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The “lonely predicament”

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 19 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3346
  1. Gillian Colville, consultant clinical psychologist, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. gcolvill{at}

As a child psychologist I am sometimes asked to see children in families where a death is anticipated. The assumption is that I will help them understand more about the illness and provide a safe space in which they can express their feelings about what is happening. But surprisingly often my young patients have made it quite clear that this is not something they want to do.

Occasionally they go on to talk more openly, but more commonly they …

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