Presentations For Cancer Care Professionals

Click on the titles below to learn about some of the presentations that Mike has developed specifically for health care professionals.

The one-way mirror has been a well-used educational training tool for many years. Video has become another useful iteration of the one-way mirror and can complement ‘how-to’ manuals and textbooks by providing an objective ‘window to another world’ for cancer care professionals and trainees. With the technologies and techniques of video editing now readily available to people of any skill level, this medium and has great potential as an educational tool within Psychosocial Oncology and healthcare in general.

This interactive workshop, which has been presented in both a clinical and academic setting, will include a) a brief history and overview of the impact of video on healthcare and contemporary society, b) a discussion of the theoretical, ethical and therapeutic implications of filming a patient story, c) how video can be used as an educational tool to develop emotional intelligence and clinical interviewing skills d) and a live, interactive video editing session demonstrating these ideas and techniques. An engaging and creative environment will be formed through the diverse insights of a psycho-oncology researcher specializing in video emotion coding and an internationally recognized, but relatively new, cancer survivor and documentary film producer.

A cancer diagnosis is not a solitary experience; it profoundly affects everyone in the wider network of family and friends. How do you maintain healthy relationships with your community in such a difficult time? Combining personal stories with key research findings, Mike and Bonnie will explore the cancer journey from both the survivor and caregiver perspective. Cancer care professionals will gain a candid insight into the needs and challenges of survivors and caregivers as well as learn practical tips to help their patients grow and maintain healthy relationships.

The literature shows that the most prevalent psychosocial issue facing young adult cancer survivors is feelings of isolation and social constraint. It has also been shown that cancer survivors who disclose emotionally meaningful stories gain psychological benefits. Using the short film Ebb & Flow: Storytelling for Cancer Survivors as the basis for the discussion, this presentation will look at storytelling as an intervention to both decrease isolation and social constraint and increase post-traumatic growth in young adult cancer survivors. Building off the stories in the film, the underpinnings of social constraint in this demographic and the benefit of knowing how to tell your story will be explored from a young adult survivors perspective. This presentation will also focus on practical ways to facilitate supportive group-based interventions with the young adult demographic using a simple “5 Phase” story structure paradigm.

The strong biomedical focus of Western Medicine over the past 100 years has slowly degraded the awareness of the interpersonal aspects of health care, aspects which are now being found to have a strong and direct link to outcomes. Recently, there is a trend to re-personalize health care with concepts such as Person-Centred Care or Whole-Person Care gaining momentum across the health care landscape. This presentation will give a brief overview of the research literature that is driving this change in thinking as well as provide attendees with a candid insight into the lives of young adults with cancer through Mike’s personal story and the stories of the other young adults in the film “Wrong Way to Hope”. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the struggles and challenges that their patients face outside of the treatment room as well as a renewed passion for the concept of patient-centred care and the part that they can play in the development of health care systems and services that enhance everyone’s health, both patient and professional.

In this presentation Mike will deconstruct the Reflect, Refocus, Rebuild, model of psychosocial cancer recovery that he has developed over the past 5 years facilitating adventure therapy trips with 114 young adult cancer survivors and supporters. He will give examples of specific experiential education activities and discussion topics that can be useful for exploring the idea of living with, through and beyond cancer while in an wilderness environment. Finally, two case studies with be presented describing how combining adventure activities with experiential education, in-depth reflection and a structured refocusing and rebuilding process can lead to profound life change in young adults with cancer.

AYA cancer care professionals will leave with new ideas about how to facilitate post-traumatic growth in young adults with cancer in an informal way. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of the theory behind adventure therapy leading to a clearer picture about how and why adventure actives can lead to positive life change in young adult cancer survivors.

Many people believe that the adventure activity itself is what causes positive life change in young adults with cancer. However, the adventure activity itself is primarily a tool to help develop an close, supportive community in a very short timeframe so that the deeper levels of sharing that lead to post-traumatic growth can occur. Therefore, the facilitation of the adventure activity, and not the activity itself, is the most important aspect of an adventure therapy experience.

Using film clips from the ground breaking film Wrong Way to Hope: An Inspiring Story of Young Adults and Cancer, and highlights from the latest research literature, Mike and Bonnie share candid insights about what the lived experience of young adults with cancer. Cancer care professionals will leave with a greater understanding of the challenges their younger patients face outside of the treatment room.

Over the past 20 years the trajectory of a person diagnosed with cancer has been explored in depth with many supportive care programs being developed and tailored to meet the needs of this population. However, recent literature highlights high levels of distress and unmet needs in the “caregivers” or “supporters” of those with cancer as well those who are diagnosed. The engaging documentary webseries Valleys, was created to help survivors and their caregivers understand the challenges that they each face with the ultimate goal of promoting open and honest communication and strengthening relationships. Using an overview of recent research literature and three episodes from Valleys as a case study, this presentation will explore the cancer journey from the caregivers perspective. Survivors and cancer care professionals will gain a candid insight into the needs and challenges of cancer caregivers and everyone will learn practical tips and tools to grow and maintain healthy relationships throughout a cancer experience.