Psychosocial Services & Support
The psychosocial team at Winthrop’s division of pediatric hematology/oncology fosters a sense of hope and healing through a variety of fun, after-hours activities and therapeutic programs for patients and their families.
Working very closely with the medical staff, the psychosocial team—comprised of a social worker, psychologist, child life therapist and music therapist—addresses emotional and behavioral concerns with compassion, energy and expertise. Individualized treatment plans, created at the time of diagnosis, are designed to address specific needs in an environment of comfort and hope. The team employs storytelling, guided imagery, “medical play,” hypnotic suggestions, relaxation techniques, song and supportive therapy in an effort to comfort and empower patient and family.
The center’s psychologist works closely with the medical staff to create specific therapeutic and supportive interventions for each patient and family. Psycho-educational and psychological testing helps to map present and future concerns that may arise in the home, school, and work environment.
Child Life Specialist, Music Therapist
These professionally trained team members help patients cope with illness and intense treatment through therapeutic play, music, arts and crafts, and other age-appropriate activities. Child Life therapy interventions and coping techniques such as medical play, distraction techniques, and relaxation and visualization, offer children a great sense of familiarity, understanding and emotional mastery of a potentially threatening and frightening situation.
An integral member of the psychosocial team, the social worker helps facilitate support groups for patients and parents, making certain that young patients’ educational needs continue to be met during treatment. Families receive help when seeking financial assistance to alleviate some of their non-medical burdens.
Programs and Support Groups
The Center’s program and support group objectives are as varied as our patients and their individual needs and situations. Our services—facilitated by the psychosocial team—normalize feelings about diagnosis and care; help patients address fears about upcoming treatments, procedures, relapse, school re-entry, and end-of- treatment and palliative care issues; and offer outreach and support to family and community.
Project SOAR (School re-entry and Ongoing Academic Resources) helps the pediatric cancer patient transition back to school during or post-treatment via a collaborative partnership with parents, medical and educational personnel.
Kids Club, which is co-facilitated by the Center’s Social Worker and Child Life Specialist, is open to patients ages 9-16, whether they are on or off active treatment. Club ‘members’ share evenings filled with laughter, art, cooking, trips to Broadway shows, and other events that foster creative expression. The Club’s goal is to normalize feelings related to diagnosis and/or treatment. It also provides a fun outlet for teens to participate comfortably in peer activities and strengthen their social skills.
Powerful Me focuses on self-care–mind, spirit and body–and optimizes health for young women undergoing cancer treatment, cancer survivors, and their mothers. Program components include: women’s health, yoga, nutritional counseling, and exercise as well as educational resources, massage therapy, and skin care treatment to enhance health, appearance and self-esteem.
Family Support Groups focus on the entire family’s needs: patient, siblings, parents and caregivers. The psychosocial team remains flexible to the needs of our families by organizing groups in various formations to best serve the family’s current needs. In the past, groups have included a “Mom’s Group,” “Dad’s Group,” “Sibling Group” and “Family Group.”
Music Appreciation Program (MAP) helps cancer patients and children with hematologic disorders, ages 3-16, ‘map’ their course to health and well-being through the healing power of compassionate care in an environment where music and camaraderie are encouraged.
Young Adult Survivor Group meets twice yearly at local restaurants, and provides post- high school survivors with a forum where they can enjoy each other’s company while engaging in therapeutic discussion specific to there population.