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Mind-Body Medicine

mind-body medicine
"Laughter is also a wonderful stress reliever, a great relationship builder, and it facilitates learning and helps the body generate energy."

-Dr. Gerald Ellison, Psychologist

Our department

The Mind-Body Medicine Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) supports you and your family before, during and after cancer treatment.

Our mind-body therapists understand the powerful connection that exists between the mind, body and spirit, between stress and illness, and between health and hope. We work with you to provide practices that promote health, wholeness and quality of life.

Mind-body services

All of our mind-body services are available to patients, caregivers and their families:

  • Individual, couples and family counseling: A mind-body therapist schedules at least one visit with every in-patient to introduce the options available in this department, such as cancer support groups, counseling and individual therapy services. It’s your decision if you would like to continue meeting with a therapist.
  • Guided imagery: This is a relaxation technique that teaches patients to use positive mental images to manage stress and physical discomfort. Guided imagery can be used to help cancer patients deal with their pain, nausea and anxiety, and also to support the immune system.
  • Deep breathing exercises: Mind-body therapists work with patients on an individual basis to teach deep breathing as a relaxation and stress-management technique.
  • Laughter therapy: These sessions provide a safe place where patients can laugh. Research has shown that this type of mind-body medicine can reduce stress, improve pain and balance blood pressure.
  • Stress management: Techniques and classes helps patients and their loved ones learn methods for self comfort and stress reduction.

Our mind-body therapists work closely with your entire cancer treatment team and are here to support you in making ongoing care decisions. In addition, they can connect you with qualified practitioners, support groups and counseling services in your area once you return home.

The mind-body medicine team at Southwestern

The mind-body medicine team at CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern) is comprised of licensed psychologists, licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and a psychiatrist.

"Our goal is to mobilize all of a patient’s resources to increase that person’s probability of success," says Dr. Gerald Ellison, who leads a class on guided imagery.

“About 99 percent of the patients I visit with are dealing with more in life than just cancer,” says Dr. David Wakefield, whose stress management class aims to help you and your family members cope with these stresses so that you can focus on healing. “We also discuss ways to use your body as a feedback tool to communicate to your mind when you are experiencing stress,” he says.

“We are here to provide support, comfort and empathy, without judgment,” adds licensed professional counselor Christine Durbin.

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