The demand for mental health professionals in the oncology field continues to grow as researchers, medical professionals and society as a whole learn more and understand more about the cancer experience. Cancer can take an emotional toll on those diagnosed, as well as on their family, friends and significant others.
My therapeutic work and own personal experiences have led to a deep understanding of how complex cancer’s impact can be. As an oncology social worker and current psychotherapist, I have helped cancer patients, individuals in remission and members of their support networks manage fears of the unknown, adjust to a “new normal” and make peace with difficult circumstances.
Understanding and coping with cancer as a child or teenager can also carry its own set of challenges. It’s important for kids and teens to able to ask questions and express feelings and concerns, whether they themselves are the ones diagnosed or have a family member, friend or significant other with cancer. Deciding how much information to share, and the style of approach can be difficult for the adults in their lives as well.
It is also very possible that a child or adolescent may not be comfortable discussing cancer directly with family, friends or mental health professionals. In such situations, play therapy and expressive therapies that incorporate art or creative writing may be helpful. A support group rather than individual counseling can be beneficial as well. Realizing that other kids and teens share similar experiences to them and understand their feelings, can be validating and comforting.
Nourish Your Mind will be offering two Confronting Cancer support groups, one for middle schoolers and another for high schoolers. The groups will be forming for those impacted by cancer in the following ways:
- The child/teen has a family member or friend who has cancer or has had cancer in the past;
- The child/teen has lost a family member or friend to cancer; and/or
- The child/teen has a current cancer diagnosis or is in remission.
The Confronting Cancer middle school group and Confronting Cancer high school group will be facilitated by myself, Gina Pellrine, LMSW. Call (845) 547-0479 or email [email protected] to inquire further details and to register.*
*Individual counseling for adults impacted by a cancer diagnosis is available at Nourish Your Mind as well. Call or email us to get started.