I have Cancer. How do I find a therapist to help me and my family with the social and emotional challenges we face? Here are some questions to ask:
• Have you had training in oncology (the last thing you need right now is to provide your therapist translation services)?
• Have you worked, volunteered, or interned in a hospital or oncology center?
• Have you had a personal experience with cancer? If you are a survivor, how long have you been out of treatment? A healthy time frame of recovery is important.
• Have you worked with clients experiencing "chemo brain"? Do you have a complete understanding of "cure vs. remission" and the specific needs of a cancer patient/survivor?
• Are you available to visit me in the hospital, at home, or provide phone or closed circuit video sessions if I’m not up to coming into the office? What are the charges are related to this type of care?
• What is your “late cancel” policy? I may experience treatment side effects that come on unexpectedly.
• Are you willing to assist me finding resources regarding my employment, co-pays for expensive drugs, financial planning, how to talk to my kids, my boss, etc.
• Will you be able to provide sessions that may involve family members who don’t understand the complexity of my prognosis if it changes?
• For those with advanced cancers: Are you comfortable providing me end of life care if my condition worsens?
• Are you familiar with MBCR? Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery techniques?
Charli Prather-Levinson, MSW LCSW EAP-C RYT is a former Board Certified Oncology Social Worker and 2 time cancer survivor. She works part time in private practice and works for the Cancer Support Community Headquarter’s offices part time as a Cancer Helpline Counselor. Charli has over 20 years combined experience as a hospice therapist and as Clinical Program Director of the St. Louis Cancer Support Community affiliate. Charli also advises clients on healthy lifestyle changes that can ‘STACK THE DECK’ against emotional and physical disease. Charli also holds certifications as a Food for Life™ Plant Based Nutrition Educator and Warriors at Ease® Meditation & Yoga Teacher for those in need of a modified yoga practice due to physical limitations. Charli spends her free time traveling the country with the Wounded Warrior Project serving as a contract therapist and yoga & meditation instructor.