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.