October – December 2009

Introduction to Mindfulness for Patients with Cancer and their Caregivers (details)

October 13, 2009
Diana Wiston & Dr. Susan Smalley

Mindfulness is the art of openly and actively paying attention to the present moment. This approach has scientific support as a means to reduce stress, improve attention, boost the immune system, reduce emotional reactivity, and promote a general sense of health and wellness. We will present some science behind how mindfulness works on our body and brain, and then several experiential practices where we will learn the basics of mindfulness meditation. We will discuss how it can be used specifically by cancer patients and their caregivers.

Happy Endings: Rewriting Your Life (details)

October 12, 19, 26 & November 2, 2009

Personal experiences and events that have held us back in our lives can be changed by re-writing them. We can right our wrongs. Transform from victim to survivor. Change our sad stories into happy endings. By the simple act of re-writing thoughts, attitudes, and inner critics, we can become the star of our own life. As far as the brain is concerned, imagined behavior is real.

This workshop will be more psychologically-oriented than previous workshops offered by Dr. Rachel Ballon, who brings unique expertise and experience as a psychotherapist and international writing consultant. Writing will be used as a vehicle for digging beneath the mask, discarding self-sabotaging behaviors and self-defeating relationships rooted in the past, and transforming negative life scripts into positive ones.

Each workshop will involve a combination of writing, sharing, and receiving feedback. Sharing what one has written can be as cathartic for the reader as the listener, although sharing is optional. The program is well-suited for any individual who wants to rewrite her/his life. No writing experience is necessary.

Memories to Memoirs:  Leaving Your Legacy (details)

October 13, 20, 27 & November 3, 2009

Memories of everything that has ever happened to you are stored in your unconscious. There are hundreds of stories residing inside you. These stories are your identity.

Using combined techniques of relaxation, visualization, and Fast Flow Writing™ to access emotions, sensory memories, and life experiences, Dr. Ballon will help participants transform their memories into memoirs.

Dr. Ballon brings a unique expertise and experience as an international writing consultant and psychotherapist in facilitating self-exploration, self-discovery, and a powerfully authentic voice in writing.

Each workshop will involve a combination of writing, sharing, and receiving feedback. Sharing what one has written can be as cathartic for the reader as the listener; although sharing is optional. No writing experience is necessary.

Music for the Soul (details)

November 1, 2009

There is a rhythm of life in our pulse and in every cell of our bodies; subtle energies can support or disrupt that rhythm.

In this workshop, we will experience the power of music in restoring harmony and balance to our lives. Two experts will guide us as we drum in synchronized rhythms, chant, learn how to make celestial sounds with instruments used in meditative work, and create art inspired by music and music inspired by art-making. We will make a meditative recording to listen to throughout the week between sessions, as part of the healing journey.

This workshop is for anyone who seeks recharge and renewal. No musical aptitude is necessary. It is a one-of-a-kind experience that will be tailored to the needs of the participants.

Sustainable Movement 24/7:  Breaking Barriers of Self-Limitation (details)

November 9, 2009

We seek stability in everyday life – in mind as well as body. Body stability includes strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, endurance, good reflexes, and more. If all we do with our bodies is try to survive gravity, then we tire easily. And the less we move, the more limited we become.

It’s important for body parts to know how to act as partners, not as strangers. When one body part is moving, its counterpart should support the movement in a counterbalanced way, not in a counterproductive way. When the body works in synchronicity 24/7, healthy habits are established.

Ms. Nemeth’s movement sequences – integrating principles from dance, rhythmic gymnastics, and physical therapy – are designed to move the body in a variety of directions while sustaining the muscles that need to support the movement; consequently, the movements are challenging yet safe. And all the elements that lead to body stability can be addressed in a single exercise.

Moving the body the right way can change our entire being. Each mindful step that we take brings us into rhythm and harmony not only with our own body, but also with other beings, living things, and inanimate objects. Practiced consciously, we not only take charge of our own body, but also of the life we live.

Lung Cancer 2009: Imaging in Lung Cancer Detection and Treatment (details)

November 10, 2009
Denise R. Aberte & Martin Allen-Auerbach, MD

Two renowned experts from UCLA come together to discuss state-of-the art imaging in the detection and treatment of a very common malignancy, lung cancer. Contemporary imaging techniques have the potential to improve survival and facilitate optimum treatment strategies.  This discussion is useful for individual with cancer as well as those worried about the potential risks of developing it due to exposure to tobacco smoke. Roughly 87% of lung cancers are attributed to cigarette smoking. Although cancer risk is lowered by smoking cessation, the risk is not eliminated, and lung cancer now occurs with equal frequency in current and former smokers.  People exposed to second hand smoke are also at increased risk. One of the major determinates of improved survival in patients with lung cancer is diagnosis at an early stage. There is currently no recommended screening test for the early detection of lung cancer, although the use of computed tomography at low radiation dose is a subject of great interest and controversy. Our current state of knowledge about low dose CT (LDCT) for lung cancer screening is reviewed including the major clinical trials that have contributed to our understanding of LDCT are discussed as well as aspects of the ongoing National Lung Screening Trial–a massive randomized sponsored by the National Cancer Institute clinical trial with over 50,000 participants. The potential benefits of screening and the inherent risks are presented. Once lung cancer is diagnosed, follow-up of the many treatments currently available for patients with all stages of disease is an important strategy to improve patient outcomes. PET/CT can help in assessing the effectiveness of a chosen treatment by non-invasively imaging the changes of uptake of tracers such as FDG into the tumor during and after therapy which helps doctors determine how well a specific therapy is working. Ongoing clinical trials will help to find out how PET/CT can be best applied to tailor treatment of lung cancer for optimal effectiveness.

New Treatment Strategies for Ovarian Cancer Offer Hope for a Better Prognosis (details)

December 8, 2009
Oliver Dorigo MD, PhD

The current primary treatment of ovarian cancer includes surgery followed by chemotherapy.  The majority of patients are clinically tumor free after completion of primary treatment.  However, most patients will recur with disease and therefore require further therapy. Options for the treatment of recurrent disease include chemotherapy, surgery, and at times radiation.  Control of tumor disease is frequently possible over many years, although treatment side effect and the development of wide spread therapy-resistant disease limits the utility of currently available agents. In recent years, our increased understanding of ovarian cancer biology has allowed the generation of novel treatment strategies that include molecular, hormonal and immunological approaches. Molecular therapies are able to target specific growth promoting pathways in ovarian cancer cells and lead to tumor shrinkage. One of the most promising strategies is directed against tumor vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the tumor cell.  Antibody treatment is now available that lead to a decrease in tumor vessels followed by death of the tumor cells.  Various clinical trials using these agents in ovarian cancer have shown very promising effect in patients. Other new drugs are able to block certain proteins on ovarian cancer cells that stop their growth and metastasis. Immunotherapy currently under investigation includes antibodies that can stimulate an immune response against ovarian cancers.

In Another’s Shoes: Developing Empathy through Dramatic Imagination (details)

December 10, 2009

The skill of acting in a role is central to psychodrama, Gestalt Therapy, and other therapeutic traditions. Assuming a role that is not our own engages our imagination: We begin to entertain clues about what it might be like to be someone else. This workshop will introduce an experiential practice that is easy and fun so that participants can feel comfortable with the basic technique. Working in groups of two we will deepen the work to include more meaningful explorations that occur in everyday life and relationships. The workshop promises to be entertaining, personally enlightening – and useful.

Adam Blatner, M.D. and Allee Blatner are delightful master teachers of role playing for both therapeutic and recreational applications. Dr. Blatner is Board Certified in both adult and child psychiatry. He and his wife Allee have co-authored a book about their approach entitled, The Art of Play: Helping Adults Reclaim Imagination and Spontaneity. Dr. Blatner’s works also include two seminal books in psychodrama: Acting-In and Foundations of Psychodrama. His most recent book is a survey of many approaches: Interactive and Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance.

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