Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: William Yang

Losing Me, Becoming Me

Pages: 166 Ratings:
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This book explores the human search for meaning when people are confronted with a life-threatening illness such as cancer. Losing Me, Becoming Me delves into the relationship between body and mind in this challenging context. It argues for a compassionate and courageous stance towards ourselves as embodied beings. Despite its dire predicament, our body cries out to be acknowledged, taken care of, and accepted as-it-is. Living with cancer involves a profound journey into an existential crisis such as the ‘dark night’, and yet which also brings unexpected moments of inner light.

This book argues that ‘spirituality’ is ultimately about facing the reality of our physicality and mortality. It is when we face this reality that we can discover the mystery lying at the very heart of human existence. The crisis of a cancer diagnosis for many people means having to reconnect with the body in a wholly different way. Losing Me, Becoming Me describes a form of body work that helps to rediscover our body at a deeper level. It is rooted in Chinese Qi Gong practice and the Christian tradition of Hesychasm. It describes an approach to an embodied spirituality which may be of interest to professionals working in cancer care, patients, carers, and cancer survivors.

Dr William Yang and Ton Staps have been working with cancer patients for many years. In this book they map a journey which often involves losing and rediscovering the self. Losing Me, Becoming Me is a book which argues for a compassionate, empathic, and tender stance towards the reality that we are embodied beings.

– Toine van den Hoogen, Emeritus Professor in Theology at Radboud University, Nijmegen the Netherlands.

“William Yang and Ton Staps show how the loss of health because of cancer can lead to a profound transformation, which is grounded in the body. I have drawn on their thinking and approaches over many years in my work as a psychologist and pastoral care worker. In Losing Me, Becoming Me the authors offer a fascinating and challenging perspective on the journey through cancer.”

– Peter Zandvliet, Psychologist and Pastoral Care Worker.

William Yang

William Yang founded Tabor House in 1990. It was the first centre in the Netherlands that offered psycho-spiritual counselling and support to cancer patients and their relatives. Drawing on spiritual traditions from East and West, he aims to integrate different modes of meditation and psycho-energetic exercises as an essential part of the therapeutic process. The results of his study on the existential crisis among cancer patients were first published in Existential Crisis and the Awareness of Dying: The Role of Meaning and Spirituality (2010).


In later years, he researched the interconnection between changes in the experience of the body and in a person’s perspective on life and the sense of self. Through his doctoral research, William uncovered a dimension of a truly lived and embodied spirituality, resulting in a heightened process of individuation.


Ton Staps

Ton Staps is a health psychologist and psychotherapist who, from 19761998, worked as a staff member in the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Medical Centre of Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. As a psychologist, he worked for the department of radiation therapy, where he counselled and supported many cancer patients. He held a teaching position in the faculty of medicine.


When Tabor House was founded in 1990, Ton was very much present, offering his expertise as a supervisor of the team and contributing to the work across different functions over many years. He worked as a senior researcher in Tabor House and participated in a qualitative research project which focused on the changing experience of the body in the process of dealing with an existential crisis.

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