying patients. It explores the history and significance of end-of-life dreams and visions and will show how these experiences and the language used by dying patients are often ignored or misinterpreted in today’s highly sophisticated medical environment. It will explore the myths and truths surrounding their cause and provide examples to illustrate the profound healing effect end-of-life dreams and visions can have on the person dying and their carers.

Participants will be asked to share their own experiences of being with the dying, the challenges they may have faced and the gifts they received. The workshop will foster a better appreciation of these unusual experiences and afford guidance on how best to respond to them.

Photograph by Tina FiveAsh for the Death Letter Project ( www.deathletterprojects.com ).

Photograph by Tina FiveAsh for the Death Letter Project (www.deathletterprojects.com).

Following 20 years as a specialist physician in rural NSW, Michael Barbato moved to Sydney in 1989 to commence work in what was then the relatively new specialty of palliative care.

In the following years he directed services within NSW and the ACT before transferring to the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Palliative Care Service. Prior to his retirement in 2012 Michael did regular locums for the Northern Territory Palliative Care Service working in both Alice Springs and Darwin.

Together with his wife and partner Ann, Michael now runs a correspondence course for professional and community groups on the art of Midwifing Death (www.midwifingdeath.com.au). His research interests and publications include the doctor as healer, unusual experiences around the time of death, the nature of unconsciousness and the experience of dying.