Conscious Dying

The conscious dying movement represents a new direction in the esthetics of death.

Sacred Passage Guide work is, for me, an inevitable next step in a life journey of supporting and guiding others. From directing children in musicals to teaching people to sing, to leading choirs and composing music for theater, I experienced and witnessed the therapeutic value of music-making and creativity in peoples’ lives. Eventually I went in search of greater understanding, and so embarked upon a psychology education. I served as a family therapist and art therapist in private practice for 17 years, as I continued making music.

The tools that have been developed for the doula work by the Institute for Conscious Dying go well beyond psychology, into the realm of spirit and mystery. They underscore the truth that is known in many cultures around the world, that death is a natural transition for us to embrace and celebrate, rather than a dreadful, final failure fraught with denial and fear.

Through gentle touch, breath work, sound and music, silence, beautiful aromas, quiet conversation, organization and compassion, death doulas assist the dying person and his family to create an inspiring and comforting experience around the death, and to support peace, security and self-determination. We have training in communication and forgiveness practices, saying good-bye to the body, demystifying the process of dying and being present with strong emotion. Our primary tool, the ‘vision map for best life care’ provides a format for answering important questions about the client’s wishes for the physical body and making sure there is room for her/his spiritual and emotional values to be manifest.

Death doulas have learned to approach the work with an open heart, with full genuine listening.  We offer the opportunity of support for the person who wants to die on her own terms, boldly facing the inevitable, and shaping it into something potentially beautiful and certainly transformative.


Life’s tragedy is we get old too soon and wise too late.
~ Benjamin Franklin