"Irene taught us practical ways to be present with our patients through touch. Perhaps more importantly, Irene reminded us of the importance of listening to ourselves in the midst of suffering and how to utilize that listening as a tool to be responsive to those whom we hope to help. I would recommend Irene's program enthusiastically to anyone interested in revisiting the importance of touch and presence in the midst of our busy lives." — Scott Rome, MD, Medical Director, California Pacific Regional Rehabilitation Center
"Irene has been a guest faculty member for healthcare professionals at the Metta Institute. Her teachings have often been the highlight of those programs.
Irene conveys her knowledge clearly, with integrity, generosity and humility. Her approach is sensitive and her methods are highly accessible, effective and absolutely useful for both professionals and non-professionals." — Frank Ostaseski; Founder, Metta Institute, Co-Founder Zen Hospice Project
The two recent massage workshops that Irene Smith provided to our hospice massage volunteers, Reiki practitioners and healing Touch providers was a profound experience not just for the therapists, and for our patients, but also for me as a Volunteer Coordinator. I could feel a very strong and grounded presence when I'd come into the workshop room. As the day went on, the volunteers became much more grounded and present with each other, something that has carried out of the workshop and into their work with hospice patients.
Irene provided a followup afternoon 3 weeks later. I was able to be with the group for the entire time, and was deeply touched by the experience they had after the training when working with patients. Without exception their experience, and the experience their patients had was transformed into a much more comfortable, and comforting, experience.
As a Volunteer Coordinator who is NOT a massage therapist this also gave me a much more comprehensive understanding of the difficulties, and joys, the volunteers have encountered working with people in their homes/facilities, and having to adapt their training in order to service this population. Irene’s work with them assures me that they are getting the best training possible, and that the focus on their comfort is just as important as their focus on our patient’s comfort!
I recommend this training for all hospice volunteer and non volunteer massage programs! — Susan Barber, Sutter Care At Home, San Mateo
"Irene has been a consultant and guest presenter with our end-of-life care volunteer training since 2005. This intensive 40 hour training program has won multiple awards and I consider Irene’s teachings in the areas of touch awareness and care-giving key to its success. Irene enhances our volunteers’ awareness around issues of touch in their work with fragile clients. She teaches and models what a therapeutic presence looks like, and does so in a way that volunteers themselves feel nurtured by their time with Irene. She provides such a powerful experiential learning session that our volunteers carry the imprint of her example with them throughout their years of service. Our program’s emphasis is on honoring the dying person's process rather than trying to fix or change, and Irene both compliments and reinforces this philosophy for us in her own unique and deeply meaningful way." — Rabbi Jon Sommer
"Our residents are in the final stages of life and can be physically and emotionally fragile. Support volunteers are not fully prepared to work with our residents until they have been trained by Irene Smith.
The content of Irene’s training is incredibly useful and the way in which it is imparted is nothing short of divine." – Stan Stone, Volunteer Coordinator, Maitri Hospice
"I have been honored to work with Irene Smith for many years, in the training of hospice and palliative care volunteers, who work at the bedsides of people in residential facilities and in their own homes.
Irene brings her wisdom, peacefulness and patience to each training. She conveys a strength and sense of calm that infuses the room and all of the participants with a deep level of understanding of what it means to touch another human being.
I am eternally grateful to Irene and the work she does in the world." – Judith Redwing Keyssar; Director, Palliative and End of Life Care Program of Seniors at Home/Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco Bay Area; Author, Last Acts of Kindness; Lessons for the Living from the Bedsides of the Dying