Concerning Women

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I am recovering from breast cancer and have recently heard about a support group for cancer patients. My doctor doesn't know anything about it and doesn't seem interested one way or another. I am kind of interested, but I don't want to do anything harmful. Should I try it?


Joining a group for cancer survivors can be a good idea. The best groups are run by professional, licensed therapists. The current American Psychological Association's Monitor has several articles suggesting that therapy can "improve life and possibly bolster immunity" (APA Monitor, Volume 26, Number 12, page 24).

Your own feelings are the best judge of what you should do, and if you go to the group you can decide if it is the right place for you. It is helpful for people to talk about their feelings concerning their cancer in a supportive environment where they can help each other. My opinion is, try it and see.



Deborah G. Alicen, Ph.D., is a private practice psychologist who lives in Plainfield, Vermont--a transplanted Southerner who still can't say "cows" the way real Vermonters do. She has spent the last twelve years working mostly with children, adolescents, and adults recovering from sexual abuse and domestic violence.


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