Healing Circles: Share Your Experience
What Makes a Circle Healing?
Inspired by discussions at the Healing Circles Annual Leadership Council, Whidbey Island, August 2018
By Janie Brown, Callanish Society
The only person who can accurately perceive a circle to be healing is the individual circle participant. Healing is what the person says it is. (Like pain is what the person says it is).
I feel healed in a circle:
We heal most deeply in community. The people who often help us heal most deeply are those who are going through what we are experiencing. That is why good cancer support groups—or healing circles—are so helpful for many people with cancer—and for those who love them who are going through the experience with them. Finding a truly healing support group or healing circle can be a challenge. There are online groups—we list a few examples below. Or you can join with others—or create your own.
We started Healing Circles because the alumni of our week-long Cancer Help Program retreats wanted to sustain face-to-face meetings. Our alumni groups meet monthly for two hours. There are others who offer similar methodologies. No one invented healing circles. They've been with us from the beginning of human history. Our Healing Circles, co-created with three other centers that have offered the Cancer Help Program for 20 years or more, are slowly spreading across the US and Canada and beyond.
You can explore our approach at Healing Circles Global, or check the other examples of support groups or healing circles listed below. We welcome your experience. We're just beginning to build out this part of BCCT.
After reviewing a multitude of online communities offering platforms for peer-to-peer discussions for people with cancer and their loved ones, we chose the following sites. Each website listed here offers active discussion groups for different cancer types and topics. Some communities included are broader than cancer; communities for specific cancer types (such as colorectal cancer) were not included. We invite suggestions for further active communities to include.
American Cancer Society: Large, active online peer discussion boards based on types of cancer and key topics.
Cancer Connect: Combines current cancer treatment news and educational content with over 60 moderated social communities for patients and caregivers. Used by leading cancer centers.
Cancer Support Community: Connect with others through moderated discussion boards, find resources on living with cancer, communicate with family and friends through a private website or blog, utilize the calendar to track appointments, and post requests for help from family and friends.
Inspire: A platform used by over two hundred organizations, including over 35 different cancer organizations such as the Lung Cancer Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Fight Colorectal Cancer and the Kidney Cancer Association. Over 2 million users.
Navigating Care: Hosts public discussion groups on various types of cancers and topics that anyone can join, with robust membership. If partnered with your cancer center, you can also access patient records, and communicate with your healthcare team as well as your personal support network.
Smart Patients: Robust, active peer-to-peer discussion groups in clean format. Strong profile page design, which enables patients to learn from each others’ stories. Also features a clinical trial search and patient stories of hope. Not limited to cancer.
- Healing Circles Global
- CancerNet.org: Support Groups
- CancerCare: Support Groups
- The Cancer Forums
- Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE): Advocacy
- Road To Recovery: Get a ride to cancer treatment
- Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance: Woman to Woman
- Lung Cancer Alliance: Support Groups
- Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc.: Support Groups
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
- Sarcoma Alliance: Peer-to-Peer
- Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network: In-person Support Group
- Imerman Angels
- Especially for young adults:
- Smith Center for Healing and the Arts: Support groups and other resources in the Washington, DC, area
- Annie Appleseed Project: Links
- Center for Courage and Renewal (not specific to cancer)
- Peer Spirit (not specific to cancer)
- helpsyhealth.com: Helpsy Health
- Commonweal: Commonweal Cancer Help Program
- American Society of Clinical Oncology: Cancer.Net
- April Stearns: Wildfire
- Cancer Support Community
- Commonweal: Healing Circles
- CancerCare: My Cancer Circle
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