Soul Care Doula
The term ‘soul care doula’ was a new one to me a few years ago. I had been training in reflexology and had used the therapy on my father in law who was dying of cancer. It was obvious to me that he was able to relax and even sleep as I touched his feet, despite needing morphine for high levels of pain. The power of touch was incredible and crossed all the language barriers we had from him being a) a non-English speaker and b) in variable and huge amounts of pain. Spending time with him, and using complementary therapies to help him, was a gift. I knew that this was something you don’t come across many times in your life. I also knew that I wanted to do more of it.
As the years have passed, I have been in the right place on two other occasions, to provide reflexology to people who were close to end of their lives. The visible difference to the person is huge. Tension seems to disappear, and worries are forgotten as they completely relax into some other space and time. This phenomenon does also occur with reflexology in general but is especially profound in anyone nearing death. The power of touch cannot be underestimated, but it is a light touch and always adapted to the needs and wants of the client. Special holding and linking techniques can be used where skin is very delicate. The frequency of sessions can vary according to the patient. I have done weekly sessions at home and also within a hospice setting (although some hospices provide some complementary therapy, you may wish to have me visit as I know your history and needs better. I have also done daily shorter sessions in AAU followed by hospice up to the day before the client died.
I am also able to provide care and support to family members who may be struggling with any part of the situation. Saying goodbye to a loved one is incredibly difficult and you will need lots of support so please reach out to friends, and consider that you can be of the best support to your loved one when you have also taken care of yourself.
In the last few years I have seen a few references to people who ‘accompany’ others in the time leading up to the end of their life. These people were also known as ‘Soul Midwife’, ‘Soul Doula’ ‘End of Life Doula’ and ‘Soul Care Practitioner’. Each person has their own way of working, and the role is different each time depending on the needs of the client and their family.
I have trained with Solace of Souls in King’s Lynn, on one of currently only three accredited, end of life training courses within the UK.
Things you may wish to consider within the role, when employing a Soul Doula/ Midwife.
A companion, being a confidant with whom they can share fears and emotions that perhaps they cannot bear to let their family see.
Needing transport or shopping benefits within the role, getting to make appointments without family members needing to leave work or get care for small children.
Encompassing the whole family’s needs; facilitating open communication and aiding the creation of memory boxes, for example.
Becoming an integral part of the end of life care plan, to support the family after the death, assisting with planning funeral arrangements or bringing other family members to the service for example.
As a Soul Care Doula, I am open to all these levels of support, if appropriate, but mainly to be with the person who is facing the conclusion to life on earth, to enable them to feel at peace and fulfilled as much as possible mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I am here to spend some set times per week with the client, to get to know them and their specific situation as fully as possible, in order that I can understand how best to support them within the limitations of my role.
I now also have other therapies such as reflexology, massage, aromatherapy, reiki, hand reflexology, Emotional Freedom Techniques, yoga nidra and meditation to add to my repertoire of caring, as I get to know any needs, fears and wishes of the client. Any of my therapies can be accessed at an appropriate stage following a terminal diagnosis. This may be a few years, a few months, or even days before the predicted window of passing from this world.
There are many options available. Depending on the needs and abilities of the client, we can take walks together as we talk, or in silence. I can read out loud, source music, create aromatherapy blends to use with reflexology or in products, provide other holistic therapies, create art, create memory boxes, take drives around local areas or to appointments, and more. The plan would be that I spend regular amounts of time with the client although this can be fluid, as plans change and adapt to their needs.
Things I cannot do relate to personal care and hygiene, lifting and dressing, or overnight stays at present. I cannot handle any amounts of cash, and I am not responsible for medications or nutrition. All information obtained prior to, during and after my period of work is held in accordance with the Data Protection Laws.
My role as a Soul Care Doula is to provide a confidential service, where trust is built to enable the client (and their family) to feel supported as they approach this time of uncertainty. I will be a stable and reliable, non-judgemental person who can try to ensure the wishes of the departing are kept a high priority, whilst supporting them on their journey with peace and love.
A free and confidential pre-consultation is completed, including a telephone conversation, so that we know whether we would both be comfortable working with each other, and fees can be calculated based on circumstances and hours/ timings proposed. After this, an initial (charged) face-to-face consultation meeting takes place to discuss the practicalities and get to know each other a little. As these practicalities change over time, regular reviews will need to be undertaken, dependant on the timeframe being proposed.
Clients or their family members can get in touch with me via this website, email or on the phone.