Heros of Healing: Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

My friend Akemi Gaines alerted me on to Jenny Manion‘s group writing project: Heros of Healing. This wasn’t a post I planned to write next but the subject matter is close to my heart, so here is my contribution.

Heroine of Healing: Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

She is renowned for her work on identifying psychological stages one goes through to deal with one’s impending death. Indeed, her work wrestles with possibly the single biggest source of fear in the modern Western world. She tirelessly worked on behalf of dying, not being afraid to face what they were facing, truly understanding their needs and advocating for them. Back in her time, hospitals told about possibility of death to everyone except the patient — especially children. They lied and tried to keep false hope when there was none. But Dr. Kübler-Ross realized that it was through facing and accepting death that we can live in peace and stop seeing death with fear but instead with hope. She is truly the godmother of what terminal care is today.

Website: http://ekrfoundation.org/

On Death and Dying
The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying

What I, Ari Koinuma, have learned from Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Actually, it was not her work on death and dying but the truth she recognized about healing, contained in her autobiography, that touched me.

Through her work with dying children, Dr. Kübler-Ross discovered that many of them knew that they were going to die, even when their doctors, nurses and families all told them otherwise. She realized that children, unclattered by “scientific” knowledge given by society, were able to stay in much better touch with their own bodies than adults. But yet so many of them were not afraid. Upon being confirmed what they “knew” all along, they felt a sense of relief, and often were able to be at peace with it.

In her book, she discussed that how we are the ones who know our own bodies the best. Doctors and specialists may have more knowledge of particular illnesses or conditions, but they cannot know what you know about your own body. Thus, it’s very important to choose a healer you feel comfortable with, trust, and agree with. For healing occurs when your body’s natural healing power works with treatments and externally-supplied assistance. It’s your body that does the healing, and they are the ones helping. Not the other way around. If you go to a doctor and gets a diagnosis or treatment plan that is different from your own idea about what’s going on with your own body or what it needs, trust yourself. Go seek other opinions and options, until you find someone/a method that really agree with you.

It’s been a long time since I read the book (I really need to purchase a copy and re-read it, since now I have a blog about healing 😉 ) but this lesson has resonated with me strongly. It really was the first step I took in learning to trust myself and my own intuition. I’ve been slowly releasing pieces of myself from the restraints I had put on, thinking they were necessary to get along with the rest of the world. I don’t mean to sound pompous, but discoveries I made since of what I am capable of have been nothing short of amazing.

The autobiography covers many other journeys, from death to supernatural experience. But at the time, this message was the one that reached out and really impacted me. I feel indebted to Dr. Kübler-Ross for being an agent of change and healing. I would not be who I am today if her message of hope and trust did not get me going on a better path.


  1. Hi Ari – it sounds like she is a compassionate woman who is doing her best to help people, according to how she sees the world – and I think it’s great she is helping people find comfort and healing. However I can only say I disagree with “how she sees the world” (no surprise here).

    I think death is caused by a subconscious belief that there is no choice in the matter (like taxes), and that when children or babies die, they are tuning into the group thought (or carrying it in their subconscious from previous lives). If these thoughts (and feelings) are cleared out, we can get on with life and exploring the rather large universe. So, to be honest, I am not inspired by people who teach “facing and accepting death” (thanks for the soapbox!)

    Cheers – Robin

    1. Hey Robin,

      With an outlook like yours, does the whole “fear of death” idea seem irrelevant to you? I’m going to reserve judgment because I am not quite familiar yet with your line of thinking, nor do I know that much about Dr. Kubler-Ross’ view of death. It’s funny because she is known for her work with dying but when I read the book the part that jumped out was the bit about healing. We simply get what we want/need out of any input, regardless of what else is in the content or the writer’s intent.

      Anyway, I do appreciate your honesty, Robin. 😉


      1. Hiya Ari – it’s very true, isn’t it, that we get what we want from the various sources of information and inspiration. As far as the other goes, I think I’ll leave it at that, because, despite appearances, I’m not really trying to convince anyone of anything (apart from an occasional little rant!)

        Robin’s last blog post..Feelings Are There To Be Felt

  2. Hi Ari – What a wonderful story. And I’m so glad you chose EKR. I am a huge fan of her books. And what she says is so true.

    Many years ago, I had a difference of opinion with a doctor. He was going to send me home as he insisted I didn’t have a serious injury. But I stuck to my guns and refused to leave his office until I had a CT scan. It turned out I had a serious injury and if I didn’t have an operation quickly, I would actually lose my eye. This leaves me in no doubt that we do know our own bodies better – just as Dr Kubler-Ross explained.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..7 Questions To Ask Before You Launch A Business

  3. Hi Ari,
    Firstly thank you for participating in the group writing project. Kubler-Ross is a wonderful addition to the list of Heroes. I studied her in college and what always stuck out was the 5 stages of grief which I have seen be very accurate in many situations (not just terminal illness). I now want to re-read her to learn more about her views on healing.

    We are the only ones who truly KNOW our bodies but early on we become conditioned that “doctors know best”. Trusting that was part of what kept me ill for 6 years. The doctors were always telling me how sorry they felt for me and how sick I was and I believed them and perpetuated it. When I learned about the law of attraction and the mind/body connection I learned how to tune into those “messages” I was sending my body and BOY was I upset! I put the ultimate TRUST in MYSELF to heal from within and it did not take very long to do it. If something hurt — I shifted my attention to a part that didn’t… I began to concentrate on gratitude instead of “how sick I was”. It is very important we listen to our bodies — I believe mine was trying to tell me something for 6 years (that I needed to deal with lots of emotional stuff that I had not been processing) but I was too busy listening to the doctors to really listen to my own body.
    Thanks again for highlighting Dr. Kubler-Ross — I am looking forward to re-discovering her!
    Gratefully, Jenny

    Jenny Mannion’s last blog post..Heroes of Healing

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Welcome to OBV! I’m very happy to be a part of your project, as this subject is very close to my heart — hence my blog. 😉

      Your story is quite amazing, and a powerful example of the healing powers our own body possess. We just have to know it’s there and learn to tap into it.

      I know doctors mean well — but I am beginning to feel that the medical industry as a whole is building its practices around “how to not get sued.” It’s very unfortunate, especially since our realizing of the body’s healing power doesn’t make going to doctors unnecessary, either. Doctors want to help us — we just have to remember, like any service providers, that we have the power and responsibility to choose the right one.

      Anyway, I look forward to conversing with you more on the themes you and I have in common. Keep in touch!


  4. She sounds so inspiring! Thank you for introducing me to her.
    I guess children know what we have forgotten — that this life is temporary but there is bigger life that transcends this life. It doesn’t mean this life doesn’t matter –no, we want to live this life fully, but at the same time, there is something bigger.
    (Yeah, I get to see many many “deaths” of past lives in my Akashic Record Reading service . . . Blood is still scary for me thought)

    Akemi “spiritual entrepreneur” @ Yes to Me’s last blog post..Heroes Of Healing: Gary Craig

    1. Akemi-san,

      Welcome to OBV! Sorry you had trouble with my commenting system.

      I imagine it gives you a view of very, very big picture, when you’re looking at Akashic Records — many life times! That’s a mind-boggling concept.

      I think you’ll enjoy Dr. EKR’s autobiography. She goes into many spiritual ventures (not all of them were successful) in the second half of book. She does strike me as a feisty woman. 😉 Definitely lived her life to the fullest — something we all should aspire to do.


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