Cancer as a Turning Point

Published on: 
CURE, Winter 2009, Volume 8, Issue 4

Cancer survivors gather to heal and draw something positive from their cancer experience.

Based on 40 years of research, clinical psychologist Lawrence LeShan, PhD, author of Cancer as a Turning Point, developed a psychotherapy approach designed to stimulate the self-healing abilities of people with cancer. Every year, two or three workshops that incorporate LeShan’s approach draw cancer survivors from around the country who are eager to facilitate their personal healing and draw something positive from their cancer experience.

"This therapy emphasizes the unique individuality of each person,” says Ruth Bolletino, PhD, a workshop facilitator and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City who specializes in working with people coping with cancer.

She says that rather than asking yourself what is wrong with you and what past issues could have caused the cancer, the workshop’s basic questions focus on what is right. What are your best ways to live? And how, given your situation, can you move more and more in that direction?

“Clients commit to their own best and natural ways of being, relating, and creating that bring meaning, enthusiasm, and fulfillment to their lives. Working this way creates an inner ‘healing climate’ that maximizes anyone’s potential for health,” she says.

The residential workshop retreats offered around the country are facilitated by two staff members who have worked with LeShan for nearly 20 years, and, when possible, LeShan himself.

Rather than asking yourself what is wrong with you, the workshop’s basic questions focus on what is right.

An estimated 600 cancer patients, survivors, family members, and health care practitioners have participated over the years. The workshop cost includes all activities, meals, lodging, and one or two individual sessions with staff members. (A limited number of scholarships are available.)

“The purpose of the workshops is the same as for the individual psychotherapy on which they are based: to guide each person in bringing their own healing abilities to the aid of their medical program,” Bolletino says. “The combination of this psychological approach with medical treatment is often a very powerful factor in healing.”

For more information on costs and scholorships, and to learn more about the workshops, visit www.can?