Healing Circles

The impulse to share the healing experience—to help others face what we have faced—is built into the human psyche. As Rachel Naomi Remen puts it, “We heal in community.”

Healing Circles help us explore ways of deepening our capacity to heal, alleviating our suffering, and finding meaning in both challenge and joy. Circles are small, confidential, and free of charge. You may seek to find meaning in the challenge of cancer, bear witness to your own or others’ suffering or loss, and explore your own individual choices and capacity for healing. 

Healing circles are a safe and supportive space to walk with each other through our experiences. Each circle is a blend of sharing and silence, compassion and curiosity. Agreements ensure acceptance and confidentiality. We honor our own unique paths to healing and respect the choices of others. 

Our sister program, Healing Circles Global, welcomes you to join online circles from anywhere in the globe. You can also join an online training to learn how to host a circle in your own community. Some programs such as those in Langley, Washington, and Houston, Texas, hold in-person circles.

CancerChoices co-founder Michael Lerner describes what constitutes a healing circle.

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Janie Brown, co-founder and executive director of the Callanish Society, discusses the profound healing that can occur when we listen to each other with full openness and attention.

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Healing Circles: cancer social support circles and resources

Healing Circles Global

Online: Healing Circles is a safe place to bear witness to it all. We can join circles from anywhere and receive training to host circles in our own communities.

Healing Circles Langley

Langley, Washington: A nurturing supportive space where anyone impacted by cancer, a life-changing condition, or loss can explore and engage in their own healing.

Healing Circles Houston

Houston, Texas: A nurturing, supportive place where anyone impacted by illness, a life-changing condition, or loss can explore and engage in their own healing.

Cancer social support and resources from our partners

Health Navigators

Online: Creating awareness through education, empowerment through coaching, and support through community for anyone, anywhere, at any point on their wellness journey

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Support groups for people with cancer, including specific demographics

Yes to Life

Both online and in-person groups in the United Kingdom

Words of guidance

Read some words of inspiration and guidance on Healing Circles and the cancer journey from Michael Lerner, CancerChoices co-founder and author of Choices in Healing.

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Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher


Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Maria Williams

Research and Communications Consultant
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Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

Maria Williams Research and Communications Consultant

Last update: February 21, 2024

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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