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Languages of Loss: A psychotherapist's journey through grief

Sasha Bates

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Self-help & personal development

A therapist explores grief and loss in this dual-narrative memoir, which blends the personal and the professional.

'This is the most startlingly honest book about grief I have ever read. Its immediacy hits you on the first page and takes you on an unforgettable journey. No one has set out so clearly the stages we go through as we try to come to terms with facing the enormity of death.' - Dame Penelope Wilton, DBE

'Sasha writes exquisitely and honestly, the sheer rawness of what she has gone through and is still going through, sitting in balance with the calm and clear-sighted objectivity of the therapist, who is also her.' - Hugh Bonneville

One person, two perspectives on grief. Plunged unexpectedly into widowhood at just 49 years old, psychotherapist Sasha Bates describes in searing honesty the agonisingly raw feelings unleashed by the loss of her husband and best friend, Bill. At the same time, she attempts to keep her therapist hat in place and create some perspective from psycho-analytic theory. From the depths of her confusion she gropes for ways to manage and bear the pain - by looking back at all that she has learnt from psychotherapeutic research, and from accepted grief theories, to help her make sense of her altered reality.

Languages of Loss starts a necessary and overdue conversation about death and loss. It breaks down taboos and tries to find humour and light amidst the depressing, bewildering reality. It is an essential companion to help support readers through the agony of those early months, giving permission for all the feelings, and offering various methods of living with them.This book's overriding message is that everyone's experience of grief is different, but knowing more about the theory, and learning a new vocabulary, while not necessarily easing the grief, can help you feel less alone, and at some point enable you to reflect back and see how far you have come.

'This is a useful as well as a moving book. The writing is energetic, down-to-earth and bracingly honest, and many readers will feel consoled and enlightened by Bates's take on her experience.' - The Times

'Bates's skill as a psychotherapist is married to her deft ability to use language and metaphor to create this vital treatise on loss. As much as Languages of Loss is an essential text on grief, it is also a story of love.' - Sunday Business Post Review

'This book will give anyone grieving the death of their partner an insight into their experience, and help those around them understand the difficult and painful process of grief.' - Julia Samuel, author of This Too Shall Pass and Grief Works

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Sasha Bates

Sasha Bates is a psychotherapist, journalist and former documentary filmmaker. Eighteen years in the TV industry saw her write, direct and produce series as varied as Omnibus, Grand Designs, Live and Kicking, and How to Look Good Naked, alongside an ongoing side-line in travel journalism.

Her fascination with people - and what creates the myriad dynamics between us all - fuelled her career as a filmmaker, and she discovered a desire to further understand the human mind, emotions and relationships. She left television behind and re-trained as an integrative psychotherapist, gaining an MA, a Diploma in Counselling and an Advanced Diploma in integrative psychotherapy from The Minster Centre in London. Once fully qualified, and after stints working in the NHS and in higher education, she started up in private practice where she gained a reputation as an embodied therapist, an earlier training as a yoga teacher having given her a good understanding of the mind body connection.

When her husband, Bill, died unexpectedly at just 56, Sasha turned back to writing to help her navigate the new and unwelcome world into which she had been thrust. She now teaches workshops about grief to therapists, and other grievers, and has set up a commemorative theatrical bursary - The Bill Cashmore Award - in conjunction with the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith.

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