Counseling & Support: Individual & Family Counseling

Pictured: William Breitbart Psychiatry Service Chief, William Breitbart (left), and other experts in our counseling center help people with cancer and their families manage the emotional issues that arise during treatment.

Patients and their families react to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in a variety of ways. It is normal to feel worried, sad, angry, anxious, or isolated when affected by a serious illness. You might also have feelings of loss — of your health or of control in your life.

The emotions related to cancer can vary from person to person and from one day to the next. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we provide counseling services to help you cope with the range of feelings you, and the people close to you, may experience.

Individual, Couples, and Family Counseling

Psychiatrists and psychologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Counseling Center are experienced in structuring sessions to meet your specific needs. We work with individuals and families, in addition to offering group sessions for people who might benefit from interacting with others in similar circumstances.

Topics in our specialized clinics include parenting guidance, sexual health therapies for men and women, help for caregivers and families, and bereavement support.

In one-on-one sessions, our experts can help you with many issues, including:

  • diagnosing and treating the psychiatric complications of cancer and treatments
  • easing distress and coping with side effects, such as insomnia, fatigue, and pain
  • managing psychiatric drug therapies
  • understanding yourself and your reactions better through cognitive behavioral therapy

In some cases, our psychiatrists and psychologists refer people to mental health specialists outside Memorial Sloan Kettering for long-term counseling. They also work closely with our Pain and Palliative Care Service and Integrative Medicine Service to help people manage pain, stress, and related concerns.

The experts at our Counseling Center welcome all cancer patients, regardless of whether you are receiving care at Memorial Sloan Kettering or at another institution.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call the Memorial Sloan Kettering Counseling Center at 646-888-0100.

Social Work Support

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, social workers play an important role in providing emotional support and guidance to people with cancer, as well as, friends, families, and caregivers. Social workers are assigned to each patient floor of Memorial Hospital, and are also present at our regional facilities.

They run many of our in-person and online support groups, oversee aspects of our 65+ program that coordinates the care of our older cancer patients, manage our bereavement program designed to help people who have lost a loved one to cancer, and also oversee elements of survivorship initiatives that occur through our Resources for Life After Cancer program.

Social workers can help you with practical and logistical issues such as transportation problems and financial concerns, and in dealing with the impact of cancer treatment on your work.

To speak with a social worker, please ask your Memorial Sloan Kettering doctor or nurse, or call the Department of Social Work directly at 212-639-7020.