Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Healing Journey

The Healing Journey: An active response to the crisis of cancer is a series of courses and workshops founded by Alastair Cunningham, O.C., PhD, CPsych. Dr. Cunningham was a researcher who had at first specialized in cancer but after his own diagnosis with cancer, then switched his focus to the psychosocial impact of this disease. I am currently taking the Healing Journey, Part 1 through a cancer support centre after it was recommended to me by a survivor. He explained that the course could help me figure out with some of the "now what?" that I was experiencing. I found the following diagrams in my Healing Journey Workbook to be helpful in understanding the impact of cancer.

This diagram helps to illustrate how one's life must change to hinder the growth of cancer. These changes can take the forms of such things as lifestyle, relationships, nutrition, self-care, and exercise. In the Part 1 of the course, we focus on meditation, relaxation, mental imagery, and stress management. All of these factors work towards hindering the growth of cancer.

This diagram is excellent as it shows how cancer impacts different aspects of one's life. It might be a little hard to see but the concentric circles, radiate from the centre as levels. These levels are: Body, Conscious mind, Deeper mind, Social, and Spiritual. Beyond the physical aspects one may experience with cancer (e.g., detection, diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, physical healing), there is a huge and much larger other part. The cancer sends ripple effects to everything else so one may question, reevaluate, contemplate, and reflect on these aspects of their lives much differently after the diagnosis and treatment.

I find this stuff fascinating. Besides the fact that I am actually going through it now, I love learning about it too. Another way of putting my Honour's Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology to use, I guess. (Sometimes, I'm not too sure how to use this degree.)

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