Midwifing Death Correspondence
Course (MDCC) Format
This interactive correspondence course is designed to inform, empower and guide adults in the art of Midwifing Death.
On completing the course, participants will have an enhanced understanding of the physical and psycho-spiritual needs of the sick and dying, and will be sufficiently skilled, mindful and aware to become an amicus (companion or friend) to any person living with a life-limiting illness.
Each course runs for 20 weeks and commences the 1st February and 1st August each year. During the 20 weeks you will be asked to keep a journal (see later) submit five essays, attend a compulsory weekend workshop (unless enrolled in the Distance Learning Programme) and complete the required book readings. Selected reference material and links will be emailed to assist you with Essays 2, 3 and 4.
It is a busy 20 weeks, but we urge you to keep to the timetable and submit essays by the due date. This helps to maintain a learning momentum and ensures you keep pace with other participants. Remember, what you get from the course depends very much on the investment you make in time and reflection. Please let Michael know if extenuating circumstances prevent you from meeting any of the deadlines. Participants who satisfactorily complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion confirming their involvement.
Below is a short outline of the Midwifing Death Correspondence Course.
You can download a more detailed PDF version of the Course Format here.
COURSE COMMENCES (WEEK 1) – 1st February and 1st August.
COURSE ENDS (WEEK 20) – approximately mid-June and mid-December
Essential book reading
Who Dies by Stephen Levine
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Week 1-2: Essay 1 – Why become an amicus?
Week 3: Book reading – Midwifing Death by Michael Barbato
Week 4: Introductory readings and links for Essay 2
Weeks 5-7: Essay 2 – What does a good death mean for you?
Week 8: Book reading – The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
Week 9: Introductory readings and links for Essay 3
Weeks 10-12: Essay 3 – Discuss the pros and cons of truth-telling.
Week 13: Book reading – The Art of Being a Healing Presence by James Miller and Helen Cutshall
Week 14: Introductory readings and links for Essay 4
Weeks 15-17: Essay 4 – Discuss the concept of healing and the importance of a healing space and healing presence.
Weeks 18-20: Essay 5 – What have you received from the course? What have you learnt about yourself throughout the course? What could have made the course more meaningful? Other comments you would like to make.
DISTANCE LEARNING EXERCISES (DLEs)
Week 3: Exercise – Listening (500 word report)
Week 8: Exercise – Reflective practice (500 word report)
Week 13: Exercise – Beliefs and agendas (500 word report)
A journal is a useful tool for those doing the course. Paraphrasing Stephen Levine, “Work with the dying is working on myself.” When our emotions are heightened we have an opportunity to become more aware of them and heal them. Addressing them with the aid of a journal helps to improve our Emotional Intelligence (EQ), which in this context is better described as emotional maturity. Most importantly, this enables us be more present for the dying and their family. Last but not least, the journal is a valuable resource when writing your final essay. In the journal we suggest you record significant events, dreams, emotional shifts and thoughts that occur during the course. To read more about journaling, please read Ann’s essay in Newsletter 2. Email Michael if you want a copy.
ESSAY/DLE SUBMISSION AND MARKING
Essays and DLEs should be emailed in Word (not pdf) to...
Each essay will be appraised by two of us – Michael and Ann or Judith. Essays received after the due date will be reviewed by just one person. Essays are marked as ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’. Grades are not allocated but feedback and suggestions are given for the benefit of the participant. Incomplete essays are to be revised according to the comments made and resubmitted prior to commencing the next essay. Distance Learning exercises will be reviewed by just one person.
COURSE FEE AND REFUND POLICY
The course fee is currently $250. A concessional rate of $150 is available upon request for a limited number of participants. Please contact Michael if you wish to apply for this reduced rate, stating your reasons.
A refund (amount paid minus $50) will be issued to those who withdraw 4 weeks prior to the course commencing. Consideration will be given to later withdrawals when there are pressing reasons for doing so. Apart from a refund you also have the option of transferring to a later course.
Readings, video links and other reference material that accompany the coursework have been selected to stimulate thinking around each essay. A full list of essential readings and other recommened readings can be downloaded here. They are a guide and not meant to dissuade you from doing your own reading around the topic. Media reports, television documentaries and the internet often provide a different, but useful perspective. We are particularly interested in the view you have formed on the topic based on your personal experience as well as the readings and research. The essays are not meant to be academic but a well-informed and balanced view based on what you know, believe and have experienced personally.
Many of the recommended books are available through public libraries. Most are held in our home library and can be borrowed for two weeks if you cannot access them locally. Postage is one of our greatest expenses so we ask that you bear this in mind when ordering books. As many of the recommended books are in demand, borrowed books should be returned as early as possible ensuring they are well packaged to avoid damage while in transit.