On Thursday 12 November, the School of Population Health hosted the launch of two sole-authored books by Professor Peter Adams. This was the first time that an event like this had been held in the new Building 507.

The first book, How to Talk about Spiritual Encounters (NY: Palgrave Macmillan), is based on Peter’s PhD research and subsequent work in the field of rhetoric. It looks at the way people use language in describing mystical or spiritual experiences, and how this understanding is useful for practitioners in fields such as health, psychology or social work.

The second book, Reflecting on the Inevitable: Mortality at the Crossroads of Psychology, Philosophy and Health (NY: Oxford University Press) is a cross-disciplinary work focused on how to maintain an ongoing relationship with one’s own death. It too looks at applications in community and teaching contexts aimed at promoting my-death awareness.

Dr Vanessa Selak from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics introduced two colleagues who described their response to reading the books.

John Raeburn, who taught in the faculty for 34 years, described the way that  How to Talk about Spiritual Encounters’ theory of ‘provocative gaps’ had shifted his understanding of what is happening when people speak about spiritual matters.

Following this, Dr Monique Jonas from Health Systems section responded to Reflecting on the Inevitable with a description of how pursuing a relationship with one’s own death intensifies how we engage both with life and with our value base.

If you are interested in purchasing one or both of these books, they are available at a reduced launch price – contact Peter at p.adams@auckland.ac.nz