Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Healing the spirit

“More and more evidence is showing that the long-term impact of cancer on survivors’ emotional and spiritual health is profound,” said Diane Baer Wilson, Ed.D., M.S., R.D., associate professor at VCU Massey Cancer Center and expert on cancer suvivorship. “The goal of these presentations is to give survivors tools to help them make meaning out of their experience and use the concept of hope and spirituality to further their healing process.”

“We are becoming more and more aware that the cancer experience does not necessarily end on the last day of treatment,” added Wilson. “As the population of survivors grows, it’s important to ensure they receive the tools they need to have the best possible quality of life.”

“Finding Hope and Meaning after Cancer”
“Healing the Spirit after Cancer”
Resources for healing, spirituality and meaning

 

“Finding Hope and Meaning after Cancer” by Keith Bellizzi, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Keith Bellizzi is a behavioral scientist, cancer survivor and program director in the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute. His primary research interests in the area of survivorship include the impact of aging, resiliency and quality of life after cancer. Along with his unique perspective as a cancer survivor, Bellizzi has conducted extensive research and talks to survivors frequently about post-traumatic growth and meaning-making as it relates to the cancer experience.

He received a governor’s citation in recognition of his commitment to cancer control efforts.

Back to top

“Healing the Spirit after Cancer” by Inez Tuck, R.N., Ph.D., M.B.A.

Inez Tuck is a professor at the VCU School of Nursing, teaching spirituality in nursing and health care. Her research focuses on the role of spirituality on healing and health. For the past 10 years, she has developed a spiritual intervention for people with chronic disease, and she is currently working on a spiritual intervention for women with breast cancer.

Back to top

 

Resources for healing, spirituality and meaning

Anderson, Greg, (1990). “The Cancer Conqueror.” Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel.

Bridges, W. (2004). “Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes.” Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. A self-help book that outlines the stages of coping and offers some advice on navigating them.

Chödrön, P. (1997). “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.” Boston: Shambhala. Distributed in the United States by Random House. The abbess of a monastery in Nova Scotia takes a Buddhist look at finding spiritual growth in difficult circumstances.

Eib, Lynn, (2002). “When God and Cancer Meet: True Stories of Hope and Healing.” Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Frankl, V.E. (1963). “Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.” Boston: Beacon Press. The classic story of Frankl’s experience in a Nazi concentration camp and the invention of logotherapy. A very short and powerful book.

Kushner, H.S. (1989). “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” New York: Schocken Books. A best-selling self-help book on the search for meaning and justice in tragedy.

Ochs, Carol, (1983). “Women and Spirituality.” New Jersey: Rowman and Allanheld.

Pargament, K.I. (1997). “The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice.” New York: Guilford Press. A clinical work on the mechanisms of spirituality and religion in coping with loss, transitions and death by one of the great thinkers in the field.

Siegel, Bernie, (1990). “Peace, Love and Healing, Body Mind Communication and Path to Self-healing: An Exploration.” New York: Harper and Row.

Sherrill, Marcia, (1998). “Portraits of Hope Conquering Breast Cancer.” New York, Smithmark Publishers.

Wilber, K. (1991). “Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber.” Boston: Shambhala. A husband and wife’s biography of their struggles with cancer and meaning.

Web sites

  • The International Network on Personal Meaning is a good site for understanding the concepts of positive psychology, logotherapy and more.
  • THRIVEnet is full of stories and links about resiliency in difficult situations created by self-help author Al Siebert, “The Survivor Personality.”
  • Beliefnet is one of the largest multifaith Web sites full of very objective details on religion, spirituality, inspiration and many topical issues.

Back to top