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Tapestry

A Retreat Program of Support for Persons Living with Cancer

Authors

  • Maureen J. Angen phd, cpsych,

    1. Maureen J. Angen, PhD, CPsych, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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  • J. Helen MacRae phd, cpsych,

    1. J. Helen MacRae, PhD, CPsych, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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  • J. Steven A. Simpson phd, md, frcp,

    1. J. Steven A. Simpson, PhD, MD, FRCP, Departments of Psychiatry and Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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  • Marilyn Hundleby phd, cpsych

    1. Marilyn Hundleby, PhD, CPsych, Department of Psychology, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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  • This research was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to Dr. Maureen J. Angen, under the supervision of Dr. J. S. A. Simpson, Departments of Psychiatry and Oncology, University of Calgary.

Address for correspondence: Maureen J. Angen, PhD, CPsych, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 1331 29th Street NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N2.

Abstract

purpose: In an effort to mitigate the negative psychological sequelae of a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment, efforts have been made to explore a variety of psychosocial issues and interventions. This article describes the provision and preliminary evaluation of a novel psychosocial service delivery, a residential “retreat” program called Tapestry, which is run under the aegis of the established cancer care community in Alberta, Canada.

overview: Retreat programs offer a novel way to provide psychosocial support for those persons who are living with cancer. The retreats are unique in the provision of a respite and the opportunity to address the isolation and other existential issues arising from a cancer diagnosis. The program described in this article has provided such a service six times per year since 1998. The intervention is described, and preliminary evaluation data are presented.

clinical implications: Cancer care has begun to move beyond a solely biomedical paradigm toward a more holistic ethos in service delivery and research orientation. While the face value of and demand for such programming continues to grow, few residential psychosocial programs are offered under the auspices of conventional cancer care centers, and little work has been done to examine the nature and possible efficacy of retreat programs as a valid forum for psychosocial service delivery.

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