Dying Well in America: How to Find a Divine Path to the End of Life with Rev. Dr. Herbert Anderson & Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter MD

Original Air Date Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019

In America, having intimate conversations is not for the faint of heart, especially if it is a conversation about a life-limiting illness or end of life plans. But, what if having those conversations could improve a loved one’s quality of life and ensure their values and preferences are adhered to? What if we reframed the way we think about what it means to die and approached it as an opportunity to improve our lives? When the season of our lives changes to winter is it possible to find happiness and joy? To understand what it takes to overcome the fear of dying and death, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two authors who are practitioners of palliative care. Reverend Dr. Herbert Anderson shines a light on what was once a dark subject and how we can be faithful to each other’s needs. And, Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter talks about the beneficial role medical professionals can play by providing palliative care for patients and their families.


Does something in this conversation resonate with you? Are you in need of a professional speaker who can elevate your tribe & enliven your culture? Lisa Cypers Kamen is an award-winning speaker, author & happiness expert who facilitates life-changing presentations for organizations of any size. The science is clear, happier people thrive in life. If you are ready to inject joy into your organization, find out which program is best for you at Lisa’s Live Events.

Reverend Dr. Herbert Anderson — Overcoming the Fear of Death:
  • Dr. Anderson explains why we should embrace the reality that death is part of life. [2:11]
  • The benefits of reframing death from something to be feared into something that sparks curiosity and awe. [6:53]
  • What the medical community can do to facilitate conversations about life-limiting illnesses. [12:12]
  • How palliative care can provide a longer and richer end of life experience. [21:18]

Rev. Dr. Herbert A. Anderson is the author or co-author of over 90 articles and 13 books on topics such as death and grief, family living, ritual and narrative, empathy, leaving home and living alone, men’s spirituality, suicide, outpatient care, hospitality, and sense and nonsense in the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. He last taught at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley and continues as a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley as a Research Professor of Practical Theology and is Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago where he taught for 15 years. His most recent book was co-authored with Karen Speerstra and is entitled The Divine Art of Dying: How to Live Well While Dying. Herbert is retired and living in Sonoma, California.

Book: The Divine Art of Dying: How to Live Well While Dying

Herbert Anderson Website

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter — End of Life Conversations:
  • Dr. Nutik Zitter describes the purpose of palliative care and how it aims to manage a patients’ needs. [26:53]
  • With all of our advances in technology, we are still unable to stave off death. [28:48]
  • Dr. Nutik Zitter describes what she calls the end of life conveyor belt and real patient stories from her experience as a critical caregiver. [35:45]
  • What makes medical professionals uncomfortable with end of life conversations? [42:32]

Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., MPH, is an expert on the medical experience of death and dying. She attended Stanford University and Case Western Reserve Medical School and completed her residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She was a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California San Francisco. Zitter is double-boarded in the two specialties of pulmonary/critical care medicine and palliative care medicine—a rare combination. She writes for The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Pacific Standard, The Atlantic, and Journal of Palliative Medicine, and is featured in Extremis, an award-winning documentary about end-of-life decision-making in an ICU.

Book: Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life


Jessica Zitter Website
Jessica Zitter on Facebook
@JessicaZitter on Twitter

This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life — A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?

H-Factor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film that explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally-desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.



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