1st Edition

Coping with Cancer DBT Skills to Manage Your Emotions--and Balance Uncertainty with Hope

    This compassionate book presents dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a proven psychological intervention that Marsha M. Linehan developed specifically for the impossible situations of life--and which she and Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz now apply to the unique challenges of cancer for the first time.

    *How can you face the fear, sadness, and anger without being paralyzed by them?
    *Is it possible to hold on to hope without being in denial?
    *How can you nurture supportive relationships when you have barely enough energy to take care of yourself?

    Learn powerful DBT skills that can help you make difficult treatment decisions, manage overwhelming emotions, speak up for your needs, and tolerate distress. The stories and collective wisdom of other cancer patients and survivors illustrate the coping skills and show how you can live meaningfully, even during the darkest days.

    1. Dealing with the News That You Have Cancer
    2. How to Make Effective Decisions
    3. How to Manage Strong Emotions
    4. Managing Fear, Anxiety, and Stress
    5. Managing Sadness
    6. Managing Anger
    7. Nurturing Personal Relationships
    8. Communicating with Colleagues and Medical Professionals
    9. Living Meaningfully


    Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, LCSW, a psychotherapist in private practice in Mamaroneck, New York, is a cancer survivor and a Zen student. After many years of involvement with services for people with cancer and their loved ones, she developed a program of coping skills based on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). She serves on the faculty of the Westchester Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

    Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, the developer of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Director Emeritus of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington. Her primary research interest is in the development and evaluation of evidence-based treatments for populations with high suicide risk and multiple, severe mental disorders. Dr. Linehan's contributions to suicide research and clinical psychology research have been recognized with numerous awards, including the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology and the Career/Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. She is also a recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Application of Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation and the James McKeen Cattell Award from the Association for Psychological Science. In her honor, the American Association of Suicidology created the Marsha Linehan Award for Outstanding Research in the Treatment of Suicidal Behavior. She is a Zen master.

    "I will always remember the exact moment I received my first diagnosis of breast cancer, as well as my second diagnosis 15 years later. Over the years, I have nourished myself emotionally and intellectually by reading books on the challenges of living with cancer. None has had a greater impact than Coping with Cancer. This book is a treasure trove of tools and skill sets that can be life changing as you navigate the road ahead. It is beautifully written in a personal, authentic, totally relatable voice. It holds a special place on my shelf--as I predict it will on yours!"--Debbie L., New York City

    "This book is absolutely fantastic--it will be so very impactful and helpful. I am thrilled to have this widely available."--William S. Breitbart, MD, Jimmie C. Holland Chair in Psychiatric Oncology; Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

    “In my 30-plus years as an oncology social worker, many books on living with cancer have crossed my desk. Books on this topic tend to be based on either personal experience or professional know-how; this guide is an excellent combination of the two and perfect to help you feel more in control and manage the uncertainty of living with a cancer diagnosis.”--Sara Goldberger, MSSW, ACSW, LCSW-R, cancer survivor and President, Association of Oncology Social Workers

    "I am deeply grateful to the authors for this respectful, compassionate, very practical guide. There was nothing like this book when my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1954, back when people would not even say 'the C-word.' In fact, there has been nothing like it until now! As the survivor of two aggressive cancers myself, I wish I had had this book when I was diagnosed. The authors provide a manageable, step-wise approach to coping with an individual and interpersonal disaster. They draw on knowledge from both DBT and psychoanalysis to produce a welcome, creative synthesis."--Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

    “As a DBT clinician and cancer survivor/fighter myself, I rely on the skills in this book to face my diagnosis, treatments, and uncertainties, and to continue engaging in my personal and professional life. This book is an invaluable resource for patients, loved ones, and support groups facing the emotional rollercoaster of a cancer diagnosis."--Seth Axelrod, PhD, Director of DBT Services and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Yale–New Haven Psychiatric Hospital

    "An important book for us all to read. It is practical, actionable, down to earth, and wise."--Rev. Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center, and author of Standing at the Edge-In this exceptionally well-written book, this expert duo conveys compassion, empathy and encouragement as they walk the reader through a host of different behavioral and introspective coping techniques. It reads like a step-by-step guide to the phases of coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and feeling effective in negotiating one's own needs. While DBT may be intimidating for some psycho-oncology clinicians because of the level of certification involved as well as the skills groups and supports inherent in formal DBT Programs, this book makes DBT approachable for clinicians and cancer patients alike….The first-person writing of this book conveys a warmth and ease that is inviting. It strikes the right note between being compassionate without being sentimental and direct without being judgmental. Furthermore, the book brings important DBT skills to life using authentic patient examples and affirmations that are balanced, genuine and transformational. This book and its skills are worth adding to your wheelhouse.--Association of Oncology Social Work, 10/20/2021ƒƒThe book gives wise guidance on how to reduce stress, make better decisions, protect important relationships, and increase overall well-being while fighting off the disease--all of which can support a better prognosis, too….This advice is useful for anyone going through difficult times, health-related or not. We could all be more mindful, offer ourselves more self-compassion, be better factcheckers, treat our support networks kindly, and search for meaning in life. The book, though geared to cancer survivors, really speaks to us all.--Greater Good Magazine, 5/21/2021