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Dr Catherine Proot 

Psychotherapy and Supervision


Palliative Care Book of the Month, IAHPC June 2021

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If you work in palliative care, I think you will enjoy this book. It addresses practical questions that we have to deal with regularly with hundreds of clinical anecdotes and quotations that anchor the discussions in reality and truth.

Roger Woodruff, IAHPC News​letter

This book will be an asset to palliative professionals and to common man to rethink on end-of-life care.  The analysis of the various challenges faced both by the medical professionals, patients, and their caregivers was an eye opener to me.

Indira Madambath, Pallium India

Thank you for such an insightful and

 inspiring book. It gives helpful advice and I am most grateful for all your work in producing this. 

Judy Gifford, Chaplaincy Volunteer

The honest stories presented here attest to the ‘fuzziness’ of death and dying and its personal and professional impact on us, sometimes positive, sometimes not. This book will help you to understand why helping people to make the right choice is so important at this challenging time. - Philip Larkin, Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair of Palliative Care Nursing, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Challenges and Choices for Patient, Carer and Professional at the 

End of Life

Living with Uncertainty

Catherine Proot and Michael Yorke

Routledge, 2021. 190 pp. ISBN 9780367544461


Living with Uncertainty gives a broad perspective on the complexities and challenges of the practice of end-of-life care, as well as the perceived benefits and limitations of medical intervention.

Drawn from research and clinical and pastoral experience, the book examines the feelings associated with the end of life, highlighting the demands that people are faced with and their consequences. It moves into the difficult area of people who feel defeated by their illness and can or want to live no longer, along with family, caregivers and professionals who surround them. These perspectives have been built upon hundred narratives of lived experience, combined with the wider clinical and practical range of voices. A topical post-script Lessons from Covid-19 captures the choices and challenges on personal, professional and systemic level which the pandemic so acutely revealed, with a multiplicity of examples.

This will be essential reading for students and professionals in palliative and end-of-life care. Families and friends will also benefit from this book as they try to come to terms with the delicate but universal issues of death and dying.

Table of Contents​
Part I: The dying person and their loved ones
1: Attitudes to death and dying
2: The end of life - people's experiences
Part II : Medicine and care at the end of life
3: Medical intervention, a life saver or a life changer
4: Euthanasia and assisted dying
5: Person-centred care
Post-script: Lessons from Covid-19

Catherine Proot holds an MSc in psychology and education from Ghent University, Belgium, a Postgraduate Diploma in counselling and a PhD from the UEA in Norwich, UK. A psychotherapist and clinical supervisor, she has specialised in palliative and bereavement care since 2005 in the UK and Belgium. She works in private practice in Brussels.

The Very Revd Michael Yorke (1939–2019) was a Cambridge graduate in law and theology. An Anglican Priest, he worked principally in and through four cathedrals. He was for 18 years a Samaritan, three of them as National Chairman, and was Vice Chairman to the Norfolk Hospice near Kings Lynn, UK.

IAHPC's Book of the Month, November 2014

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Life to be lived
Challenges and choices for patients and carers in life-threatening illnesses
  • An accessible and candid study of human experience in major illnesses and end-of-life care, evidenced and illustrated by real life case stories

  • Provides a clear description of the reality of illness and caring, highlights the challenges and choices involved, and encourages therapeutic practice

  • Written by specialists who work in palliative care settings and bereavement counselling, it is a masterful integration of the psychological, social, and spiritual, offering an understanding of these crucial facets of the holistic approach to working with people in end of life care

Catherine Proot and Michael Yorke

Oxford University Press, 2014. 160 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-968501-1

How do people face life-limiting illness and death? This challenging question is discussed in-depth in Life to be Lived by looking at the feelings, hopes, fears and stresses associated with life-threatening illnesses, often experienced by patients and their carers. 

Drawn from research, clinical, and pastoral experiences, the authors examine the process of adjustment that patients and their families go through in major illnesses and when approaching the end of life.  Life to be Lived is written in an accessible style using many stories shared by counsellors, chaplains, patients and relatives. 

Describing the messiness, uncertainties, and paradoxes that are part and parcel of living through an advanced illness, dying, and bereavement, but also what helps and heals, the book reviews a range of responses to the challenges to patients and carers and the support available, both personal and organisational. 

Life to be Lived is essential reading for professionals and trained volunteers who work as part of multidisciplinary teams in palliative and end-of-life care, to improve their understanding of the attitudes and behaviour of patients and carers. Families and friends will also benefit from it as they try to come to terms with their own situations and how they can cope better with them.

Table of Contents
Part 1: The patient experience
1: The challenge of illness and pain
2: All may not be lost
3: Trials and adjustment
4: Towards a changed outlook
Part 2 : The impact on family carers
5: Demands on the family
6: Lives taken over
7: Coping with change
8: Some personal consequences for the carer
Part 3: The professional carers and their roles
9: Challenges for the professional carer
10: The power and limitations of words
11: Talking with patients
12: Chaplaincy and spiritual care
Part 4: Boundaries and resources
13: Blurred boundaries
14: A wealth of resources
Part 5: The next step
15: The next step
  • This book is about the suffering associated with life-threateneing illness, how some patients and their families seem to manage better, and how good holistic care (with an emphasis on the spiritual aspects of that care) provided by the professional carers may help ameliorate that suffering.   Anyone who works in palliative care will be better off for having read this book and reflected on what it says in the context of their own work. - Roger Woodruff, IAHPC News​


  • This publication offers an inspiring way for people in contemporary society to review death as part of life. - David Oliviere, St Christopher's Hospice

  • A work of outstanding quality and deep insight with a remarkable range of personal stories, many of them moving, which bring the book to light. The text is sensibly accessible, with bite-sized chapters and straightforward language, never patronising, over technical or 'I know best'. - Richard Worsley​

  • This book is probably intended for professionals working with terminally ill patients, but as one of those patients, I found it very helpful and thought-provoking. It helped me to analyse some negative feelings which I did not want to reveal to anyone, especially my devoted carers. - DJ Robinson

  • This is a valuable resource for all health professionals and a very readable text for everyone. It will provide déjà vu moments for many and enormous help to those facing life-altering illness close at hand for the first time. There is now a copy in the practice library. - Dr. C.M. Lockwood​

Further publications

Quand la notion du temps est bouleversée
Catherine Proot, Pastoralia, N°3, Mars 2018, pp. 14-15
Bereavement: Questions and Answers
Interview with Catherine Proot PhD, News, St Nicholas Hospice Care, Spring 2015, p. 6
Life’s uncertain voyage
Catherine Proot and Michael Yorke explore how living with uncertainty affects all at the bedside when the circumstances involve serious illness.  OUP Blog,  posted 19th September 2014    
Rekindling life skills 
Catherine Proot, Bereavement Coordinator at St Nicholas Hospice Care, explains how bereavement activity groups are helping participants to learn new skills, to feel more confident and to renew their taste for lifeEAPC blog posted on September 7th, 2014
Do we only die once ? 
Article by Catherine Proot & Michael Yorke, Inside Palliative Care, Volume 27, March 2014, pp. 24-25.     
Palliative Care : Who Cares ?
Catherine Proot & Michael Yorke explore the burden and the need for care towards the end of life, OUP Blog posted July 15 2013,     
Beyond Talking Therapy : Diverse Bereavement Support
Poster presentation by Catherine ProotBritish Medical Journal Supportive and Palliative Care, Volume 1 Issue 2, September 2011.    
The ingredients of coping with grief 
Catherine Proot, Bereavement Coordinator at St Nicholas Hospice Care, describes their pilot project of a cooking group for the bereaved, Hospice Information Bulletin Volume 8 Issue 3, August 2011.    
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