The Mind-Body Medicine Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) is available to support you and your family before, during and after cancer treatment.
Our licensed 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 and your care team to provide behavioral practices designed to promote healing, reduce emotional distress and improve quality of life.
Our mind-body services— all of which are available to patients, caregivers and their families—include:
- Individual, couples and family counseling: Our mind-body therapists are available to provide a wide range of department services, including cancer support groups, counseling and individual therapy services. It is your decision if you would like to continue meeting with a therapist. Depending on your needs, we may offer strategies to help you cope with anxiety and depression, assist with family dynamics and communication, reduce stress and help you live a meaningful life during your cancer journey.
- Guided imagery: This is a relaxation technique that teaches patients to use positive mental images to manage stress and physical discomfort. Guided imagery may be used to help cancer patients deal with their pain, nausea and anxiety.
- 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 may reduce stress, improve pain and balance blood pressure.
- Music therapy: Certified music therapists are available at some of our hospitals, using music to help patients address physical and emotional needs.
- Stress management: Techniques and classes help 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 may 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 staffed by a licensed psychologist, licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed medical social worker and a psychiatrist.
Every patient is offered at least one visit with a mind-body therapist to introduce the options available. During this appointment, we will discuss current concerns, sources of stress and natural supports to address those concerns, as well as sharing how mind-body medicine techniques may offer a further source of support. Following this initial appointment, patients, caregivers and family members may decide how often they would like to engage in mind-body services.
The mind-body therapy services at Southwestern include:
- Cognitive behavioral skills designed to help identify ways to improve how the mind interacts with feelings and behaviors
- Mindfulness-based skills such as guided imagery, relaxation and therapeutic breathing
- Narrative therapy skills that may help participants identify and develop meaning in their story
- Psychoeducational training to help promote understanding and increase the skills available to deal with difficult times
- Humor therapy
- Expressive arts therapy
- Communication- and relationship-building skills
- Various patient and caregiver support groups
- Age-appropriate support for children, designed to help them cope with a parent or loved one's illness
“Cancer affects not only the body, but the mind, emotions, the spirit and the family as well,” says Dr. David Wakefield, Psychologist at Southwestern. “Our goals are to empower, educate, encourage and support patients and their families in mobilizing available resources to promote health, well-being and quality of life. Another goal is to teach skills that may help in the battle against cancer. These skills are referred to as mind-body skills. The mind is a powerful resource. We want to help you harness the power of your mind and its impact on the body and the immune system to help you get well.”