Medical Encounter
It is rare to find a book designed not only to evoke personal emotion and reflection and provide insight but also to teach a skill. Facing Death is such a book. Bertman’s style is conversational and gives the reader a real flavor of how she conducts her seminars. Every page is filled with visual or written images that constantly remind us that dealing with death challenges the mind and tears at the soul but, ultimately, is an affair of the heart [O.J. Sahler, M.D. Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine Medical Encounter A Publication of the American Academy on Physician and Patient Volume 11 No. 1, 1994]

Annals of Internal Medicine
Bertman’s book made me regret that I and so many other doctors had missed her insights into the mystery, misery, and mastery of grief. Students presented with these insights may discern what practitioners take decades to learn, if ever they do.
[Frederick R. Abrams, MD, Center for Applied Biomedical Ethics, Rose Medical Center, Denver, CO) 15 MAY, 1992]

Nursing Times
It is hard to know what to praise most. The writing is perceptive, caring, insightful, helpful and challenging. The illustrations, poems, quotations and paintings afford insights into terminal illness and death that textbooks and lectures never could on their own….The three sections of the book are uniformly superb….It should be a criminal offence for nurses to be educated or to practice without having access to this book. [Philip Darbyshire, RNMH, RSCN, Dtp, RNT, February 19, VOL 88, NO 8, 1992]

Journal of Palliative Care
No printed work alone can convey the power of Sandra Bertman’s book Facing Death: Images, Insights and Interventions. The subheading indicated the range of the book’s content, but it is primarily the images that reach deep into the reader’s being and stimulate a response. This first-person experience makes Facing Death a unique resource. As is common with other good materials on death, the reader of this book is given useful interventions and insights from the author’s vast experience and from reports of those with whom she has worked. Here, however, the reader can not help but move from objective observer of information to active participant. The variety, intensity, and visual potency of the images chosen by Bertman reach beyond the cognitive processes and stimulate personal reaction, reflection, and insight. Written in a highly readable style, each of the book’s four chapters contains valuable information. The material is readily accessible to anyone interested in helping others through their grief by first opening themselves to learning more about death…. [Autumn, 1995]

The Psychologist
This was an amazing book to read. Beautifully written with true insight into the nature of loss and bereavement. The use of art and literary work has a powerful impact, an impact that is conveyed throughout the book…. guidelines for facilitators on the use of art and literary works, and guidelines for those involved in bereavement care. [5(8) 1992]

This anthology of techniques and resources should be on the shelf of all therapists, counselors, social workers, nurses, clergy, physicians, etc., who find themselves providing support to those who grieve. The stories, readings, photography, sculpture, and poetry are not just for the clinician—they are meant to be shared with clients and other colleagues who are facing grief. By addressing creativity as a form of therapy, the book forces readers to recognize that not everyone needs to experience five stages of grief, not everyone needs to “process” or “work through” their grief to achieve “closure,” and not everyone needs to express anger in response to grief. Whereas most readers may be aware of the therapeutic benefits of working on a project such as an AIDs quilt, fewer are likely to be familiar with the use of remembrance photographs, gravestone rubbings, or the powerful sculpture of Nancy Fried as a means of securing solace. Recommended for all audiences, including undergraduate collections supporting psychology curriculum. [R.B. Stewart, Jr., Oakland University, PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIAL & BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, October 1999 Vol. 37 No. 2]

Robert Kastenbaum, PhD
In her writings, personal appearances, and medial creations, Bertman lays everything on the line. She does not hide behind generalizations, cliches, or statistics. Her audiences know that they are in contact with somebody who is facing the real issues honestly, in detail, and without simplification.” [Professor of Gerontology, Arizona State University, Editor, Omega]

Eric Cassell, MD
There is a profoundly human quality to Bertman’s work that makes her use of even well known paintings, photographs, and other images fresh and to the point. Her words help us understand what the images do for us and for our patients.
A cherished book that captures the essence of palliative care. [2001]

Hannelore Wass, PhD
Bertman shares an approach to helping us cope with death and grief that draws upon the arts and humanities, an approach she pioneered. On almost every other page we find artistic, literary, or pop-culture images of death, loss, and suffering that have a profound effect on us evoking many different thoughts, stirring emotions, including laughter, and causing us to pause and reflect. This book is a valuable resource for those who want to complement and enrich their scientific knowledge. It is indispensable for the death educator.” [Professor Emeritus, University of Florida; Founding Editor, Death Studies ]

Nick Hughes
The book is intended to “refuel therapists, counsellors, social workers, physicians, nurses, clergy, and all others who are committed to providing support to those in grief” (p1) and to provide a “resource for patients and clients to find a way to quiet their own suffering” (p7). The range of material is impressive and the variety of contributors gives a forceful reminder that grief is everyone’s business. [Nic Hughes. Macmillan Lecturer, University of Leeds, UK]