The Wellness Community in a Nutshell
Harold H. Benjamin, PhD
Last Modified: May 25, 1997
The mission of The Wellness Community is to help people with cancer fight for their recovery by providing psychological and emotional support, at no charge, as an integral part of conventional medical treatment.
The Wellness Community is not a hospice. It is not a place to learn to adapt your life to cancer or to die from cancer. At the foundation of The Wellness Community program is the unique Patient-Active concept, where you will learn that you do not have to be a helpless, hopeless and passive victim of the illness. It is a place to learn whatever it is you need to know to participate, along with your health care team, in your fight for recovery.
Most physicians believe that the immune system is the first line of defense against cancer. Science has recently discovered, in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), that positive emotions and positive mental activities strengthen the power of the immune system, will improve quality of life, and may enhance the possibility of recovery. The Wellness Community is a pioneer and leader in applying the findings of PNI by providing the psychological and emotional support programs physicians and oncologists in this field recommend. In the future, the work of The Wellness Community may be applicable to many other life-threatening diseases.
At The Wellness Community, people with cancer learn that they are not alone. With the diagnosis of cancer, often come feelings of fear, depression and isolation. If negative emotions remain constant and unremitting, they may adversely affect one's ability to fight, thus making recovery more difficult. Each day, cancer patients and their families can be with others who share the same concerns and feelings, thereby reducing their isolation, while retaining and maintaining as much control as possible of their lives.
There is a myth that cancer patients have no recourse but to wait for the end. That is not true. Today, more and more people are returning to health. At The Wellness Community, the cancer patients and family members can learn how to improve their lives and be with others who are fighting. They can also interact with our alumni, long-term survivors of cancer, who inspire by their very presence.
The Wellness Community offers drop-in and on-going support groups, networking groups for specific types of cancer, educational workshops, lectures by experts in the field of oncology, relaxation/visualization, social gatherings, laughter, joy and hope. It is not an alternative; it is in support of and integrated with conventional medical treatment.
Our program is in support of and in addition to regular medical treatment.