On Saturday, 7th November, Salisbury had its first ever Death Cafe. It was facilitated by Daniel Kronenberg, a hypnotherapist at The Practice Rooms, and his wife Ann Kronenberg.
At a Death Cafe people – often strangers – gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is to “increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives”.
A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.
Death Cafes are always offered:
- On a not for profit basis
- In an accessible, respectful and confidential space
- With no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action
- Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!
Feedback from Salisbury’s first ever Death Cafe
At the first Salisbury Death Cafe we had a good show of 11 participants and two facilitators. We received the following feedback on the evaluation forms:
“I enjoyed the whole experience very much. I was a bit worried and cynical beforehand but this soon dissipated.”
“I felt very comfortable and it was nice to talk in a non-judgmental atmosphere.”
“It felt really good to be actually talking about death and hearing about other people’s experiences.”
“It was liberating to share words and experiences about a subject that is usually silenced.”
“I can’t wait for the next one, thank you.”
How Did It All Begin?
It was the Swiss sociologist and anthropologist Bernard Crettaz who first introduced the idea of a Death Cafe in 2004. Crettaz had long been interested in the subject of death. In 1982 Crettaz co-founded the Society of Death Studies in Lausanne (Société D’études Thanatologiques) with his wife Yvonne Preiswerk – also an anthropologist – aimed at studying contemporary urban social rites and customs surrounding death. It was after his wife’s death that Crettaz came up with the concept of the ‘Café Mortel’, where in a social setting people would get together to discuss death. In 2004 he organised the first ‘Café Mortel’ at a restaurant in the Swiss town of Neuchâtel. The idea caught on and he began holding many more. In 2010 he held one in Paris, which was reported in The Independent. Jon Underwood, a former council worker in East London, was so inspired by the idea that he introduced it to the UK by holding his own Death Cafe at his home in Hackney. He also created a website dedicated to the concept – www.deathcafe.com – providing people with a guide to hosting their own death cafes based on Bernard Crettaz’s original model.
Death Cafe is a ‘social franchise’. This means that people who sign up to the principles can use the name Death Cafe. Death Cafes have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australasia. As of today, there have been almost 3000 Death Cafes since September 2011 in 32 countries.
About our contributor:
Daniel Kronenberg is a hypnotherapist based in Bath and Salisbury. He trained in clinical hypnotherapy at The University of West London at Postgraduate level. He is an associate member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis (BSCH) and is registered with The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Daniel is also an Anxiety UK approved therapist providing therapeutic support to the charity’s members and partner beneficiaries.
Daniel will be holding future Death Cafes in Salisbury at regular intervals and you are most welcome to come along or share the information with clients, family and friends. The next Salisbury Death Café will take place at the Practice Rooms on the 20th February from 3 to 5pm. The event is free of charge, but spaces are limited. If you are interested, please book your place through Eventbrite at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/salisbury-death-cafe-tickets-20547236337
In addition to facilitating Death Cafes in Salisbury, Daniel will also shortly be facilitating the Action For Happiness course, “Exploring What Matters”, in Salisbury. An inspiring 8-week course to explore what matters for a happy and meaningful life – together with a group of friendly, like-minded people. More details are available at the following link:
Perspectives, January 2016 – Links to other articles in this issue
Why “Perspectives”? – In this article, Angus Landman discusses his thoughts behind the title for The Practice Rooms’ new quarterly newsletter. Read more…
The Fertility Wellbeing Clinic: The Fruit Of A Successful Synergy – The story behind a successful partnership of practitioners who first met at The Practice Rooms and later joined forces to provide a more thorough assistance to men and women struggling with fertility. Read more…
The Transformative Power Of Group Analytic Psychotherapy – Emma Rayfield explores the qualities of group psychotherapy and its ability to offer an almost seamless transition from psychotherapy into the real world. Read more…
Interview with Julia Vaughan Smith – The ‘Sentence of Intention’: An Approach For Working With Psycho-Trauma – Nadia Sajadi-Rosen from The Practice Rooms interviews the psychotherapist Julia Vaughan Smith about her experience in working with trauma. Read more…
For The Twitter Beginner: A Guide To What It’s All About & How To Use It – This article is addressed to those who are still reluctant to explore Twitter and considers how practitioners of talking and holistic therapies might use it today in a worthwhile manner. Read more…