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Let’s Talk About It: The Benefits of Counseling During Your Cancer Journey

Ackerman Cancer Center

May 19, 2023





Shelby Goodman, MSW, RCSWI, Oncology Social Worker

A cancer diagnosis can be challenging for patients and everyone involved in their care. As a patient at Ackerman Cancer Center, we provide many different tools that will help you throughout your cancer care. Our hope is that our counseling services and support groups will be a nurturing aspect leading to a more positive experience when dealing with a cancer diagnosis for both our patients and their caregivers.

Our counseling services are here to help you better understand your feelings and reactions surrounding you and your care.

Our social work team will teach you coping skills and how to best use them when you start to feel anxious, sad, frustrated, and overwhelmed.

One of the most common skills that we teach is a grounding method known as the 5-4-3-2-1 Technique. “Grounding” is a coping strategy that connects patients and caregivers with the present moment.

Here is a brief overview of what the 5-4-3-2-1 Technique is and how you can incorporate it during your treatment journey.

The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique is comprised of five steps, which can be repeated as necessary to help ground you in the present moment.

Step 1: Look For 5 Things You Can See
Step 2: Become Aware of 4 Things You Can Touch
Step 3: Acknowledge 3 Things You Can Hear
Step 4: Notice 2 Things You Can Smell
Step 5: Become Aware of 1 Thing You Can Taste

During each of these steps, it is important to remember to breathe. After the final step, our goal is for you to feel more at ease and connected to the present moment, rather than feeling overwhelmed with things to come.

Another technique we recommend is called “Earthing”, which is another form of grounding. Simply put, Earthing is reconnecting your body with the Earth’s natural surface. The two most basic forms of Earthing are:

  • Indoors: utilizing inexpensive tools such as a conductive mat or body band
  • Outdoors: spending time barefoot and connecting with natural surfaces

As mentioned above, counseling is also beneficial for caregivers of patients with cancer.

Counseling provides a caregiver a place to communicate their thoughts and fears, and learn how to support the patient throughout their diagnosis. Learning that a family member or friend has cancer can be extremely difficult to deal with and may bring on feelings of fear and anxiety. Meeting with our social work team allows for caregivers to express these feelings, enabling self-care when caring for another person.

Counseling Services
Whether you were recently diagnosed with cancer, are receiving treatment, or are finished with treatment, we know that a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and you may benefit from speaking in a confidential and safe space to express your feelings. Our social work team offers up to six sessions of counseling per patient to discuss your cancer care.

Our Support Services
Ackerman Cancer Center offers an array of support services for patients and caregivers. These support groups were created by our social work team with the intention of helping our patients and community to have a safe space, which allows for them to share experiences and provide help to one another. The following programs and counseling services are provided as educational and emotional support to those living with cancer, as well as their families and caregivers.

The BEAM (Bravely Educating and Mentoring) Team is comprised of our cancer survivors who have made themselves available to talk with patients who are currently going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Whether you have questions about your treatment or have a family member with cancer, our BEAM Team members are available to connect with you.

Men Helping Men – Prostate Cancer Support
Men Helping Men is our educational program that empowers men to make informed decisions throughout their prostate cancer journey. This group meets the third Monday of every month at our Mandarin location, and includes a presentation from a guest speaker that is focused on various topics pertaining to prostate cancer.

SHINE – Breast Cancer Support
SHINE (Supporting Her in Every Way) is our interactive breast cancer support group that provides an uplifting environment to encourage meaningful and helpful conversation, education, and activities. SHINE meets the third Tuesday of every month at our Mandarin location and is open to everyone in the breast cancer community.

Heading Forward- SPOHNC – Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Support
Heading Forward is a chapter of SPOHNC (Support for People with Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer), a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and support for head and neck cancer patients and their families, that meets the second Wednesday of every month at our Mandarin location.

Get to Know Shelby Goodman
Shelby Goodman is a Certified Oncology Social Worker at Ackerman Cancer Center. Shelby received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work from the University of North Florida, and chose social work because it allows for her to connect and advocate for individuals who may not be able to advocate for themselves. Her goal while working at Ackerman Cancer Center is to offer comprehensive care and assist with any hardships and hurdles that our patients may face throughout their cancer care.

We’re Here to Help
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be hard to process. With Ackerman Cancer Center’s support groups and counseling services, patients and caregivers have the opportunity to process what they are experiencing and learn how to best support each other.

To learn more about Ackerman Cancer Center and the support services we provide, please email Shelby and our social work team at or call (904) 880-5522 and ask for the social work team.



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