Together We Can -- Newsletter of the Joan Karnell Cancer Center

Spring 2003

Our Focus is on You
Strength for Caring: Support for Cancer Caregivers
Finding the Strength to Live Again
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Finding the Strength to Live Again:
A Creative Approach to Cancer

Having cancer is a stressful experience, filled with many emotional and physical challenges. To help, the Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital offers Finding the Strength to Live Again, an interactive music and art program sponsored by Ortho Biotech. A unique program, Finding the Strength to Live Again is designed to help patients and family members explore feelings and images related to their cancer, and treatment.

Patients are given a box of drawing materials that includes water colors, pastels, and colored pencils to use on thick drawing paper. Through guided activities, group members are given opportunities to creatively draw their own experiences of having cancer, and how this affects them. For example, patients often use the guided experiences to draw their own bodies, and the effect of cancer on their bodies.

Through additional drawings and discussions, group members are better able to understand how their cancer affects them, and what it is that they need in order to better cope. Importantly, artistic skills or experience are not necessary. Everyone has the ability to express themselves creatively using the drawing materials, and the final "product" is less important than the process involved.

Drawing is a spontaneous, creative act. Many people in the group found that being creative and expressing themselves in this non-verbal way helped them to feel better, and gain a sense of control in all that was happening to them. It also helped them to look forward, and gain new perspectives.

For more information and to register for an upcoming program, call 1-800-789-PENN (7366).


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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