An Invitation to Healing

A 6-week online, small group experience in self-care

January 31st – March 9th, 2023

Click here to apply now!

Contact Julia Rowland (julia@smithcenter.org) or Olivia Gonyea (olivia@smithcenter.org) for more information and to apply. Once we receive your application, you will be contacted by a member of our retreat staff to discuss your eligibility.

Who: The staff of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts invite you to participate in a program they have designed called: 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.

What: 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. You’ll 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: a 2-hour educational session on Tuesdays, and a second 2-hour session on Thursdays that includes 30 minutes of yoga and 90- minutes of group therapy each week (see attached program content and schedule).

When: The program will run from Tuesday, January 31 through Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Where: An Invitation to Healing is held entirely online via Zoom, thus readily accessible to anyone with access to broadband network connections.

Why: We at Smith Center embrace the belief that each of us harbors within us the power to heal, even in the face of life-threatening illness. While not everyone can be cured of illness, we all have the potential to find healing. We also recognize that finding the resources to promote self-healing can be difficult. Further, we know that cancer can be a very isolating disease. The Invitation to Healing program is designed to empower participants to make life-affirming changes by offering tools, knowledge, and support in a safe and caring community of others facing a cancer diagnosis.

Program Details:

• The deadline to submit the application is January 17th, 2023.

• Groups are 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.

An Invitation to Healing – Program Schedule 2023

An Invitation to Healing Program Questions – Jan-Mar 2023

Once we receive your application, you will be contacted by a member of our retreat staff to discuss your eligibility. We look forward to connecting with you.

About the Invitation to Healing Staff

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 Julia Rowland, PhD (Program Outreach and 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, Chef (Nutrition Facilitator)

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.

About Kiersten Gallagher, RYT200 (Movement Facilitator)

Kiersten Gallagher – Cancer Support Programs Director

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at SmithCenter and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.

About Olivia Gonyea (Logistics & Tech Support)

Olivia Gonyea has been active in the cancer community for over 11 years as a childhood cancer survivor. She is also the founder of her own nonprofit organization that she created to support young people affected by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses at home in Buffalo, New York. Olivia never forgot the way that arts and creativity supported her during her experience with cancer and this inspired her to become involved with Smith Center. Olivia served as a Cancer Support Programs Intern in the Fall of 2021 and worked with Smith Center on her senior capstone project that focused on planning, implementing, and evaluating a photography-based program. Olivia received a degree in Public Health and International Studies from American University in DC and came on as full-time staff in July 2022. She is excited to explore her interest in art and create connections with participants. Meet Olivia when you walk into Smith Center or want to learn more about programs and/or retreats!

If are interested in joining this program, please email olivia@smithcenter.org.

Part 1/5. This program series is being offered virtually through Zoom.

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

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

This program is offered in partnership with Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, the Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and life with cancer.

Mind Over Matter - Evidence-Based Mind-Body Program Series

This 5-session program uses evidence-based strategies to help decrease feelings of anxiety and depression and increase a sense of well-being.

Each week, new tools using cognitive and behavioral approaches and mind-body strategies will be introduced and practiced. Therefore, weekly attendance is expected.


Mind Over Matter* will be offered as a program series Weekly on Wednesdays from January 25th – February 22nd, 2023, from 3:00 – 4:30pm ET via Zoom.

*Open to Cancer Patients/Survivors at any stage in their journey and Cancer Caregivers. Participants are encouraged to attend all 5 sessions to get the most out of the program. Before registering, be sure that you can commit to attending at least 4 of the 5 sessions. 

This program is offered in partnership with Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, the Ourisman Breast Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and Life With Cancer.

Program Dates:

  • January 25
  • February 1, 8, 15 22

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, MSW, 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.

About Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten Gallagher

Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at Smith Center and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Beans and Pablo.

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 Susi Wyss

Writing for Healing

Led by a therapeutic writing facilitator, this session is designed for self-care and taking time out to tap into the healing benefits of writing. Join us for a session that includes a brief meditation, writing prompts, and creative exercises in a playful and supportive environment. No writing experience necessary, just an open mind!

 

Suggested Materials: 

  • 2 sheets plain unlined paper
  • favorite writing pen 
  • Art/drawing material such as oil pastels, colored markers, pastels, colored pencils or crayons
  • Pair of scissors
  • scotch tape

Suggested Donation: $10


About Susi Wyss

Susi Wyss

Susi Wyss is a public health professional, author, therapeutic writing facilitator and—most of all—a believer in the healing power of words. Her public health career has spanned more than 25 years, mostly addressing women’s health in Africa. She is the author of The Civilized World, a novel set in Africa that was named “A Book to Pick Up Now” by Oprah Magazine. In addition to her collaboration with the Smith Center, she has led writing-for-healing workshops at the DC Rape Crisis Center and Crossings Healing & Wellness.

LGBTQIA+ Morning Meditation will still meet on this date. This program is hosted virtually via Zoom. No prior registration required.

In Partnership with Susan Salek. Hosted by IMCW.

Come together as an LGBTQIA+ community for a weekly morning meditation sit. 

We will settle in for a few minutes, then meditation (guided and silence) for 20 minutes and end with around the virtual circle with a few words of gratitude.


Join Zoom meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87127603045?pwd=WnRxdE43VWI3bDFjdVIyS1grOVBhQT09

Meeting ID: 871 2760 3045
Passcode: 108108

One tap mobile
+13017158592,,87127603045#,,,,*108108#US (Washington DC)
+16465588656,,87127603045#,,,,*108108#US (New York)

Note: Because this is an online sit, participants are encouraged to find space of relative quiet, limiting the amount of interaction with others in the environment as much as possible. Participants may join by internet or via phone. 


For more information, please visit:

https://events.imcw.org/event/?eventId=752&startDate=2021-07-20T11:30:00.000Z

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 olivia@smithcenter.org.

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

with Linda Seabright

Mindfulness is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as it was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.

Dr. Kabat-Zinn and his program were featured prominently in the award-winning PBS television series Healing and the Mind. The profound effects of this work have begun to be strongly supported by a large body of scientific research.

Specifically, mindfulness helps you access the ability to be non-judgmental, compassionate, patient, present and aware. You wouldn’t have come this far if these qualities did not exist in you somewhere. Possible benefits may be a greater sense of peace and well-being.

We will take a few moments to check into how we’re feeling in the beginning of the meditation and afterward. We’ll sit or lie comfortably and go through a slightly different guided meditation each week. No experience needed.

Being Together Mindfulness meets weekly on Fridays from 12:00pm – 12:30pm ET.

Suggested Donation: $5/session


About Linda Seabright

Linda Seabright

 Linda Seabright has been teaching Mindfulness and Meditation since she completed her training in MBSR, or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine in 2016. Linda is a life-long practitioner of yoga, a cancer survivor, and has studied expressive art therapy since 2010. Her passion  for artistic and musical expression have inspired her to bring the same dedication to her meditation teachings, bringing a wide array of experience to her practice. She also teaches trauma-based meditation to nonprofits and has developed a series of meditations to help bring peace and balance into people’s lives. More information at www.jazzmeditation.com.

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 Kenneth Johnson

A Healing Circle: Gay Men with Prostate Cancer

We are a group of gay men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or who are recovering from treatment that offer support to each other. In a peer-led community, we share our experiences and understanding to help one another best deal with our own personal situations.


The Healing Circle for Gay Men with Prostate Cancer meets Monthly on the 4th Thursday from 7:00pm – 8:30pm ET.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • December 22
  • 2023 sessions TBD

About Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson, of Washington, D.C., is a co-facilitator and founding member of the Healing Circle Supporting Gay Men with Prostate Cancer hosted at the Smith Center since October 2018. Kenneth was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016 at the age of 50 and treated with surgery and radiation. Before volunteering with the support group, Kenneth volunteered with many LGBTQ+ organizations and community non-profits in Atlanta, GA. Now, when not enjoying his book club’s latest selection or trying to keep his heart rate up at the gym, Kenneth can be found enjoying time with his vibrant parents who will soon celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. Kenneth is nearing the end of a 34-year career in federal service as an information technology analyst and looks forward to hitting the highways to visit family and friends around the country.

This program is hosted virtually via Zoom. No prior registration required.

In Partnership with Susan Salek. Hosted by IMCW.

Come together as an LGBTQIA+ community for a weekly morning meditation sit. 

We will settle in for a few minutes, then meditation (guided and silence) for 20 minutes and end with around the virtual circle with a few words of gratitude.


Join Zoom meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87127603045?pwd=WnRxdE43VWI3bDFjdVIyS1grOVBhQT09

Meeting ID: 871 2760 3045
Passcode: 108108

One tap mobile
+13017158592,,87127603045#,,,,*108108#US (Washington DC)
+16465588656,,87127603045#,,,,*108108#US (New York)

Note: Because this is an online sit, participants are encouraged to find space of relative quiet, limiting the amount of interaction with others in the environment as much as possible. Participants may join by internet or via phone. 


For more information, please visit:

https://events.imcw.org/event/?eventId=752&startDate=2021-07-20T11:30:00.000Z

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.

Early Stage Cancer Caregiver Support Group

There are over 2.8 million cancer caregivers in the US, most of them caring for someone with early stage disease. Are you one of them?
In this group you will learn tips and techniques for caring for your loved one/partner/friend while also taking good care of yourself.
Also, you will learn that you are not alone in your caregiving role, and that caring in community can make a difference to your own and your care recipient’s health.

Beginning August 22, The Early Stage Cancer Caregiver Support Group will meet Monthly on the 3rd Monday from 11:00am-12:00pm EST.

Upcoming Dates: 
  • December 19

About Julia Rowland, PhD

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.

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 olivia@smithcenter.org.

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

with Linda Seabright

Mindfulness is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as it was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.

Dr. Kabat-Zinn and his program were featured prominently in the award-winning PBS television series Healing and the Mind. The profound effects of this work have begun to be strongly supported by a large body of scientific research.

Specifically, mindfulness helps you access the ability to be non-judgmental, compassionate, patient, present and aware. You wouldn’t have come this far if these qualities did not exist in you somewhere. Possible benefits may be a greater sense of peace and well-being.

We will take a few moments to check into how we’re feeling in the beginning of the meditation and afterward. We’ll sit or lie comfortably and go through a slightly different guided meditation each week. No experience needed.

Being Together Mindfulness meets weekly on Fridays from 12:00pm – 12:30pm ET.

Suggested Donation: $5/session


About Linda Seabright

Linda Seabright

 Linda Seabright has been teaching Mindfulness and Meditation since she completed her training in MBSR, or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine in 2016. Linda is a life-long practitioner of yoga, a cancer survivor, and has studied expressive art therapy since 2010. Her passion  for artistic and musical expression have inspired her to bring the same dedication to her meditation teachings, bringing a wide array of experience to her practice. She also teaches trauma-based meditation to nonprofits and has developed a series of meditations to help bring peace and balance into people’s lives. More information at www.jazzmeditation.com.

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 olivia@smithcenter.org.

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

with artist & sculptor Liz Lescault

Doodling: Mandalas and Sacred Geometry

In December we will play with mandalas and the notion of sacred geometry. We will approach doodling as a meditative process and a way of fostering a contemplative frame of mind.

In future Art Lab sessions we will play with a variety of media and genres including: doodling, drawing, collage, assemblage, and water color.

Art Lab will be about making art as well as the different ways we experience art and how it affects us. We will explore both the process and the product of the art we create. We will integrate movement and playful sharing into our art making experience sharing insights, joys and concerns.

These hands-on workshops are for both novices and experienced artists.  You are invited to come to one, some or all of the workshops as the spirit moves you. All are welcome.

Suggested Materials*:

*any materials and supplies you may already have will work just as well for this project; the materials suggested below are just some of my favorites.


Art Lab will be offered monthly on Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:00pm ET.

Participants are encouraged to drop-in for any session – new themes and projects will be introduced each month.

This hands-on workshop series is for novices and experienced artists.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • December 15
  • January 26
  • February 23

Suggested Donation: $15


About Liz Lescault

Liz Lescault

Liz Lescault, a visual artist and sculptor, has practiced and taught art for over 40 years. Liz is also a Coordinator of the DC InterPlay Metro Region, a certified InterPlay leader and a member of the DC InterPlay Board. She leads Open Gathering days for InterPlay DC and organizes and leads workshops regionally and nationally online and in person. Liz has been leading Art Lab both for Smith Center for the Healing Arts, for the Phillips Collection and for InterPlay internationally.

Formerly, Liz, was a hotline crisis counselor, for various suicide prevention lifelines and The Trevor Project providing help for LGBTQ youth in crisis and the Prince Georges County Homeless Hotline.

Liz has also led InterPlay for elders with chronic illness and cognitive disabilities at Iona Senior Center in Washington DC.

Liz melds her art, teaching, guidance and personal philosophy with InterPlay wisdom, tools and forms.

B.S., Psychology, Drew University, Madison, NJ

M.Ed., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, British Techniques of Open Education

Studied watercolor at WICE, an international educational and cultural association in Paris, France

https://www.lizlescault.com/home