Workshop Testimonials


Facing Death . . . with open eyes

Excellent class! Excellent Moderator! Got lots of information that’s usable. Thank you.
Workshop Participant
Cancer Support Community Center


I have hosted many patient events at the Cancer Center and the discussion, which you facilitated, on “Facing Death” was probably the most real and heartfelt dialogue between patients I have witnessed.   I could tell that these patients and caregivers were just waiting for an opportunity to talk about their thoughts, hopes and fears about death, and you offered them the venue to do just that.
Naomi Hoffer
Program Manager, UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center


The approach to death is a very personal and spiritual experience and when dealing with patients this does come into play. This is an essential topic that needs to be discussed openly and what Dr. Peticolas does is give the opportunity and guidance to hold these discussions.
Juie Durand, Program Manager
John Muir Cancer Institute


The film gives me an opportunity to re-examine personal thoughts and feelings around life and death once again despite feeling that I am comfortable at present with this. I have loved seeing how she (Michelle) has captured each individual’s journey through their illness while exploring a journey of her own. This can all be applied in my practice no matter where I go as life and death is an everyday event, so it seems.
Professional Staff
John Muir Cancer Institute


Excellent to be able to talk about reality of death for all of us, especially if you have had a family member facing death within the year. It helps us to walk ourselves and our loved ones home. The more we share, the less alone we are.
Workshop Participant
Cancer Support Community, Walnut Creek, CA


Makes it easier for me to deal with my deathh.
Workshop Participant
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center


Caring for Dying: the art of being present

The film was especially effective in bringing to light the caregiver’s perspective that is often over-shadowed by the dying person’s experience. The personal stories ran true for those of us who have shouldered the caregiver’s role. The film effectively covers the breadth and complexity of caregiving in a very short space.
Kirsta Alderson
Executive Director, Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic


Useful information that can be used as training tools for our volunteers that assist or clients.
Rina Bello
Director, Breast Cancer Connection


This has put things in perspective. It made me realize how vulnerable the patients are and how my interactions with them can affect them.
Physician’s Assistant
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center


Reminds me that being present is enough. It was very helpful to have this extra time to discuss with my colleague our experience of feeling helpless at times and how we deal with it. We don’t often get the opportunity or have the space at work to relate on this level, and it helps me feel more connected and understood, supported.
Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic


Never being afraid to give more in care giving. This presentation was such a blessing for me. It provided me information that never will allow me to be afraid to be a caregiver.
Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic


The Heart of Grieving

As you know, we have had difficulty in the past finding an impactful way of addressing these important issues.  Your film, with its very personal, heart-felt stories, has been very effective in conveying the experience of cancer families and sensitizing our volunteers to the importance of openness, compassion, empathy and respect.
Jill Arnold
Volunteer Services Manager, Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic


Michelle’s presentation has given me a greater sensitivity to the processes of grief, life and death and more awareness about the need to observe.
RN, Volunteer
Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic


This presentation is helpful in preparing myself for when a client passes, learned really helpful strategies from others in the field and seeing death and dying from a different perspective.
Patient Navigator
San Francisco General Breast Cancer Clinic


The Heart of Grieving“ was a wonderful way to access many of the areas of grief. Speaking so openly to strangers was really healing. I was able to see my suffering in others.
Sutter Care at Home Introductory Bereavement Workshop


I want to commend Michelle for putting this very special workshop together. Her passion, knowledge and spirit shine through. 
UCSF Helen Diller Cancer Center


It was reassuring to hear others relate experiences similar to ones I had, that seemed a little unbelievable at the time. 
Cancer Support Community, Walnut Creek, CA


Michelle gave a wonderful presentation to my Death and Dying class at UC Berkeley. She is a terrific presenter, and I was especially struck by how she used her whole body to illustrate your points, visibly modeling the body – mind connection that she talks about. A week later, the students are still talking about her three “secrets” for releasing grief and how they might be used in a helping situation. They were especially struck by the idea of “changing the story,” rather than just re-traumatizing and re-victimizing by telling the same story over and over. 
Professor Andy E. Scharlach
School of Social Work, University of California, Berkeley