The Center For Attitudinal Healing

What services do you provide for people who are afffected by serious illness?

     We offer emotional and spiritual support for a variety of people and needs. Our basic modes of service are support groups and home and hospital visiting.

     The Children's Program has support groups for kids living with illness, for their family members, as well as a group for children who are grieving the death of a loved one. There are also separate support groups for parents or the child's care-givers. The Children's Program is the first program the Center started back in 1975. It was the first program of its kind in the world.

     There is a program for Young Adults that offers a support group for young people dealing with a life-threatening illness or catastrophic accident. There is also a group for their parents or care-giver.

     The Adult Program offers support groups for people dealing with life-threatening illness, as well as one for their family and loved ones. We offer a general group for people who are life- threatened, as well as groups that focus on specific areas, such as women with breast cancer, people with HIV or AIDS, women with HIV or AIDS, cardiac recovery, spousal bereavement, general bereavement, and chronic or long-term illness.

     The Home & Hospital Program trains and matches volunteers with people whose are immobilized or confined by a serious illness. Volunteers provide emotional and spiritual support to people on a "buddy" system basis.

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Are the Center support groups only for people who are living with illness?

     No. Many people come to the Center for general support, which we call Person-to-Person. This is for people who are not dealing with an illness, but are coping with life's general crises; perhaps divorce, a career change, a job loss, or a wish to raise their spiritual awareness.

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When do groups meet?

     See the "Weekly Support Group Schedule" web page for times and days of groups.

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How to enroll in a support group or arrange for a visitor?

     Anyone wishing to enroll in a support group must contact the Intake Office first at 415-331-6161, extension 106.

     Anyone wishing to arrange for a home or hospital visit can do so by contacting Cheryl Shohan at 415-331-6161, extension 102.

     People considering using our support programs or in volunteering can find out more about the Center by attending the weekly Orientation Meeting every Tuesday at noon. They are also welcome to attend our "Fourth Friday" events, held monthly. Call the Center for exact dates. Times are from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

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What do services cost?

     All direct service are provided free of charge.

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What ages do you serve?

     We serve all ages of people from 6 years old to 106 and older.

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Do you offer individual counseling or therapy?

     Counseling is offered to group participants on a limited basis, through supervised interns. However, it is important to understand that, with this one exception, our direct services program is not therapy or counseling. The Center utilizes a peer support process.

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Are there any other Centers besides your center in Sausalito?

     Yes. There are 4 centers in and around the San FranciscoBay Area, and another approximately 113 around the world. They are all independent agencies. Check the Listing of Attitudinal Healing Centers and Programs Around the World for names and addresses.

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About Attitudinal Healing:
What is Attitudinal Healing?

     Attitudinal Healing integrates practical spiritual principles into a psychological format. These principles introduce the dynamic of choice into the psychological process, and offers people the opportunity to step through the fear, conflict or separation they are feeling, and often recycling, and make a choice to experience peace instead of conflict and love instead of fear, even in the face of extreme difficulty. Attitudinal Healing regards our primary identity as spiritual, and affirms that each individual possesses a quality of being or inner nature that is essentially loving, and this loving nature is shared by all human beings. It views love as the most important healing force in the world.

     Attitudinal Healing defines health as inner peace and healing as a process of letting go of fear. It asserts that we can learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging. It further states that it is not people or circumstances outside ourselves that cause us conflict or distress, but rather our own thoughts, feelings and attitudes about people and events. By exploring these thoughts, feelings and attitudes we can eventually heal them.

     Attitudinal Healing views the purpose of all communication as joining, not separation and regards happiness itself as a choice. Each instant is seen as an opportunity to reexamine our lives and to choose again what it is we want to experience.

See the Principle of Attitudinal Healing on the Home Page.

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What do you mean by forgiveness?

     Forgiveness is a process of letting go of our attachment to the past. By letting go of our grievances we are no longer bound by the painful past, and are freed to experience genuine happiness and inner peace. It doesn't mean that we condone actions that are hurtful or harmful, but rather that we focus on our own internal response to those actions, with a willingness to see differently, with peace of mind as our only goal. It is a recognition that when we forgive ourselves and others, we open the door to our own inner peace.

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Is it religious?

     No. Attitudinal Healing has been described by Dr. Jampolsky as a "practical spirituality". It is non-dogmatic and does not conflict with any spiritual or religious orientation, including atheism.

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Is Attitudinal Healing a New Age sort of thing?

     No. The principles that embody Attitudinal Healing have been around for centuries, in many different cultures. These basic ideas are a part of all spiritual practices. They are universal truths. At the Center, our approach is quite simple. We pursue the singular goal of peace of mind.

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Can Attitudinal Healing heal my body?

     The Center makes no claims in this regard. There is evidence that seriously ill people fair better when they attend support groups and are part of a spiritual community, and we offer that information in describing our work. However, we are quite clear in stating that what we offer is an approach to healing our hearts and our minds.

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About Support Groups:
What is a support group?

     The support group is a usually composed of 7 to 12 people, all of whom face a similar life challenge. Specific guidelines serve to build psychological safety in this non-confrontive atmosphere. The group provides participants opportunities for self exploration. It affords people the chance to support one another in a very dynamic learning process. In using or failing to use the principles that guide the group process participants learn to distinguish between the kind of support that is helpful and the kind that is not. They come to see that judging others, condemning mistakes, rushing in with advice, failing to listen with empathy, interpreting, are not helpful, and that this is true not only in their relationship with others, but also in the way they relate to themselves. In the groups people learn to value unconditional love and support for the difference it can make in their lives.

     There is a synergy at work in an Attitudinal Healing support group. As one person works through and releases painful feelings and attitudes, others in the group with similar issues can experience release in turn. One person's breakthrough can inspire hope in another person. The presence of a peaceful heart in one who has lived with illness or other challenges longer than another can be the spark that leads the other to healing their fear. As the group develops and progresses, participants experience a deep sense of joining. They develop into a powerful source of support as a function of their own giving and receiving, and they come to see that they make a lasting difference in each other's lives.

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Who facilitates the support groups?

     Our model of service is peer support. We use trained volunteers to facilitate support groups, and the experience generated in the support group comes from everyone who participates. We have a deep respect for the power and strength of ordinary people coming together to support one another. The role of our volunteer facilitators (all of whom complete a process that involves more than 100 hours of training) is to help facilitate an attitudinal climate of unconditional love and support.

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If I can't attend because I am home or hospital bound because of my illness, is there a program to help me?

     Yes. As we mentioned before, The Home and Hospital Visiting Service will send a trained volunteer to visit you. To enroll in this program call Cheryl Shohan at 415-331-6161 extension 102. This service is also free of charge.

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Are all your direct services really free?


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How did the Center start and why?

     In 1975, there was virtually no emotional support systems for people affected by catastrophic illness. Most Americans were no longer living in extended family situations and rarely died at home, as they had a generation before. Instead, illness and dying was largely relegated to hospital rooms where the medical problem was the only focus. In this setting, the emotional experience was often one of fear and painful isolation, with few opportunities for people to open to a deeper experience.

     In 1975, while making rounds on a pediatric oncology ward, Dr. Jerry Jampolsky overheard an 8 year-old boy ask his doctor "What is it like to die?". The doctor ignored the question and changed the subject. Jerry wrote:

"I think the physician was fearful of addressing the question. When I investigated this further, I discovered that changing the subject was not an uncommon response to these questions. I discovered that children usually look for someone they can trust who will give them honest replies to these questions. On this particular ward, this turned out to be the cleaning woman. The kids seemed to know they would get honest, direct answers from her. I began to wonder generally where kids could go to talk about such serious things as death and found that there was no safe place where they could talk.
     So, Jerry founded The Center to create a safe place where kids with cancer could talk. With the help of two volunteers, Jerry started the first support group. Even though Jerry is a psychiatrist, in group everyone was regarded as equal -- kids, volunteers and Jerry alike. The cleaning woman demonstrated to Jerry that an approach to emotional and spiritual support didn't necessarily require an expert. This ordinary woman showed that the presence of such simple qualities as honesty and kindness were powerfully therapeutic.

     Today, the Center offers support not only to children but to people of all ages. Nearly 300 people are served every week. All services are still provided by ordinary volunteers, not experts, just as it was in that very first group with children. The chief requirement for volunteering is a willingness to be unconditionally loving, to listen non-judgmentally, and to be genuine. Certainly, professionals do volunteer at the Center but they leave their titles at the door.

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Who is Jerry Jampolsky?

About Jerry Jampolsky:
     Jerry is an adult and child psychiatrist. He is a graduate of Stanford University Medical School, and in 1975 he helped to found the Center for Attitudinal Healing to create a safe place for children with cancer to talk about illness and dying. He developed the Principles of Attitudinal Healing, which integrate spiritual principles into a psychological process.

     Jerry is also the author and co-author with Diane Cirincione of a number books. Jerry's best known book is Love is Letting Go of Fear. It was an international bestseller and is considered a classic in its field.

     You can access the welcome from Jerry Jampolsky and Diane Cirincione on the Home Page.

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I would like to order Jerry and Diane's books and tapes, how can I get info on this?

     Simply access the Bookstore item on the Home Page to find out more.

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What do you offer, when and where, and how much does it cost?

About Trainings & Workshops:
     There is a section on the Home Page entitled "Workshops, Training and Consulting" which give a description of our residential workshops and their cost. It will also tell you about our International Training and Consulting Service that travels, conducting workshops all over the world. Contact Marilyn Robinson extension 109 for more information.

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Do I have to take the training to volunteer?

     Yes. You must attend a Volunteer Training, which cost $125.

The Volunteer Training provides opportunities for trainees to

  • deepen their understanding and personal experience of attitudinal healing
  • learn about the Center, the programs and volunteer opportunities
  • meet some of the Center staff and learn from their experience
  • practice emotional support and communication skills
  • work with beliefs and feelings about grief, illness and death
  • learn how to serve others in a way that makes a difference
     If you want to enroll, call our Volunteer Director, Jennifer Andrews at 415-331-6161, extension 101.

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When are Volunteer Trainings offered?

     There is a section on the Home Page entitled Calendar of Events which give list the dates of the training series for 1997.

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Do you have an internship program? Who do I talk to?

     Yes, there are a limited number of slots that open up every year for MFCC graduates. Contact Valerie Henderson at 415-331-6161 extension 104.

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Are you hiring anybody at the moment?

     No, not at present and not in the near future.

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How are you funded, since you don't charge for services?

     In 1996, financial support for the Center's $695,455 budget came from private contributions (62%), income generating activities like workshops and special events (20%), and grants (18%). Primarily, individual contributions are what support the Center and most of these come through our Membership Program.

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How do I become a member?

     access the Membership item on the Home Page.

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About the well-known AIDS Poster, is it still available?

     Call the Center at 415-331-6161 and leave your request in our general voice mailbox or E-mail us. at CAH@WELL.COM.
A Link to an online version
The suggested donation is $5.

Do you still have the Pen Pal Program?


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How can I get principles cards?

About the Principles Cards:
     Call the Center at 415-331-6161 and leave your request in our general voice mailbox or E-mail us at CAH@WELL.COM

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Can you send me the Information Packet?

     Call the Center at 415-331-6161 and leave your request in our general voice mailbox or E-mail us at CAH@WELL.COM

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Can you send someone I know a packet?

     It is best for the person to call us directly.

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The Center For Attitudinal Healing
33 Buchanan Drive, Sausalito, California 94965
(415)331-6161, FAX (415)331-4545

Copyright 1996 by The Center For Attitudinal Healing and WebWare Corporation