Counseling For Cancer Patients: Alleviating Negative Responses Against The Illness

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For conflicted people who are having a hard time processing their chaotic emotions, counseling is always the best solution in controlling and responding to the demands of life in healthy, non-destructive ways.

But don’t expect counselors or therapists to solve your problems for you; it doesn’t work that way. Yes, “It’s true that therapy isn’t for everyone and it’s not a magic cure. You still must be proactive and be willing to do the work to improve your situation.” Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC said. They do, however, provide a safe space for people who are going through a rough time, who want to air out their concerns. Counseling is also finding a trained professional to provide unbiased feedback and suggest effective treatment modalities. For this reason, cancer patients are recommended to seek help from counselors who specialize in oncology cases.

Counseling Types

Cancer patients can choose from different forms of counseling based on their preferences, finances, and needs. The common counseling types are:

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  1. Individual Counseling

For cancer patients who want a more private conversation, individual counseling is the best option. Usually, there are those who are more comfortable sharing their grievances, situations, and emotions with just the counselor. But Elana Schechtman-Gil LMFT reminds everyone that “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them ”

During individual counseling, the counselor will ask a couple of personal questions, then he or she would listen to what is being shared, express concern, and offer feedback. Feedbacks would also include suggesting treatment methods that can help with the person’s mental health.

  1. Group Counseling

Technically, group counseling consists of a number of people who have similar problems that meet together to share and discuss situations that pertain to that particular issue. Most of the time, counselors will initiate the discourse then after each member has aired out their thoughts and feelings, guidance and support will be provided. The good thing about group therapies is that cancer patients who feel lonely or are leaning towards depression would realize that they are not the only one fighting a difficult battle. Group counseling provides insight and comfort from its members. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, a licensed therapist explains.

  1. Family Or Couples Counseling

Cancer patients are not the only ones who are mentally and emotionally affected. People who are surrounding them, especially partners and family members, also suffer from the effects of the condition on their relationship and connection. During family or couples counseling, the counselor would allow everyone to speak up and share their experiences or whatever pent-up emotions they have. Counselors are keen on finding out specific reactions and thoughts that increase the level of stress and conflict between members of the family.

Issues Tackled During Counseling

People often wonder how counseling can help with their issues especially those who are struggling with the effects of cancer. Some of the problems or challenges that are tackled during sessions are:

  • Exploring what cancer has taught you
  • Determine ways on how to cope with the diagnosis to make patients feel in control and less overwhelmed
  • Contemplate on workplace strategies and issues
  • Manage symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment
  • Help develop coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression
  • Learn effective communication with the medical team
  • Address concerns about finances and relationships
  • Teaches the patient’s family how to adjust and understand routine changes caused by a cancer diagnosis

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When To Ask For Help

The feeling of despair and distress are normal reactions to the realization of a cancer diagnosis. But if the feeling does not go away after a couple of weeks, counseling must be taken into consideration. Seeking professional help is vital for cancer patients’ mental health and also necessary in learning effective ways to cope with the condition and not interfere with life’s routines.

Remember, you always have the option to ask for help especially if you feel hopeless and helpless. Living life with cancer is challenging, but if you know where to turn to, you’ll find comfort amidst the condition.

Cancer And Its Definitive Link To Psychiatry

 

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Any serious medical condition can severely affect a person’s mental health. Cancer patients are not the only those who suffer from their illness, but their situation also devastates the people around them like their loved ones and caregivers.

According to Lillian Harris LCPC-C, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” Receiving news of a potentially deadly diagnosis, coping with limitations, and going through regular treatment protocols can cause mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Dealing with mental health requirements is essential in the treatment procedure and, on certain occasions, the psychiatry of it all can impact prognosis.

The Impact Of Cancer On Psychiatry

Some cancer patients may lose their capacity to be confident and independent. Others may find that their energy levels have plummeted and activities once enjoyed can no longer be done. Optimum care must be provided to facilitate bearable activities that the patient can experience with minimal utilization of energy.

Majority of cancer patients will experience a system that is comparable to grieving after the diagnosis is given during the palliative stage or end-of-life care. There is data backing up the existence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with both cancer patients and survivors. This evidence is directly a result of traumatic encounters that are associated with the illness, and because of the high potential of poor prognoses.

Treatments for cancer also cause anxiety and depression. A significant adverse effect of chemotherapy referred to as “chemo brain” causes mental fog, depression, fatigue, and other types of cognitive deterioration. The American Cancer Society published an article that shows the connection between chemo brain and depression and has identified that both are to be considered when dealing with cancer treatments.

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Managing Mental Health

Special considerations are required when treating mental illnesses in patients who are struggling with cancer. Depending on the severity or prognosis given by the oncologist, encouragement to have a positive outlook and reminding the patient that eventually, his or her condition will get better may not be possible but this does not signify that treating patients with cancer who have a mental illness is not essential. And because mental health problems are considered as underdiagnosed in patients with cancer, it is advisable to make a proactive resolution in detecting such conditions. As Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC explains, “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ”

Common Mental Health Conditions

The commonly diagnosed mental health problems that cancer patients experience are those disorders that fall under the adjustment scale, which includes depression, anxiety, and other different stress coping and adaptation conditions. Consulting a therapist for psychotherapeutic treatments that are primarily aimed at cancer patients provides extensive guidance and support. “Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.” Chris Corbett, PsyD said.

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Mental Health With Family Members

Caregivers and family members of patients also have increased chances of having anxiety and depression; therefore, proactive support and guidance must also be given to preserve their mental health and deal with stress. Usually, family members experience a similar grieving process experienced by the cancer patient, mainly if the condition is terminal.

Due to their inability to be productive, which is mostly caused by changes in their socioeconomic status, family members who take care of cancer patients have increased the risk of having depression. For this reason, it is vital that family members and caregivers seek professional support once a cancer diagnosis is realized. Treatment for mental illness should always be integrated into caring for both the cancer patient and the people surrounding them

How Positive Attitude Made Me A Cancer Survivor

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There are many things in my life that I am truly thankful for, and one of which is surviving cancer. To be honest, I thought that my situation was a lost cause. It never crossed my mind that my illness would be cured; because I believed that cancer is undefeatable. When I found out that I have a malignant tumor, it felt like my world turned outside down. I was frightened of all the adverse effects that it can bring in my life. Most importantly, I feared death. I do not want to die at a young age, especially when I am at a point in my life where I just started a family and took a significant leap in my career.

Just when I was about to give up, there was a sudden turn of events. I met someone who inspired me to keep fighting. This person helped me to believe that better things are coming in my life. He told me that if I want to kick cancer out of my life, I needed to make an effort to make it happen. According to him, I have to start by changing my views about life. He made it so convenient and easy for me to change my attitude and to become more positive. After years of living life in gratitude and happiness, I became a cancer survivor.

Now, allow me to share with you how a positive attitude changed my life:

 

  1. It Made Me Want To Get Better 

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At first, I was hesitant to undergo chemotherapy sessions. Aside from it was quite exhausting; it was also exhausting on my part. I lost interest in going to the hospital and participating in all the healing sessions. “Most people have a loud inner critic which makes their life more stressful.” David Klow, a licensed therapist. That perfectly describes my situation. However, things changed when my friend told me to become positive. Because of a positive mind and attitude, I got the courage to show up for all appointments with my doctor.

 

  1. More Happy Hormones

Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC once stated that “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.” So my change in attitude also motivated me to exercise more. As such, I tried my best to become physically active. I started going to the gym or attending yoga classes. As you probably know by now, these activities can release endorphins all over the body. For this reason, I was always in a good mood. Whenever I exercise, I feel like there are helpful chemicals released all over the body. It was as if my cells are regenerated.

  1. I Started Eating Healthy 

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 Another great effect of a positive attitude is that it made me want to continue a healthy lifestyle. My doctor was happy with the development in the way I looked at my situation. I did everything I can to change my diet into a healthy one. I avoided soft drinks and junk foods. Instead, my daily diet consisted of vegetables and fruits. As the day goes by, eating greens became a part of my lifestyle. With this one change, I became a healthier individual. I strongly agree with Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT when she said, “Eating healthfully, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep are all important elements in a mentally and physically healthy life.”

I am forever grateful to that one friend of mine who helped me attract positivity in my life!

How To Face Cancer As A Couple 

If you need to deal with the cancer symptoms and treatments for months, one question that a curious fellow may ask is: “Do you still have time for love?” 

I know – there is no straightforward answer to that. Every patient has a unique way of handling their condition and relationships. Some individuals tend to swear off dating or getting married entirely to prevent “becoming a burden” to anyone. Others, meanwhile, do not give up on love and still form or maintain romance with someone special. 

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Effects Of Cancer Diagnosis On Marriage 

When a cancer specialist tells you that you have the disease and you speak with a religious leader, you will often hear them say, “God will not give you a challenge you cannot overcome” or “I will pray for your early recovery.” 

The former denotes that you are an active person, while the latter is a confirmation you only need prayers to complement the treatment you are getting. Both sentences, of course, have a way of making you feel better once you listen to them. It is as if cancer will not hurt you as much as it should since the big man in heaven will ease your pain. 

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Vaccination Against Cancer

Polio, smallpox, measles, tuberculosis, whooping cough, diphtheria, hepatitis B and neonatal tetanus were just among the fatal diseases that are now under control through widespread vaccination. Since the discovery of vaccines, science has found its way to improve human life, and vaccines have contributed a lot to this undertaking as they play an essential part of our wellness. Vaccines work by stimulating the production of antibodies and provide immunity for the body against fatal diseases. Continue reading

A Guideline In Enjoying Life Despite Having Cancer

Being a cancer patient can take a toll in your life. Most of your recent days will be spent in hospitals so that you can get your treatment. At the same time, your time will also be spent talking to your physician almost every week. The truth is that everything will start to become difficult for you. You will begin to feel bad about a lot of things because of your medical condition. When this happens for a long time, there is a possibility that your attitude will change. Aside from this, you may also become depressed or anxious most of the time.

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If you want to continue living life to the fullest despite having cancer, then make sure to read this interesting article from start to finish. We have gathered some of the unique tips to remember so that you can continue enjoying your life. Remember that having cancer does not mean the end of everything for you. There are still many things that can happen. Keep in mind that there are several cancer survivors around the world. You can be one of them as long as you focus on maintaining your physical health and improving your mental wellness.

Here are some of the essential things to remember:

Meet Up With Friends

One of the most common reactions of people with cancer is to keep themselves away from other individuals. A big part of you would want to lock up in your room and hide from your friends. Take note that it is okay to do this but only for a short period. As much as possible, get back on your routine and start meeting up with friends again. Remember that the more you spend time with these people, the better you will feel about life. “You know the ones—these are the people you know you can always call, text, or email when you need to feel a connection.” David Klow, a licensed therapist said.

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Take Time To Rest

Remind yourself that you already have a serious medical condition that needs attention. Stop yourself from doing things that can take up all of your energy. It can make the situation a lot worse on your part. As much as possible, learn how to take days off from your work or business. Enjoy at least a week of relaxation. You can travel to a new place where you can de-stress or stay at home, sleep, and make peace with yourself. Remember that “sleep can restore your mind and body. The immune system repairs itself and the brain rests and recharges while you sleep. Without enough sleep, you can’t function at your best,” says Dr. Aaron Kaplan, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist.

Talk To A Therapist

Knowing that you have an illness that can end your life at any time can be stressful on your part. Make sure that you get the help and support you need. If you are not comfortable discussing your issues and problems with a friend or family member, feel free to get professional help. All you must do is to find the best therapist in your local community and connect with the said individual. Set an appointment for a therapy session, and you can start from there. Put in mind that your mental wellness is essential at this point in your life. Because “connecting with a therapist can help you get through the “groundhog day” of never-ending cycles where you feel continually defeated.” Chris Oneth LMFT explains.

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Follow the practical techniques mentioned above to have a worry-free life despite having cancer.

Cancer 101: How To Handle It The Best Way

The worst thing that can happen in your life is discovering that you have a serious medical condition. It can be sad or heartbreaking to realize that you have cancer, and it can prevent you from having a good life. The feelings of fears and doubts are only in your mind. Remember that you can still control the way you react to this medical diagnosis. Do not let one medical report prevent you from living the best time of your life.

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For today’s article, we are going to talk about the ways on how you can handle your current situation. First of all, we do not want you to deny the reality that you have cancer. Instead, we want to encourage you to keep going. It is not the end of the world, which means that you can still continue enjoying life to the fullest. Here are the things that you must constantly remind yourself:

Be Grateful

According to Catherine Cleveland M.S., LMHC-P, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.” Now is the time of your life when you need to gather all the strength left in you and appreciate what you have left. Take a moment to sit down and think of all the things, circumstances, and events that make you smile. Who are the people who never left your side? These are the ones that you have to be grateful for. The moment you allow gratitude to be part of your life, your life will improve.

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Find Time With Family

As much as possible, spend most of your time with your family members. Free your schedules on the weekends so that you can bond with them over good food and conversations. Keep in mind that they are the ones who will stay by your side no matter what happens. The more quality time you spend with them, the better it is on your part. Be with the ones who will never get tired of making you feel better about your situation. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, a licensed therapist suggests.

Attract Positivity

Being diagnosed with cancer is challenging. It can break your heart into a million little pieces, but you have to be stronger than what you are feeling right now. As much as possible, continue to attract positive and good vibes at all times. Remind yourself that negativity will take you nowhere. Stop thinking that life is about to end. Instead, consider your illness as an opportunity to open your mind and heart to endless possibilities. “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives,” says Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC.

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Conclusion

Having cancer is never an easy thing to handle. However, you have no choice but to do everything you can to survive this situation. Stop blaming yourself and your old habits for what is happening in your life at the moment. Instead, focus on what is coming next. Remember that you can control your reactions to everything that is taking place in your life. Be smart enough to focus on your physical health and mental wellness. Be with the people who will help you survive this challenging time. You can get through this as long as you focus on improving your life.

Tips In Sending Sympathy To A Grieving Family

The sad thing about having cancer is that this kind of illness can be tricky. Sometimes, no matter how a person focuses on treatment, the cancer cells will not go away entirely. This is why many individuals still fall victim to this deadly illness. If you know someone who has recently died because of cancer, make sure that you reach out to the family as soon as possible. Now is the right time to express your sympathy to the members of his family and let everyone know that they can share their grief with you.

 

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In this article, we are going to share some of the things that you must keep in mind when it comes to sending sympathy to a grieving family. For sure, you are clueless about how you can connect to this family, especially at this time when they are hurting a lot. Do not worry because you can read some tips here:

 

Write A Sympathy Letter

 

One of the first things that you may want to consider is to send a sympathy letter to the head of the family. Write down all the comforting words that you can think of. However, it is ideal if you will think twice before you put down your thoughts into writing. Keep in mind that you have to be careful with what to say. Remind yourself that it is a sensitive moment for everyone so you must not say something without giving it a second thought.

 

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Visit The Wake

 

When there is a death in the family, it is only a normal process that a wake will be arranged for the one who passed away. What you must do is to know the schedule of the viewing or the wake, so that you can show up anytime you can. When visiting the family, make sure that you bring something for them. Find time to talk to the members of the family when you attend the wake. Tell them your condolences individually. For sure, they will appreciate it.

 

Send Flowers When Necessary

 

If you cannot attend the wake for some reasons, be sure to take the proper step to send flowers to the family. With the recent advancements in technology, it is not easy to order flowers online. Make sure that you choose the right color and floral arrangement. As much as possible, keep it simple. What is essential is that you can send a message to the members of the said family that you care even if you cannot show up for the wake. If possible, have the flowers to be delivered in the morning when there are no guests yet. The advantage of choosing this delivery time is that the family can take time to check who it came from and arrange it properly.

 

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As long as you follow our tips and tricks mentioned above, then you will never encounter any issue with sending sympathy to a grieving family. Follow everything for a worry-free situation.

 

How To Express Your Love To A Cancer Patient

There are many things that you have to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with someone with cancer. The first thing that you must instill in your mind is the fact that the said person is going through a tough or difficult phase in his life. As such, now is the best time for you to show your support and appreciation to this person. We understand that there are several times when you have no idea on how to express your love to this person, especially if you are not used to showing your real emotions.

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Do not fret or worry because we are going to give you a list of things to remember so that you can find a way to express your love to a cancer patient in the best manner possible. Before anything else, you must understand the reality that what you think about the other person matters a lot. You cannot show him love and compassion if you do not feel these emotions towards him. Because of this, you have to be sure that you want to send your appreciation to the other person so that you will not end up hurting him.

Stop Making A Big Deal Out Of It

 

“Mental health issues can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors, and can have a minor or major impact on a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.” Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC The smart thing that you can do is to continue acting normal towards the other person. Just because he has cancer cells does not mean that he can no longer do the usual stuff that ordinary people enjoy. As much as possible, stop making a significant deal about his medical condition. Take note that you can still show your love without making him feel incompetent.

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Tell Him “I Love You” Every Day

Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC once said; “Love is the root of what brings each and every one of us to therapy—the need to understand love, the hunger and desperation to find love and experience love, the desire to love and the desire to be loved.” Never let a single moment or day pass without telling the other person how much you love him. Remember that cancer can be a tricky illness. There is a high possibility that your loved one may be gone soon. As such, make every moment count by making sure that you tell him your true feelings all the time. Utter the sweet words “I love you” every chance that you can. You must never get tired of showing your affection to him.

Spend More Quality Time Together

One of the things that you can also do is to let your partner know that you are by his side, during this challenging moment of his life. Never make him beg for time and attention. Vara Saripalli, PsyD advises to “Be supportive and let them know it is not that you think something is wrong with them, but that you want them to have some help with their current challenges. Sometimes, people who are depressed want help but don’t know how to get started.” Instead, give it to him easily so that he will begin to feel better despite having cancer. As much as possible, start making him a top priority in your life. Do it now before it becomes too late. For example, cancel all your appointments on the weekend so that you can go out on a date with him or stay at home to relax. Do everything that will make your partner smile because he deserves it.

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If there is one thing that you must always do, it is never to let cancer get in between the two of your relationship.