- Creative Inspiration
Services Provided by The Wellness Community
Harold H. Benjamin, PhD
Last Modified: May 25, 1997
The Wellness Community is, above everything else, a community - a
homelike place where people with cancer and their families can be
with others to build support and a sense of extended family to
mitigate feelings of unwanted aloneness. It is a place where they
can come to learn whatever it is they need to know, on the
psychological and emotional level, to fight for recovery along with
their medical team. Every aspect of The Wellness Community free
program listed below is to help patients improve the quality of their
lives and fight for recovery.
- HOMELIKE FACILITY AVAILABLE ALL DAY:
At The Wellness
Community they learn about: (1) the unique Patient Active Concept
which combines the will of the patient and the skill of the
physician, and (2) they meet and learn from others ways they can
involve themselves in the fight. All participants are invited to use
the community in much the same way as they would use a neighborhood
center. Participants and staff are present throughout the day.
There are evening and week-end activities.
- ORIENTATION MEETINGS:
These are twice a week informal drop-in
groups led by cancer survivors. At these meetings, people with
cancer learn that the diagnosis is not always a death sentence, that
life does not end with the diagnosis, that they can learn ways to
participate in their fight for recovery along with their physician
and that there is hope -- always hope. It is at these meetings that
they learn about the wide variety of Wellness Community programs and
services available for their use.
- PARTICIPANT GROUPS:
On-going, two-hour weekly support groups
led by licensed psychotherapists specially trained in TWC's methods
of dealing with the psychological and emotional problems of cancer
patients. In these groups, participants (1) become part of an
extended family of those who understand, (2) learn new and different
methods for dealing with the physical and emotional problems
associated with the illness and (3) perhaps relieve some of the
stress in their lives. Participant groups are for people with cancer
who are actively fighting for physical recovery and are willing to
make a weekly commitment.*
- FAMILY GROUPS:
Similar to participant groups, these are
on-going two-hour weekly support groups led by licensed
psychotherapists specially trained in TWC's methods of dealing with
the psychological and emotional problems that caregivers face when a
loved one is diagnosed with cancer. In these groups, caregivers
learn how best to support the person with cancer while supporting
themselves - much to the benefit of both.
- SHORT-TERM INDIVIDUAL OR FAMILY COUNSELING:
Six sessions of
counseling are available for participants and family members, and are
facilitated by licensed Professionals-In-Training or Registered
Interns at TWC.
Participants practice a physical
relaxation exercise in order to attain the "relaxation response"
combined with a visualization or guided-imagery experience. Harold
H. Benjamin, Ph.D. in "The Wellness Community Guide to Fighting for
Recovery from Cancer," citing the work of Herbert Benson, M.D. and O.
Carl Simonton, M.D., discusses the importance of combining these two
components as a tool in the fight for recovery. R/V is often helpful
for people dealing with pain, side effects of chemotherapy, radiation
treatment and reducing stress.
- EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS:
Several times each month, workshops,
lectures and seminars are conducted by prominent physicians,
oncologists, psychologists and other professionals that provide
information and education useful for people with cancer. "Ask The
Doctor," Nutrition Workshops and Exercise Programs are examples of
these drop-in groups. Of course, TWC does not advocate any position
in these presentations.
- NETWORKING GROUPS FOR SPECIFIC TYPES OF CANCER:
are facilitated focus groups, meeting regularly, where people with
cancer discuss and exchange information about specific types of
cancer. Breast Cancer Networking Group and The Prostate Cancer Group
are two examples of this type of program.
- THE WELLNESS CONNECTION:
A twice monthly facilitated group
for people who are beyond the day-to-day fight for recovery and wish
to discuss issues and concerns regarding survivorship. This group,
through its Alumni Registry, is often a source of hope and support
for participants still actively engaged in fighting cancer.
- COMMUNITY EVENTS:
There are social gatherings such as
parties, potlucks, game nights, joke fests, sing-alongs and other
celebratory events which brings participants, family members and
friends together to laugh and play.
* After a participant is asymptomatic for 18 months, their
involvement at TWC can continue in a variety of ways other than the
Participant Group, such as The Wellness Connection, the Speaker's
Bureau, parties and workshops.