Mindfulness programs

The Cancer Counselling Service provides a range of emotional support options, including our mindfulness programs. These programs are run by psychologists and nurse counsellors who are trained in the delivery of mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is both a process and a way of life. It is about paying attention to the moments in our lives in a particular way.

Mindfulness training allows us:

  • The opportunity to strengthen our ability to be in the present moment.
  • To learn about mindful awareness and how to meditate.
  • To get to know ourselves and our habits of reacting to the world around us.

Mindfulness has been shown to assist some people to better manage anxiety, stress and depression and also benefit many different areas of our lives. Through learning how to be mindful, we offer ourselves the opportunity to live in a way that is more fulfilling.

You can learn more about mindfulness training provided by Cancer Council Queensland with this brief introductory video:

Mindfulness and cancer

Coping with cancer is demanding, both for your body and your mind. At times you may find yourself so caught up in worries that it is hard to think about anything else.

Mindfulness can be particularly useful as a way to manage the demands of cancer and the associated uncertainty. It offers the opportunity to learn alternative ways of coping with the challenges (both physical and emotional) of a cancer diagnosis, so that you may be more able to be present in your life, rather than consumed with the difficulties.

Try this brief exercise: The 3 Minute breathing space. It can help you to slow down and pause at any time during your day.

Mindfulness programs

We offer two types of mindfulness programs: introduction workshops and eight week group programs.

Introduction to Mindfulness Workshop

This four hour workshop is designed as an introduction to mindfulness for people facing cancer related challenges. Participants are able to explore how mindfulness meditation can, with practice, help them become more aware of patterns of thinking and reacting and learn ways to let go of worry about the future or the past. Being aware of these automatic patterns can give people the choice to let go and be more present in the moments of their day, even when life is challenging.

Mindfulness is not something you can learn by talking or reading about it, and participants will be introduced to a variety of practices that will allow them to experience how much they miss by not being present.

This program is designed for anyone living with a cancer diagnosis, their partners, family and caregivers.

Mindfulness 8-week groups

These 8-week mindfulness meditation groups are offered face-to-face or as a telephone group, for people who would like to learn new skills for managing difficult cancer related emotions. The groups are open to anyone affected by cancer – including patients and caregivers – at any stage after diagnosis.

This intensive program builds on Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, and integrates cognitive-behavioural therapy with an eastern meditation approach to increase awareness and acceptance of difficult thoughts and feelings.

Through the discipline of their own mindfulness meditation practice and guided group discussion, group participants learn to:

  • Focus and calm the mind.
  • Ground attention and awareness in the present moment.
  • Have more choice about how they respond to life’s challenges.

Face to face groups meets for 2-2.5 hours once a week over the eight week period, with a maximum of 12 participants.

Telephone groups are connected through a teleconference coordinated by Cancer Council Queensland. These sessions run for 90 minutes once a week over the 8 week period, with a maximum of 8 participants.

Participants in both groups are expected to commit to a daily meditation practice for the duration of the program.

The nature of this program means, like any psychological therapy, it may not be helpful or the right fit for everyone. Because of this, if you are interested in attending one of our groups we would like to talk with you further.

While there are no fees for our services, we are funded by the generosity of Queenslanders. Donations are gratefully accepted.