Cancer Treatment Centers of America

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Spiritual Support

spiritual support

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For faith-based individuals, spiritual support can be a fundamental part of treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).

Getting in touch with your spirituality may help you better cope with the psychological and emotional effects of cancer. We strive to provide universal spiritual support services for patients and their family members. If requested, a member of our pastoral care team will meet with you within the first 48 hours of your first visit to the hospital.

Spiritual support services

If you choose, you can integrate spiritual care into your treatment in a variety of ways:

  • Individual and group prayer
  • Counseling by a faith representative of your choice
  • Weekly interfaith worship and communion services
  • Communication between our pastoral care team and a family’s spiritual advisors at home
  • Patient and caregiver classes focused on healing, faith and life
  • Telephone consultations
  • Support with end-of-life issues and decisions
  • Baptisms, weddings and funerals

Chaplains can also visit with you before surgery to provide prayer and counsel. Caregivers and family members may also talk with them at any time. In addition, other clinicians, including physicians and nurses, often pray with patients as part of the care they provide.

After completing your treatment, spiritual support services are still available by phone and through our spiritual outreach program, Our Journey of Hope®.

The pastoral care team at Eastern

Some members of the pastoral care team at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern) include Chaplain Robin Childs, a Roman Catholic priest and nun, as well as pastors of Baptist, Hispanic, and non-denomination churches. If you would like to see someone from another faith affiliation, we can contact local clergy for you as well.

Eastern's pastoral care team will help you look at cancer from a different perspective—a positive one. The team meets several times a week to discuss your needs. Your chaplain will also consult regularly with other members of your care team to find ways to support you. For example, just as the Mind-Body Medicine Department strives to help relieve your stress, the pastoral care team helps you deal with emotional management issues from a religious standpoint.

Forgiveness education

Eastern offers a formal Forgiveness Education Program. The program explores the healing powers of forgiveness during cancer care, as many patients need to forgive themselves or others for something that happened in the past.

The assessment and program highlights

When you first arrive at the hospital, you’ll have an opportunity to meet with a member of the pastoral care team to discuss your beliefs and assess your spiritual needs. Part of this assessment is a spirituality questionnaire, which includes a series of questions related to religious struggles. This information helps us identify if you are struggling with forgiveness issues.

The Forgiveness Education Program focuses on your need to resolve a painful past through the healing of memories. Some highlights of the program include:

  • Desire to forgive – addresses any issues of avoidance.
  • Education – defines the terms and outlines the goals of forgiveness, as well as barriers to forgiveness.
  • Internal reflection – introduces various treatment mechanisms, such as narrative therapy, exposure therapy, journaling and prayer.

Through forgiveness education, the pastoral care team can help you learn to deal with things in your life that you regret and find ways to cope during your cancer treatment.

The barriers and benefits

Some common barriers to forgiveness have been identified. For example, sometimes patients believe that forgiveness equates to mental consent, anti-justice, forgetting, or reconciliation. These beliefs can be difficult to overcome.

The peace and well-being that often accompanies forgiveness can be an integral part of the healing process. The benefits of forgiveness may be experienced on many levels, including theological (your relationship with God), relational (your relationship with others) and biological (your physical well being).

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