An Interview with Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross(July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was an Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief.

She is a 2007 inductee into the American National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of twenty honorary degrees and by July 1982 had taught, in her estimation, 125,000 students in death and dying courses in colleges, seminaries, medical schools, hospitals, and social-work institutions.In 1970, she delivered the The Ingersoll Lectures on Human Immortality at Harvard University, on the theme, On Death and Dying.

Elisabeth Kübler was born on July 8, 1926 in Zürich, Switzerland, one of triplets. Elisabeth was born fifteen minutes before her identical sister, Erika. Minutes later came her sister, Eva.Her family were Protestant Christians. Her father did not want her to study medicine, but she persisted. Eventually her father took pride in her career. In an interview she stated:

In Switzerland I was educated in line with the basic premise: work work work. You are only a valuable human being if you work. This is utterly wrong. Half working, half dancing – that is the right mixture. I myself have danced and played too little.
During World War II she became involved in refugee relief work in Zürich and later visited Majdanek death camp. She graduated from the University of Zürich medical school in 1957

Kübler-Ross encouraged the hospice care movement, believing that euthanasia prevents people from completing their ‘unfinished business’.

In 1977 she persuaded her husband to buy forty acres of land in Escondido, California, near San Diego, where she founded “Shanti Nilaya” (Home of Peace). She intended it as a healing center for the dying and their families. She was also a co-founder of the American Holistic Medical Association.

In the late 1970s, she became interested in out-of-body experiences, mediumship, spiritualism, and other ways of attempting to contact the dead. This led to a scandal connected to the Shanti Nilaya Healing Center, in which she was duped by Jay Barham, founder of the Church of the Facet of the Divinity. Claiming he could channel the spirits of the departed and summon ethereal “entities”, he encouraged church members to engage in sexual relations with the “spirits”. He may have hired several women to play the parts of female spirits for this purpose.[8] Kubler-Ross’ friend Deanna Edwards attended a service to ascertain whether allegations against Barham were true. He was found to be naked and wearing only a turban when Edwards unexpectedly pulled masking tape off the light switch and flipped on the light.

Kübler-Ross suffered a series of strokes in 1995 which left her partially paralyzed on her left side, and the Shanti Nilaya Healing Center closed around that time. She found living in a wheelchair, slowly waiting for death to come, an unbearable suffering, and wished to be able to determine her time of death. [13] In a 2002 interview with The Arizona Republic, she stated that she was ready for death. She died in 2004 at her home in Scottsdale, Arizona, and was buried at the Paradise Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

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