In this episode, we speak to Dr Rachel Menzies. Rachel is a clinical psychologist and member of the Australian Psychological Society. She is currently practising in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Rachel completed her Honours degree in psychology at the University of Sydney, winning the Dick Thompson Thesis Prize for her work on death anxiety and its relationship with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Rachel completed her Masters of Clinical Psychology and her PhD at the University of Sydney. Rachel has published extensively on the causes of various disorders, including depression, OCD, panic disorder, illness anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, generalised anxiety disorder and specific phobias, as well as on gender differences in anxiety.
Rachel was featured in The Conversation Yearbook 2016, a collection of the top 1% of ‘standout articles from Australia’s top thinkers. Rachel is the lead editor of the book Curing the Dread of Death: Theory, Research and Practice, published by Australian Academic Press in 2018. In 2019, she released her second book: Tales from the Valley of Death: Reflections from Psychotherapy on the Fear of Death. In 2021, Rachel released Mortals: How the Fear of Death Shaped Human Society.
Rachel has delivered workshops on death anxiety and its relation to anxiety and mood disorders across 7 Australian cities. This 2019 national tour was hosted by the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy (AACBT). In addition to her clinical work, Rachel currently works as a postdoctoral research fellow and guest lecturer at the University of Sydney.
In this interview, we discuss Rachel’s new book Mortals: How the Fear of Death Shaped Human Society. We thoroughly enjoyed this book, and, in this interview, we explored many topics from religion, funeral practices, health, vitamins, and much more. If you are interested in Ernest Becker’s work around the Denial of Death or Terror Management Theory then you will love this book. Highly recommended and easy to read.
All of Rachel’s publications can be found at rachelmenzies.com/publications.