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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Daniel McKitrick

Second Advisor

John Frew

Third Advisor

Michel Hersen


For the past thirty years numerous theories have been presented that attempt to assist individuals engaged in the difficult transition of dying. Many health care disciplines and the theories emerging from these disciplines have neglected to take a holistic stand in viewing a dying individual.The result has been that thanatological theories have remained unidimensional in their scope, and even antagonistic towards other theories. In this work, the author presents an interpretation of the Transtheoretical Model of Change (Prochaska, DiClemente & Norcross, 1992) as it applies toward assessing and treating the dying client. The significant thanatological theories from the past thirty years are reviewed, and their strengths and weaknesses are discussed. The criteria previously proposed by Corr (1993) for a comprehensive theory of thanatology are presented, and the Transtheoretical Model's Stages of Change and Processes of Change are delineated in the context of this population. Implications for treatment and further
research are then discussed.