Ellen's Well is committed to providing the highest level of psychosocial support to its clients through crisis intervention counseling, group support, long-term counseling referral if an individual's needs go beyond the parameters of group counseling, and specially designed programs that support, and enhance, wellness.
Ellen's Well was established in 2000 with the vision that women can survive breast cancer, and they can thrive. Funded by The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Ellen's Well's mission is to address the immediate needs and life issues that are created by a diagnosis of, and treatment for, breast and gynecologic cancers. Included in these issues are the anxiety of living with a life threatening disease, the effect of breast cancer on personal relationships within the family and the workplace, on self-esteem, on one's sense of control.
At the heart of Ellen's Well are the breast cancer support groups. These groups are facilitated Edyle O'Brien, LCSW, an oncolcogial social worker with over 20 years of experience helping people cope with life stressors in a variety of settings including hospitals, hospice, community agencies and professional business establishments. Her understanding of the body-mind connection and interest in energy medicine and mindfulness guides the therapeutic process in her interaction with people seeking to engage more fully and meaningfully with their environment.
edylecsw [at] optonline.net
A diagnosis of cancer is traumatic and can generate a personal and family crisis. We established Ellen's Well to assist individuals affected by a breast cancer diagnosis in an effort to help them negotiate the health care system, make informed decisions about their treatment, and adjust physically, emotionally, and mentally to the diagnosis, treatment and life post-treatment.
The purpose of Ellen's Well is to provide psychosocial counseling to breast cancer patients and survivors, spouses, children and family members through support groups and, when necessary, short-term individual therapy. All services provided through Ellen's Well are free of charge.
The choice to participate in a support group is powerful and proactive offering the participant the opportunity to both give and receive support and build a robust and connected community. Just being with others who are meeting similar challenges can be deeply healing! Research indicates that group therapy does more than improve coping skills and quality of life, and that an unexpected benefit of group therapy may be to extend the lifespan. Being heard, understood, and validated by one's peers is extremely good medicine.
Ellen's Well sponsors three different support groups: newly diagnosed, metastatic and wellness. Other groups for spouses and children are formed on a need basis.
The Newly Diagnosed group includes individuals who have recently been diagnosed, who are in the midst of treatment and who have completed treatment.
Those coming to the group for the first time are warmly welcomed and offered the best support one can receive – non-judgmental, kind, caring and compassionate listening.
Being thrust into the unfamiliar world of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and adjuvant treatment is enough to overwhelm and challenge the most accomplished person. Being part of a support group has enabled our group members to discover their own internal resources: strength, courage, and a strong desire to survive and thrive. With the help of the group, individual members are often empowered to make life changes that allow them to live rich, full, more powerful and meaningful lives.
The Metastatic Group serves those coping with recurrence/metastasis and provides a safe environment where they can freely share their challenges, dreams, stories and fears. The bonds of friendship are powerful, moving and inspiring. There are the inevitable tears and the expression of difficult feelings. But we don't end a group with tears. We honor the feelings and then find the laughter and gratitude for all that is right and good in this moment.
Because the stress of dealing with cancer is ongoing and long-term, Ellen's Well offers a Wellness group where the focus is on "feeling good". The foundation for this group is the practice of mindfulness and body-centered awareness. The format is flexible and cues are taken from the needs of individuals at the time. The group consists of gentle movement, breath work, meditation, imagery/visualization, discussions about nutrition and, of course, a healthy dose of laughter.
All groups meet weekly for as long as there is a need. Ellen's Well is a sanctuary where people come to heal physically, emotionally and mentally, and to revive, restore and rejuvenate their spirits.
"When I finally asked for help in navigating my journey through breast cancer, I reached very caring and compassionate people at the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center."
"The experiences, strength and hope shared in these meetings have bolstered my own resolve to fight and love my way through this battle with breast cancer."
"Even for those of us who are "survivors".... The journey for each of us... is in stages... and it has been so healing to continue AFTER our initial journey of dealing with the disease."
"Edyle is amazing... gentle, guiding, trusting, nurturing... allowing us each to reveal and empty the pains...and to heal, grow beyond our experiences and bond with one another... She has taught us the PRIVILEGE of sharing with one another with enormous respect and kindness."
"Thank you for your guidance and support throughout my cancer journey. I appreciate so much that your organization exists."
"Wednesday is still my "doctor day", but it will be less so at the end of February when my hercepton treatments end."
Ellen's Well also sponsors programs that are designed to sustain, nurture and comfort women and their families on their journey through breast cancer with the understanding that this journey does not end because treatment is over.
Ellen's Well provides a unique service within the East End Community and fills a void. But Ellen's Well does not exist in a vacuum and is proud to collaborate with The Coalition for Women's Cancers, The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital, and Lucia's Angels.