Appendix B


Professional Training Programs in Spiritual and Psychological Approaches to Cancer

One of the critical questions for many health professionals is where they can find training and professional education programs in psychoeducational approaches to cancer. This appendix lists several resources in this field.

Health Training and Research Center
PO Box 7237
Little Rock, AR 72217

Stephanie Simonton, Ph.D., one of the pioneers of imagery and related psychological approaches to cancer treatment, has trained many health practi- tioners in her psychological approach to cancer. She is a gifted educator with long experience in the field.

The Academy for Guided Imagery
PO Box 2070
Mill Valley, CA 94942
Tel: 1-800-726-2070
Fax: 415-389-9342

The Academy for Guided Imagery is one of the outstanding professional training organizations helping professionals to learn and incorporate imagery techniques into their work. It is co-directed by Martin Rossman, M.D. and David Bresler, Ph.D. The academy was founded out of a concern “about standards of practice, clinical competency, and assessment skills on the part of clinicians seeking to use imagery with their patients.”

The academy offers a formal professional certification program for health professionals in interactive guided imagery. The faculty is multidisciplinary and the students represent a cross section of health and mental health disciplines. The approach is “eclectic, holistic, humanistic and non-dogmatic, incorporating skills and approaches from many related disciplines and therapies, including hypnosis, Jungian psychology, psychosynthesis, self-actualization, and ego-state psychology, among others.”

“Guided Imagery for Clinicians” is a three-day introductory workshop, and professionals wishing to complete their certification may continue with six additional workshops comprising 153 hours of training.

The cost of the certification program is $3,495 (payment plans are available), and courses currently rotate through metropolitan San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Regional training centers are being established so that complete training may be obtained in each location.

Simonton Cancer Center
875 Via De La Paz
Suite C
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

O. Carl Simonton, M.D., and the staff of the Simonton Cancer Center conduct ongoing workshops for counselors, educators, clergy, hospice workers, nurses, and other members of the helping professions. Topics covered in the workshops include: counseling people with cancer; imagery, meditation, and visualization; the “Two Year Health Plan”; a research overview; the role of the support system; responsibility, guilt, and blame; death; play; and hope, trust, purpose, inner guide, and spirituality.

The course combines didactic presentation with small group processes and discussion. All workshops run Friday through Sunday and cost $295.

Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal
PO Box 316
Bolinas, CA 94924
Tel: 415-868-2642
Fax: 415-868-2230

The Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal (our program) is a training program for health professionals who work with patients or clients with life-threatening illnesses. Directed by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., who also serves as Medical Director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, the institute offers a curriculum of five weekend core workshops, advanced workshops, and clinical supervision seminars for past participants; public lectures; and personal and organizational consultations.

The institute’s programs focus on introducing health professionals to a range of tools and techniques for using the healing power inherent in a therapeutic relationship. The spiritual needs of people with life-threatening illnesses are examined, along with effective strategies to meet these needs. Participants are also encouraged to examine personal beliefs and attitudes that may limit theêeffectiveness of therapeutic relationships, and to develop self-nurturing strategies.
Each of the institute’s programs examines one of the basic issues in providing care that focuses on patients’ needs. Each draws on theories and techniques developed in fields such as transpersonal psychology, theology, Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, imagery, the fine arts, and the art of medicine itself.

The fee for each workshop is $400, including room, board, and all materials.

National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine
Box 523
Mansfield Center, CT 06250
Tel: 203-429-2238
Fax: 203-429-7949

The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) is “devoted to training and continuing education in behavioral medicine. Through practitioner-oriented conferences and products for health and mental health care providers, NICABM facilitates interdisciplinary communication and behavioral approaches to health and illness.”

Among the program tracks that NICABM offers are: “strategies for working with cancer and other immune disorder patients”; “psychotherapy with medical patients”; “innovations in pain management”; and “marital and family therapy with medical patients.” NICABM is recognized by the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Psychological Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, and the State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as a provider of continuing education credits.

Consciousness Research and Training Project, Inc.
315 East 68th Street, Box 9G
New York, NY 10021

The Consciousness Research and Training Project offers 5-day residential seminars on healing based on the work of Lawrence LeShan, Ph.D. (see chapter 10).

The goal of the program is to enable participants to enter a “paranormal” state of consciousness “within which there is no individuation, rather an experience of oneness in the healer’s consciousness, if only for an instant …. Its primary and essential milieu love, caring at an intense, deep, and profound level.”1 LeShan, having trained himself to achieve this state in his work with clients, found that frequently people with whom he worked reported physical or psychological changes that were of benefit to them.

Admission to the program requires the submission of an application, and a mixture of ages and professions is sought for each training group. Not all participants are health professionals.

Cancer Support and Education Center
1035 Pine Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025

The Cancer Support and Education Center offers a 140-hour facilitator training program for those interested in learning the techniques used at the center in its work with cancer patients. (See chapter 27 for the description of the center’s self-help intensive course under Major Metropolitan and Regional Support Groups, San Francisco Bay Area.)


1 Joyce Goodrich, “A Healing Training and Research Project.” In James L. Fosshage and Paul Olsen, eds., Healing: Implications for Psychotherapy (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1978).