*Before registering for this group, please be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions. If you have any questions, email olivia@smithcenter.org.

with Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C and Sara Field, LICSW, OSW-C

offered in partnership with Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors Group*

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy is largely based on the work of existential psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl and was developed for those facing illness. Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy aims to decrease feelings of sadness and increase hope by teaching participants how to focus on creating, experiencing, and keeping a sense of meaning in life. Research shows that MCP is very helpful to those who have experienced cancer. During this 8-session weekly group, participants will learn:

  • To cope better by finding and creating a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • How sources of meaning can be used to help you during hard times. 
  • New ways to face and overcome the challenges caused by your illness. 

 

MCP is meant to help participants look for meaning in their past, present, future and everyday life through teaching, answering questions together, doing homework assignments, and discussions with the group. MCP helps participants use meaning in life to gain a greater sense of purpose. 

 

This group is meant for Cancer Survivors finished with their main treatments or those living with metastatic disease.


Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors* will be offered as a closed group program from January 30th – March 27, 2023 via Zoom. It will be offered for 8 weeks on Mondays from 3:00-4:30pm. 

*Registration will be closed at 8 participants. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions.

Program Dates:

  • January 30
  • February 6, 13, 27
  • March 6, 13, 20, 27

About Erin Price, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Erin Price

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

About Sara Field, LICSW, OSW-C

Sara Field

Sara is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in DC and holds an Oncology Social Work certification. She earned her Masters Degree in Social Work at the Catholic University of America in DC and has worked in oncology for over 6 years. Sara currently serves as the Clinical Social Worker and Patient Experience Supervisor at the Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown and previously worked  at the Lombardi Cancer Center and GW Cancer Center. Sara has a strong interest in the intersection of emotional and physical health and a particular passion for supporting parents with cancer and their kids.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Rachel Ress, MSW, LICSW

In Partnership with Cancer Support Community

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • December 13
  • 2023 sessions TBD

About Rachel Ress, MSW, LICSW

Rachel Ress

Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker serving as Cancer Support Community Washington DC’s (CSC DC) Community Navigator. Prior to working at CSC DC, Rachel was an oncology social worker with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for three years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Rachel Ress, LICSW

In Partnership with Cancer Support Community

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • November 8
  • December 13

About Rachel Ress, LICSW

Rachel Ress

Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker serving as Cancer Support Community Washington DC’s (CSC DC) Community Navigator. Prior to working at CSC DC, Rachel was an oncology social worker with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for three years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Rachel Ress, LICSW

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • October 11
  • November 8
  • December 13

About Rachel Ress, LICSW

Rachel Ress

Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker serving as Cancer Support Community Washington DC’s (CSC DC) Community Navigator. Prior to working at CSC DC, Rachel was an oncology social worker with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for three years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Rachel Ress, LICSW

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • September 13
  • October 11
  • November 8
  • December 13

About Rachel Ress, LICSW

Rachel Ress

Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker serving as Cancer Support Community Washington DC’s (CSC DC) Community Navigator. Prior to working at CSC DC, Rachel was an oncology social worker with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for three years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

*Registration for this program is currently closed. If you would like to be added to the waitlist for this program, please email olivia@smithcenter.org. If you are on the waitlist, we will contact you if a spot becomes available. Before requesting to be added to the waitlist, please be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C and Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors Group*

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy is largely based on the work of existential psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl and was developed for those facing illness. Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy aims to decrease feelings of sadness and increase hope by teaching participants how to focus on creating, experiencing, and keeping a sense of meaning in life. Research shows that MCP is very helpful to those who have experienced cancer. During this 8-session weekly group, participants will learn:

  • To cope better by finding and creating a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • How sources of meaning can be used to help you during hard times. 
  • New ways to face and overcome the challenges caused by your illness. 

 

MCP is meant to help participants look for meaning in their past, present, future and everyday life through teaching, answering questions together, doing homework assignments, and discussions with the group. MCP helps participants use meaning in life to gain a greater sense of purpose. 

 

This group is meant for Cancer Survivors finished with their main treatments or those living with metastatic disease and is offered in partnership with MedStar Washington Hospital Center.


Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors* will be offered as a closed group program from September 12th – November 14th, 2022 via Zoom.

*Registration will be closed at 8 participants. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions.

Program Dates:

  • September 12 & 19
  • October 3, 17, 24 & 31
  • November 7 & 14

About Erin Price, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Erin Price

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

About Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Mindy Brodsky

Mindy Brodsky specializes in trauma-informed, strengths-based counseling with a passion for integrative health and healing. Mindy honors her clients as the experts of their lives, and she strives to provide a supportive and safe environment.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Rachel Ress, LICSW

Survivorship Support Group

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

The Survivorship Support Group will meet Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm ET.

Upcoming Dates:

  • August 9
  • September 13
  • October 11
  • November 8
  • December 13

About Rachel Ress, LICSW

Rachel Ress

Rachel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker serving as Cancer Support Community Washington DC’s (CSC DC) Community Navigator. Prior to working at CSC DC, Rachel was an oncology social worker with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for three years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

Click here to apply now!

Contact Julia Rowland (julia@smithcenter.org) or Carla Stillwagon (carla@smithcenter.org) for more information and to apply.

 

An Invitation to Healing

A 6-week online, small group experience in Self-Care

May 17th – June 23rd, 2022

The staff of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts invite you to participate in a new program they have designed and are calling: An Invitation to Healing. The program is designed for cancer patients/survivors at any point in their cancer journey, who wish to explore what it means to heal, and experience practices that have been shown to promote physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being.


An Invitation to Healing is a 6-week, small group online program that creates a unique space for conversations about the meaning of healing, pathways to health, and defining personal well-being.

Participants will be able to experience evidence-based healing practices.

Practices will include moving more, eating well, managing stress, sleeping better, sharing support, and using written and visual arts to express oneself.

 

The program is offered virtually twice a week for six weeks: one 2-hour educational session on Tuesdays, and a second 2-hour session on Thursdays that includes 30 minutes of yoga/tai chi/qigong and 2 hours of group therapy each week (see attached program content and schedule).

Click here to review the Program Schedule.

Click here for more details on the Who/What/Where/When of the program.

Program calendar


Program Details

  • Group is limited to 7 participants

  • The cost of the 6-week program is $600. We have limited partial scholarship funding available on a first come, first served basis. So, if you are interested, we encourage you to apply early.

To maximize sharing, learning and the power of group support, participants are expected to attend the full program.


Click here to submit an application to attend An Invitation to Healing.


About An Invitation to Healing Staff

About Carla Stillwagon – Logistics & Tech Support

Carla serves as the Cancer Support Program & Retreat Coordinator at Smith Center. During her time at the center, Carla has been inspired to further develop her commitment to the arts and their invaluable role in healing and community. She has completed Compassion Cultivation Training™, an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice, as well as a professional training in Mind-Body Medicine with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC.

About Carole O’Toole – Session Leader

Carole O'Toole

Smith Center’s Spiritual Companion, Carole O’Toole, was called to companion others following her cancer experience that led her to explore how illness offers opportunities for spiritual growth. Since 2006 Carole has served in many roles at Smith Center, including Director of Residential Retreats, Director of the Institute of Integrative Oncology Navigation, Director of Smith Center’s Integrative Navigation Training Program, and as a member of and mentor for our integrative navigation team. Carole has completed her training in Spiritual Direction from The Haden Institute, with a particular focus on grief and loss and the spiritual challenges of living with cancer.

About Cathryn Pethick, AA, AYS, C-IAYT – Movement Facilitator

Chef Cathryn Pethick

Cathryn Pethick, AA, AYS, C-IAYT is a certified yoga therapist and teacher, Ayurveda specialist, and professional chef- whole foods cooking and nutrition instructor. She shares those skills with private clients through her own Well-Being, founded in 2012, and is on staff with Maryland University of Integrative Health’s Masters in Nutrition degree program. At Smith Center, Cathryn teaches cooking and nutrition classes, gentle yoga, and contributes to Smith Center’s wonderful  integrative cancer support retreats as chef and yoga therapist. She has decades of experience in diverse culinary settings, practicing/teaching yoga from a therapeutic perspective, meditation, and the study of Ayurveda, diverse spiritual  and philosophical traditions, and Oriental healing/martial arts. Cathryn shares the intention of nourishing well-being for us individually and as a collective with yoga, meditation and food-as-medicine, by cultivating the healing power of balance, optimal nutrition that supports our vitality, and compassionate presence that nurtures us all.

About Charles Leighton, LCSW, CGP, CYI – Group Leader

Charles Leighton

Charles Leighton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Individual and Group Psychotherapist, Certified Yoga teacher, and mindfulness instructor. He has co-lead over 25 retreats at Smith Center for the Healing Arts in Washington, DC, for people living with cancer. He has been in private practice for over twenty-five years  and was the founder/Director of The Princeton Group Support Center in Princeton NJ and “The Heart Group” Program, an innovative therapy and lifestyle change program for people with heart disease and cancer at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. His work has been featured in the PBS documentary, THE MYSTERIOUS HUMAN HEART on PBS and Heartfelt on The Sanofi Channel. Leighton was a trainer for The Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease and has lectured extensively on mental illness and stress. He has published research on the role of anger in heart disease and written for scholarly journals. He has been a consultant to such organizations as The New York Times, New York Hospital, Gilda’s Club, and The Preventive Medicine Institute.  

About Deborah Steele, ATRCreativity Facilitator

Deb Steele, M.Ed., ATR, is a registered art therapist who has worked with cancer patients and their caregivers since receiving her Master’s degree in art therapy at the University of New Mexico. 

She herself is a survivor of two different breast cancers at ages 37 and 65.

Deb developed and managed the Patient and Family Support Services Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cancer Center for 15 years before her retirement. Deb also worked with oncologists and palliative care staff to identify and initiate complementary therapies that would benefit the well-being of patients and their family members/caregivers. She has led many cancer-related support groups and retreats. Deb is currently leading creativity groups for survivors of domestic abuse and therapeutic art groups for women in Lebanon, NH.

About Julia Rowland, PhD – Program Outreach & Support

Julia Rowland

Julia Rowland, PhD, who joined Smith Center in October 2017, comes to this position as a long-time clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of psychosocial aspects of cancer. She has worked with and conducted competitively funded research among both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families, and published broadly in psycho-oncology, including co-editing, along with Dr. Jimmie Holland, the ground-breaking text, Handbook of Psychooncology.  She has also been a frequent speaker on cancer survivorship, or life after cancer, for both professional and lay audiences.

Julia received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in psychosocial oncology. While at MSKCC, where she held joint appointments in pediatrics and neurology, Julia helped to develop and was the first Director of the Post-Treatment Resource Program, one of the first non-medical survivorship care programs to be offered by a major cancer center in the U.S. In 1990 she moved with her husband and two young children to Washington, DC to become founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Program at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Cancer Center. There she helped expand services to meet the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and families, launched some of the first quality of life clinical trials, and also introduced a program to enable first year medical students to learn the art of caring for those living through and beyond cancer from survivors themselves and Lombardi faculty. Nine years later, in September of 1999, she was recruited to the National Cancer Institute to become the first, full-time Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, a position in which she served for 18 years, championing the growth of survivorship research and care, before stepping down in September 2017 to assume her new role at Smith Center. Although new to the team, Julia is no stranger to Smith Center. She knew Smith Center’s founder, Barbara Smith Coleman, and has volunteered her expertise across the years as a speaker, group leader and staff member for both the 1-day and weeklong residential retreats. Julia brings to her new role a passion to translate what research has taught us about healing in the context of cancer to the broader community, in essence, taking the science of survivorship from the lab bench to the park bench.

About Laura Pole, RN, MSN, ChefNutrition & Music Facilitator

Laura Pole

Laura, Director of Smith Center’s Nourishment Education Programs, has served as the head retreat chef and nurse consultant since 1997. She is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Integrative Oncology Navigator with over 40 years experience in caring for people with serious illness. She is also a Certified Health Supportive Chef, professional musician and Nia body-mind fitness instructor. Her popular cooking classes are centered on culinary translation: that is, helping  participants translate a diet prescription to a plate of nourishing delicious food. Laura is the founder of “Eating for a Lifetime,” a consulting business dedicated to teaching individuals and professionals about health supportive eating and food preparation. In addition to Laura’s work with nourishment, she is the co-coordinator of Smith Center’s Patient Navigation Training in Integrative Cancer Care. Laura also serves as coordinator of the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv.

This program series* is now full. Please email carla@smithcenter.org to be added to the waitlist.

*Participants MUST be located in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland or North Carolina. Registration will be closed at 8 participants. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Erin Price, LICSW, OSW-C and Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors Group*

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy is largely based on the work of existential psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl and was developed for those facing illness. Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy aims to decrease feelings of sadness and increase hope by teaching participants how to focus on creating, experiencing, and keeping a sense of meaning in life. Research shows that MCP is very helpful to those who have experienced cancer. During this 8-session weekly group, participants will learn:

  • To cope better by finding and creating a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • How sources of meaning can be used to help you during hard times. 
  • New ways to face and overcome the challenges caused by your illness. 

 

MCP is meant to help participants look for meaning in their past, present, future and everyday life through teaching, answering questions together, doing homework assignments, and discussions with the group. MCP helps participants use meaning in life to gain a greater sense of purpose. 

 

This group is meant for Cancer Survivors finished with their main treatments or those living with metastatic disease and is offered in partnership with MedStar Washington Hospital Center.


Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors* will be offered as a closed group program from May 2nd – July 11th, 2022 via Zoom.

*Participants MUST be located in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland or North Carolina. Registration will be closed at 8 participants. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 sessions.

Program Dates:

  • May 2, 16 & 23
  • June 6, 13, 20 & 27
  • July 11

About Erin Price, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Erin Price

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

About Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Mindy Brodsky

Mindy Brodsky specializes in trauma-informed, strengths-based counseling with a passion for integrative health and healing. Mindy honors her clients as the experts of their lives, and she strives to provide a supportive and safe environment.

Click here to apply now!

Contact Julia Rowland (julia@smithcenter.org) or Carla Stillwagon (carla@smithcenter.org) for more information and to apply.

 

An Invitation to Healing

A 6-week online, small group experience in Self-Care

The staff of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts invite you to participate in a new program they have designed and are calling: An Invitation to Healing. The program is designed for cancer patients/survivors at any point in their cancer journey, who wish to explore what it means to heal, and experience practices that have been shown to promote physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being.


An Invitation to Healing is a 6-week, small group online program that creates a unique space for conversations about the meaning of healing, pathways to health, and defining personal well-being.

Participants will be able to experience evidence-based healing practices.

Practices will include moving more, eating well, managing stress, sleeping better, sharing support, and using written and visual arts to express oneself.

 

The program is offered virtually twice a week for six weeks: one 2-hour educational session on Tuesdays, and a second 2-hour session on Thursdays that includes 30 minutes of yoga/tai chi/qigong and 2 hours of group therapy each week (see attached program content and schedule).

Click here to review the Program Schedule.

Click here for more details on the Who/What/Where/When of the program.

Program calendar


Program Details

  • Group is limited to 7 participants

  • The cost of the 6-week program is $600. We have limited partial scholarship funding available on a first come, first served basis. So, if you are interested, we encourage you to apply early.

To maximize sharing, learning and the power of group support, participants are expected to attend the full program.


Click here to submit an application to attend An Invitation to Healing.


About An Invitation to Healing Staff

About Carla Stillwagon – Logistics & Tech Support

Carla serves as the Cancer Support Program & Retreat Coordinator at Smith Center. During her time at the center, Carla has been inspired to further develop her commitment to the arts and their invaluable role in healing and community. She has completed Compassion Cultivation Training™, an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice, as well as a professional training in Mind-Body Medicine with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC.

About Carole O’Toole – Session Leader

Carole O'Toole

Smith Center’s Spiritual Companion, Carole O’Toole, was called to companion others following her cancer experience that led her to explore how illness offers opportunities for spiritual growth. Since 2006 Carole has served in many roles at Smith Center, including Director of Residential Retreats, Director of the Institute of Integrative Oncology Navigation, Director of Smith Center’s Integrative Navigation Training Program, and as a member of and mentor for our integrative navigation team. Carole has completed her training in Spiritual Direction from The Haden Institute, with a particular focus on grief and loss and the spiritual challenges of living with cancer.

About Cathryn Pethick, AA, AYS, C-IAYT – Movement Facilitator

Chef Cathryn Pethick

Cathryn Pethick, AA, AYS, C-IAYT is a certified yoga therapist and teacher, Ayurveda specialist, and professional chef- whole foods cooking and nutrition instructor. She shares those skills with private clients through her own Well-Being, founded in 2012, and is on staff with Maryland University of Integrative Health’s Masters in Nutrition degree program. At Smith Center, Cathryn teaches cooking and nutrition classes, gentle yoga, and contributes to Smith Center’s wonderful  integrative cancer support retreats as chef and yoga therapist. She has decades of experience in diverse culinary settings, practicing/teaching yoga from a therapeutic perspective, meditation, and the study of Ayurveda, diverse spiritual  and philosophical traditions, and Oriental healing/martial arts. Cathryn shares the intention of nourishing well-being for us individually and as a collective with yoga, meditation and food-as-medicine, by cultivating the healing power of balance, optimal nutrition that supports our vitality, and compassionate presence that nurtures us all.

About Deborah Steele, ATRCreativity Facilitator

Deb Steele, M.Ed., ATR, is a registered art therapist who has worked with cancer patients and their caregivers since receiving her Master’s degree in art therapy at the University of New Mexico. 

She herself is a survivor of two different breast cancers at ages 37 and 65.

Deb developed and managed the Patient and Family Support Services Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cancer Center for 15 years before her retirement. Deb also worked with oncologists and palliative care staff to identify and initiate complementary therapies that would benefit the well-being of patients and their family members/caregivers. She has led many cancer-related support groups and retreats. Deb is currently leading creativity groups for survivors of domestic abuse and therapeutic art groups for women in Lebanon, NH.

About Jennifer Bires, MSW, LICSW, OSW-CGroup Leader

Jennifer Bires

Jennifer Bires is the Executive Director of Life with Cancer and Patient Experience for the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. She previously served as the Executive Director at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC after almost a decade of experience as an oncology social worker in the DC area. Jennifer has a passion for improving access to psychosocial services for those impacted by cancer. She specializes in working with Young Adults who have been diagnosed with cancer, end of life concerns and issues and sexual health. She was awarded the 2017 Oncology Social Worker of the Year award from the Association of Oncology Social Workers.

About Julia Rowland, PhD – Program Outreach & Support

Julia Rowland

Julia Rowland, PhD, who joined Smith Center in October 2017, comes to this position as a long-time clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of psychosocial aspects of cancer. She has worked with and conducted competitively funded research among both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families, and published broadly in psycho-oncology, including co-editing, along with Dr. Jimmie Holland, the ground-breaking text, Handbook of Psychooncology.  She has also been a frequent speaker on cancer survivorship, or life after cancer, for both professional and lay audiences.

Julia received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in psychosocial oncology. While at MSKCC, where she held joint appointments in pediatrics and neurology, Julia helped to develop and was the first Director of the Post-Treatment Resource Program, one of the first non-medical survivorship care programs to be offered by a major cancer center in the U.S. In 1990 she moved with her husband and two young children to Washington, DC to become founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Program at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Cancer Center. There she helped expand services to meet the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and families, launched some of the first quality of life clinical trials, and also introduced a program to enable first year medical students to learn the art of caring for those living through and beyond cancer from survivors themselves and Lombardi faculty. Nine years later, in September of 1999, she was recruited to the National Cancer Institute to become the first, full-time Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, a position in which she served for 18 years, championing the growth of survivorship research and care, before stepping down in September 2017 to assume her new role at Smith Center. Although new to the team, Julia is no stranger to Smith Center. She knew Smith Center’s founder, Barbara Smith Coleman, and has volunteered her expertise across the years as a speaker, group leader and staff member for both the 1-day and weeklong residential retreats. Julia brings to her new role a passion to translate what research has taught us about healing in the context of cancer to the broader community, in essence, taking the science of survivorship from the lab bench to the park bench.

About Laura Pole, RN, MSN, ChefNutrition & Music Facilitator

Laura Pole

Laura, Director of Smith Center’s Nourishment Education Programs, has served as the head retreat chef and nurse consultant since 1997. She is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Integrative Oncology Navigator with over 40 years experience in caring for people with serious illness. She is also a Certified Health Supportive Chef, professional musician and Nia body-mind fitness instructor. Her popular cooking classes are centered on culinary translation: that is, helping  participants translate a diet prescription to a plate of nourishing delicious food. Laura is the founder of “Eating for a Lifetime,” a consulting business dedicated to teaching individuals and professionals about health supportive eating and food preparation. In addition to Laura’s work with nourishment, she is the co-coordinator of Smith Center’s Patient Navigation Training in Integrative Cancer Care. Laura also serves as coordinator of the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv.