Are you a clinician that needs some advice on how to better support and treat a patient of yours that struggles with cancer? Do you experience compassion fatigue? How does one combat it?
In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks about working with cancer patients with Rev. Percy McCray.
Meet Percy McCray
Percy W. McCray Jr. is currently the National Director of Faith-based Programs in the Corporate offices of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Boca Raton, FL since 2015. He was previously Director of Pastoral Care Services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Chicago since 1996. As a fully ordained minister, he is a member of the United States Chaplain Association (USCA), three times honored as one of Chicago’s “Most Influential African Americans by the “People Voice” newspaper, one time-honored as one of Chicagoland ‘Most beloved Pastors’ by the Chicago Defender newspaper.
He has traveled extensively as an Inspirational speaker and seminar facilitator to churches and pastors across the country equipping faith communities to establish Healthcare ministries with the “Our Journey of Hope” Cancer Care Leadership program, training over 1,400 churches worldwide. He also hosts the popular award-winning podcast “Health, Hope, and Inspiration” with 180,000 subscribers., while managing the Our Journey of Hope “Leaders Network” with a membership of 30,000 faith and community leaders worldwide.
In This Podcast
- Integrating science and medicine with faith
- Addressing doubt with cancer patients
- Journey of Hope
- Advice to therapists for their wellbeing
Integrating science and medicine with faith
Historically, people of faith have felt conflicted in medical systems. Rev. McCray speaks about letting people of faith in hospitals know that God is also a healer and that God wants to promote healing and wellbeing.
By that same token, through the gifts of science and medicine humanity can work to continue to promote healing. In viewing science and medicine as gifts from God and that they work in collaboration with faith, people of faith may feel more at ease when being treated and do not have to feel that they must choose between the two.
The key here is to create a union and marriage and balance between two disciplines, and helping both parties to understand that when they work together collectively on the best interest of the patient or the person, we give them an optimal opportunity to achieve the goal of wellness and wellbeing.
There is a shift happening in the medical world where there is more of a collaborative effort between science, medicine, and faith to create more holistic care.
Addressing doubt with cancer patients
The benefits of creating rapport relationships between clinicians and patients is that a safe space is created wherein a person can sit and talk, being open and transparent, without fear of being judged. Part of good counseling is to create this space where people can express their feelings without being judged or have their faith doubted.
I believe that it is erroneous to facilitate a conversation with someone that leaves them in a place that, because they are feeling doubtful or fearful, that they are then not a man or woman of faith and that God is not working with them. I think that is one of the biggest misnomers that has been prescribed by some faith camps that we need to counter-balance and revisit.
People that have been diagnosed with cancer need time, support, and patience to help them process the emotions and the new reality without any further mental hurdles and without any judgment.
Consultants do not need to directly provide answers in these spaces, but to simply provide the space itself for patients talk through their emotions because that in itself is cathartic.
Our Journey of Hope
Our Journey of Hope is an organization that helps spiritual leaders and churches learn how to assist their people who struggle with cancer personally or within their family.
Our Journey of Hope is really designed to provide local churches and spiritual leaders with practical resources and information and insights that will allow them to go back into their local church and begin to develop a cancer ministry.
This helps not only the church itself but also the local community that it is situated in.
Cancer is a community disease, it is not an individual sport. So the cancer patient may be initially impacted but the family, their loved ones, their children, everyone that’s connected to a cancer patients has some sort of impact from that, that they need to be unpacking or dealing with because that is the trauma effect.
Therefore, having these counseling resources available to the local community is vital, because everyone in the community can benefit from it.
Advice to therapists for their wellbeing
Compassion fatigue is a real issue, and many counselors and family members who support people with cancer can suffer from it. Therapists and counselors, for their own wellbeing, are advised to:
- Establish a relationship with someone outside of work with who you can speak in order to release some of the emotional tension of the situation. They may not even need to provide you with answers, just that cathartic space and a shoulder to lean on should you require it.
- As a ‘professional caregiver’, if you are someone who wears work attire or a lab coat for example when you get home after work immediately take off your work clothes and put on fresh clothes for your home so that you can get yourself out of a work frame of mind into a new home-headspace where you can relax. This physical act may help you mentally shift out of that work frame of mind so that you do not bring work troubles or stresses home with you.
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Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
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