Aims And Effects
Of Cancer As A Turning Point
While we can help clients get through traumatic times in their lives, our aim goes far beyond providing “support.” The aim of the psychotherapy is to enhance and extend their lives.
Our psychotherapy approach was developed by research and clinical psychologist Lawrence LeShan, author of Cancer as a Turning Point. Based on over forty years of research studies, he demonstrated that when people make certain kinds of psychological and life-style changes, they often stimulate their natural self-healing abilities. This kind of psychotherapy appears to create an inner “healing climate” in which more of the person’s potential for health is brought to the aid of their medical treatment.
We continue to find that at the very least our clients’ lives get better. Invariably the color and feeling of their lives improve. Usually they far outlive medical expectations, and sometimes, even with a late-stage illness, they get well. Those who are already well tend to maintain their health.
Results of our approach with cancer patients appear to be far superior in survival time to traditional psychotherapy approaches. Traditional psychotherapies can often solve psychological problems and lessen psychological pain, but do not mobilize patients’ self-healing resources. In terms of survival time as well as better quality of life, LeShan’s approach has proven far superior to the traditional ones.
The approach of focusing on a fuller, richer, more fulfilling life seems to be effective not only for people with cancer. When therapy is directed this way, recovered patients appear to increase their chances of non-recurrence. Those who are well appear to increase their chances of maintaining health. The “healing climate" created seems to maximize any individual’s potential for health.
Taking action to bring about our own, individual ways to upgrade and enrich our life changes us. It can change us psychologically, in relation to others, spiritually and physically.
When we begin to act toward ourselves in ways that truly help to care for and nurture the best of ourselves, our feelings change in response. We feel more positive about who we are, and that, in turn, makes it easier to continue to act in ways that nourish us. Further, to the extent that we try to become the best of ourselves, our trying tells our immune system that we are worth fighting for. Often it follows our example and works toward our health in a stronger way.
If you have cancer and begin taking steps toward redesigning your life in ways that reflect who you really are, whether the changes you make are large or small ones, certain things happen.
1) You are no longer a helpless, passive patient in the hands of the medical profession. You are actively taking control of your life.
2) This changes the color of your life: you are now on an adventure, not just waiting for things to happen.
3) Taking new steps has a strong tendency to stimulate your own self-healing abilities so that they reinforce your medical treatment.
If you are well, this increased your chances of maintaining your health. Sometimes this activates our inner healing resources and improves our health, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it is the only way we know to try.
“Over and over I have seen one of two things happen when the total environment of the person with cancer is mobilized for life and his or her inner ecology is thereby changed in a positive way.”
Lawrence Leshan, Cancer as a Turning Point