Therapy & Support Groups for Cancer

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Father's anxiety & depression after cancer

May 2009

I am looking for recommendations of a good cognitive-behavioral therapist for my father who has anxiety and depression mostly related to his declining health. Does anybody know of a psychologist near Berkeley/Oakland who has experience in helping people with chronic/terminal illness and the issues surrounding it?. I?m interested in the SF Bay Area Cognitive-Behavioral Center in Oakland- anybody love their psychologist there? My father is a cancer/stem cell transplant survivor currently in remission but constantly plagued by the likelihood that the cancer will return and claim his life. He wants to work on developing better coping skills to deal with his anxiety, depression and catastrophic thinking. My dad doesn't like ''touchy feely/kumbaya'' therapy- someone smart, articulate but with a sense of humor would be ideal.

I would like to recommend a colleague of mine for your father to try, Larry Yabroff, Ph.D. He is a seasoned, older therapist, wise, warm, practical and not touchy-feely. Though not specifically CBT, he works extensively to help people reduce anxiety and depression and specializes in chronic illness issues. I have known his work for many years and recommend him highly. He's on Ward Street in Berkeley and his # is 649-0640. I wish your father and you all the best. Lynn

Cancer caregiver support group

August 2008

My spouse just received a cancer diagnosis. The hospital has already provided referrals to support groups for him, but I'm hoping to find some referrals to support groups for caregivers for me. My preference is online - easier to participate in as a parent of a toddler, but in-person is ok too. Ideally, I'd really love a support group designed specifically for parents of young children, since there are issues unique to that population, but groups geared towards spouses as caregivers/young caregivers (age 40 and under) would be fine too. I've already submitted inquiries to Women's Cancer Resource Center in Oakland and Stanford, Family Caregivers Alliance/, and cancercare, but was hoping some of the folks on BPN might know of other yahoogroups or things like that. Getting my ducks in a row

I'm so sorry about your spouse. My thoughts are with you and your family. I know from experience this is not easy. I live in Lamorinda and found The Wellness Community in Walnut Creek to be fantastic for care-givers. It helped to meet others in-person who were experiencing or had experienced what we were.. And, they were so uplifting and inspiring! Also, from what I understand, Alta Bates offers great support services too. I didn't use the online route because the ones that I stumbled upon were sometimes too depressing. I liked the in-person groups facilitated by a counselor. Good luck to you. been there

Therapist to help me cope with breast cancer

May 2008

I have Health Net Insurance with Hills Physicians Group. I am dealing with breast cancer right now and am looking for a good therapist on my plan that has experience with this. Any recommendation would be appreciated. Kelly

I don't know if he's in Hill Physicians, but Burton Presburg deals primarily with cancer patients and he's wonderful. I saw him a couple of times just for medication, because he took my insurance at the time and his office, which is at the former Herrick Hospital site, was convenient, but he told me that cancer was his main focus. RW

Therapist for young woman with cancer

Jan 2008

Need recs for excellent therapist or support group who deals w/ young adults with cancer - and spouses and family members...Dealing with the denial, anger, depression, etc.. through the long journey. Someone who is also uplifting. Preferably in WC, Phill, Lamorinda. Thx. love someone recently diagnosed

I'm sorry this is happening. I lost my mom to breast cancer and it was a difficult road.

Christie Rigg, MFT is a therapist who has had breast cancer, and specializes in dealing with the issue. She's wonderful--empathetic, warm and smart.

Her website: ph: 510 287-5845 her email: christieriggmft [at]

Feel free to email me if you have questions. denise

Mom dying of cancer, need support group

Oct 2007

Does anyone know of a support group for those with a loved one who may be dying of cancer? I have what is probably an unusual situation, where my mother has an untreated malignant melanoma and does not wish to have any medical care or prognosis (though she was medically diagnosed a few years ago). I have the feeling a downward spiral is beginning, and though I'm past the stage of wishing to change her views about treatment (it may be too late anyway), I am bewildered, to say the least, as I anticipate the future. Does anyone else have an experience like this to share? Thank you so much. anonymous

Best wishes over the coming weeks and months. There's nothing you can really do to prepare for losing your mother. Try to be in the moment with her as much as you can until she goes. Try to write down any meaningful conversations you have as she is dying. My mom said things in those final weeks that are still resonating with me three years later.

Even if your mom doesn't get Hospice care, you might check out your local Hospice center for support groups. Hospice of SF and Hospice of Marin are very good. You might also contact the Women's Cancer Resource Center in Oakland; they are a phenomenal place for information and I think they still actually have support groups for people caring for a loved one with cancer.

And definitely check out Hope Edelman's book, ''Motherless Daughters'' and her latest book ''Motherless Mothers.'' They will break your heart, but they will validate the feelings you may experience of losing your mother. No matter what your relationship has been like with your mom, losing your mother is an extremely significant life event for a woman. Whether you're 6, 16, 26, 46, or 66 - your mother's death is one of the biggest things you will go through and will shape your life in a way that shouldn't be underestimated and can't be fully imagined until it happens.

Best thoughts to you and your family. MLM

You could try contacting your local Hospice organization. They probably know of some good groups. Hospice (in another state) helped my mother die well. I was so gratful for their support. Hospice may be helpful for your mother and the rest of your family, too. Anon Mom and Daughter

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your mother's cancer that you and she are facing. Here is a link to support groups from the Women's Cancer Resource Center that includes ones for friends and family. (Women's Cancer Resource Center is a GREAT center for many things related to cancer). YOu can also call the American Cancer Society at 1/800-ACS-2345 and they can tell you about any other support groups at local hospitals, etc. Wishing you strength on a difficult journey

There is an East Bay agency called Circle of Care that provides support for people who are dealing with illness or terminal disease. They have support groups for people with disease, family members, and children of parents who are ill. You should be able to find the phone nunber on the web or in the white pages. They are a wonderful organization. Rebecca

Therapist for cancer/loss issues

Sept 2007

My aunt is looking for a therapist that specializes in working with people with cancer. She has healthnet insurance. Any suggestions would be appreciated. C

The Women's Cancer Resource Center in Berkeley may be an excellent resource for you. They offer an information and referral line for resources and therapists throughout Northern California, an extensive resource library, support groups and peer support networks, forums and workshops, as well as a multicultural outreach program.
Contact Information: Office Hours~ Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM and also available by appointment. Women's Cancer Resource Center 5741 Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA 94609 Helpline: 510.420.7900 ~~ Toll Free: 888.421.7900 Website: ~~ Email: wcrc [at]
I have a close friend who has been on staff there for 15+ years and other friends who offer their services through their agency. Hope this helps! Maya

Help needed for family with cancer patient

Feb 2007

My co-worker's father has stage 4 terminal brain cancer. She has moved in with her parents to help care for him, as her mother has a full-time daycare in their home with 5 toddlers. They need help in several areas, and I was hoping for suggestions. The first would be a support group for both dad and the family members. Understandibly, they are having a difficult time coping with this illness. Also, her father cannot return to work, and sits in bed all day watching CNN, as he gets confused and cannot drive/leave the house alone. Are there senior centers that pick people up at home for daytime activities? He is 61 or 62, so may qualify for these programs??? Also, he was in charge of family finances, and the family found out he hasn't been paying bills for several months. Is there someone that could help her mother make sense of this?

I think they all feel overwhelmed by what is happening and need some guidance. It would need to be gentle, as her father is a very strong person and is used to being in control. They live in the Concord/Walnut Creek area. They are such a close family, any suggestions are much appreciated!! want to help

When I had cancer, my family and I went to the support groups at Circle of Care , a publicly supported program in Oakland. The phone number is 510-531-7551, they provide support for children and families going through illness or loss. They have support groups for people with illness, caregivers, and children. Good luck to your co-worker and her family. anon

The family lives close to The Wellness Community . Many free services are provided to cancer patients and their families. In addition to support groups, there are educational events, yoga and other stress management classes, art and music events, and individual counseling. Call (925) 933-0107 or go to Nancy

Cancer support group for mom with young child

March 2005

Has anyone had recent experience with cancer support groups for mothers with school age children? Ideally, it would be a group where there would be support for the moms, and the children either played together or were in their own support group. It would be ok if the mother's partners were included, but also ok if they weren't. I woke up last night convinced that my daughter was calling me, but when I went into her room she was sound asleep. I know I need support, and I haven't told her yet, but I know she'll need support.

I also wonder if anyone has up-to-date contact info and experience with that group that supports kids whose mothers are being treated for cancer. worried

Try the Women's Cancer Resource Center at 510 601 4040. They can tell you about the various support groups and services available to you. It's a terrific place to start. Best of luck! Cari

If you are under 40, there is a support group for women under 40 with breast cancer there (I didn't see your original post so I don't know if this is your diagnosis) where women with children come to talk (but women under 40 without children are in the gruop too). This is a second support group for women over 40. Another ''mixed age'' group is at Summit. I recommend any and all. Cancer survivor Mom