The diagnosis of cancer is usually a great source of physical and psychological stress for patients. Especially the first days in hospital, the time of diagnosis, the start of treatment and waiting for further information are experienced by many as emotionally particularly difficult. Confident moments alternate with phases of deep sadness and hopelessness.
At the Havelhöhe Community Hospital, we therefore offer every patient with an initial diagnosis of cancer psycho-oncological counselling for support. It takes place in a protected space where patients can ask questions, share thoughts or openly express worries and fears that they may not want to discuss with relatives or friends (at first). In addition to the actual illness, the focus is on the current life situation, social and family integration and the time after the hospital stay. For many, cancer is an occasion to determine one's own position, to rethink what was previously taken for granted and to plan new steps.
By asking specific questions, our therapists get a picture of where the patients need help most of all. Depending on whether the psychological stresses are primarily physiological-regenerative, spiritual or biographical, we can offer targeted support. If the complaints are of a physiological-regenerative nature - usually caused by medical therapies or the tumour itself - our treatments aim to strengthen vitality and life forces. We explain the genesis of fatigue, exhaustion, concentration disorders or pain, encourage patients in discussions and complement them with other integrative therapies, for example compresses, rubs, applications, anthroposophic massages, eurythmy therapy or physiotherapy.
On a psychological level, many patients experience feelings of shock, fear, sadness, circling thoughts and tension very intensely. They also often lead to physical symptoms such as insomnia, muscular tension, shortness of breath or gastrointestinal problems. Relief is provided in the context of crisis intervention and supportive therapeutic talks, in which small-step solution patterns are worked out and methods for reducing anxiety and coping with stress are learned. Typical stressful thought patterns are transformed, different parts of the personality are made conscious and these are used for problem solving. We often combine these procedures with art-based therapies, especially painting therapy and music therapy, but also with eurythmy therapy, massage therapies and physiotherapy. The goal is mental stabilisation and relief, which often also has positive effects on the physical recovery process.
An essential element of anthroposophic psycho-oncology is work on the biographical-individual level, for example when a cancer illness has triggered a deep crisis of meaning and life. Patients address previous wishes, life goals and needs and reflect on biographical breaks and traumas. A frequently asked question, 'What seems important in the light of the illness', leads in many cases to completely new impulses and an inner peace with the situation. The therapeutic discussions are always focused towards the possibilities of the future, even if the illness means that only the life expectancy is short. This may also open up a spiritual perspective, so that an individual's own biography can be viewed against a broader background.