Finding and attending a support group can help ease feelings of distress by offering support and education for patients and families, and by helping to find community resources. Ifsupport group isn’t available or you don’t think it might help, a social worker can help you find other options. Sometimes group or individual counseling can be a good option, depending on the problem problems that are likely causing the distressed feelings. Support groups or counseling can help with:
v Adjust to illness
v Family problems
v Problems with treatment decisions
v Concern about quality of life
v End of life issues
v cultural affairs
Sometimes having cancer affects your daily needs. A social worker can help you and your family or loved ones deal with these common and practical problems. They may be able to connect people with community agencies, teach problem-solving skills, help get needed care, and offer educational sessions and referrals to support groups. Some practical problems they can help with are:
v economic concerns
v Costs and food preparation
v Help with daily activities
Therapies and activities that help you relax are often helpful in relieving some forms of distress. These may include relaxation exercises, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and guided imagery. Creative therapies such as art, dance, and music have also been shown to be helpful for people in some stressful situations. Animal assisted therapy (AAT), also known as pet therapy, involves spending time with therapy animals, and is another option that some people may find interesting and helpful.
In times of crisis, many people prefer to talk to a person from their spiritual or religious group. Today, many members of the clergy have received pastoral training in counseling people with cancer. They are often available to the health care team and will care for patients who do not have a pastoral or religious advisor. Pastoral services are important because there may be different times during a person’s experience with cancer when a crisis may lead to questioning of their faith or having to rely more on it.