Finding a Therapist as New Cancer Survivor

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Finding a Therapist

The truth is, everyone needs a therapist. And finding a therapist as a new cancer survivor can be even more difficult. We’re all human and we all have our problems. The goal of therapy isn’t to fix you, it’s to help you heal and learn how to deal with the things that come up in your life so that you can live a more happy, fulfilling life.

It’s not something most people are open about. They worry about what other people will think of them or fear being judged by others. That feeling is completely normal! But don’t let those worries stop you from getting the care you need. Consider this blog post as an introduction for yourself if ever these thoughts pop into your head again.

Now The Difficult Work Begins

The first year after cancer treatment is over, can be a tough time for many. The initial excitement of being in remission and finishing chemotherapy has worn off, leaving survivors wondering what’s next.

As a new Cancer survivor, you are likely feeling overwhelmed with everything in your life right now. You will be dealing with physical and emotional changes as well as the psychological impacts of cancer treatment. All this can be exhausting and may lead to depression or anxiety.

There are a lot of reasons why some survivors choose to talk with someone- oncologist, nurse, or therapist. Sometimes talking openly about what has happened can help manage feelings that may be building up inside. Feelings such as fear, anxiety, and depression.

Whatever you decide is best for your situation and needs!

“As a new Cancer survivor, you are likely feeling overwhelmed with everything that is going on in life right now. You will be dealing with physical and emotional challenges as well as the psychological impacts of cancer treatment. All this is exhausting and may lead to depression, anxiety, or both.” Todd Franzen (Reoccurring Hodgkins Lymphoma Survivor, Sept 2010 & Oct 2020)

Todd also says, “Talking to a therapist can help you understand new feelings or thoughts. The person with whom you are talking must know how cancer has impacted your life. And what kind of support would be helpful for both short-term relief as well long-term recovery.”

Who Should Consider Talking To A Therapist?

Survivors should consider Finding a Therapist if:

  1. They feel like their emotional needs aren’t being met by family, friends.
  2. Have changes in moods such things sadness/depression which last more than two weeks without improvement.
  3. There may come times when it’s appropriate because therapy helps many people who don’t deal better on an individual basis.

A Few Benefits of Therapy for Cancer Survivors

  1. Increases coping skills    
  2. Assist with the grieving process.
  3. Aid with helping understand the progression of Survivors Guilt and Fear of Cancer Reoccurrence (FCR)             

This effort helps you work through fear, anxiety, and depression. While gaining more understanding about your feelings towards treatment side effects such as fatigue or hair loss. Which could be making it difficult to cope emotionally in other areas like relationships/work etc…

A therapist can offer advice on how to make dealing with these experiences outside of therapy more manageable. (i.e., helping someone find ways to get out from under a pile of self-doubt). This is just one way where mental health professionals will make recommendations tailored specifically toward what’s needed at the time. All based upon their professional training & experience level concerning emotional well-being.

Many of these professionals realize that it is often a necessary part of healing from cancer. They can share their own experiences in this area which may help you feel more comfortable with your decisions. Also, be confident enough to discuss what’s going on inside when they’re present.

Therapy is not a one-size fits all kind of thing

Some people prefer to go twice weekly while others may only need monthly sessions, but the point here for you as a cancer survivor – it’s about your recovery and what will work best within that setting!

Therapy helps find ways to get out from under this pile and can help you feel much more self-confident again, translating into life outside therapy sessions with other people like your family or friends.

Those are just some examples where mental health experts provide recommendations tailored specifically toward emotional well-being based upon professional training & experience levels concerning these matters.

It’s important to know that there are many ways in finding a therapist, and one size certainly does not fit all.

If you’re looking for more direction on how mental health therapy can be beneficial as an individual cancer survivor, here is some research-based information:

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found Cancer survivors who participated in weekly or monthly sessions with therapists saw significant improvements compared to those receiving no psychotherapy at 18 months after diagnosis – improving anxiety levels by 40% vs 23%.

Therapy also helped them work through fear (52%), depression(44%) & help patients feel less lonely/isolated.(32%).

And according to their survey, if they could have done anything differently during treatment, it would’ve been talking about feelings sooner!

It’s important to find a therapist that feels right. In the beginning, It’s difficult to try and figure out how this new relationship will work for both of you. But over time you’ll both develop trust together with your goals & needs at heart.


About the Author

Todd Franzen is a Stage 4 Lymphoma Survivor. Living in Breckenridge Colorado

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