Hello. My name is Dr. Lamia Barakat. I’m director of psychosocial services in oncology and a psychologist in the Children’s Cancer Center.
In Rachel’s posts, she’s introduced you to some of the members of our team (Brittany, her child life specialist, and Jamie, her hospital school teacher). I thought I’d chime in to give you more information about who we are and what we do to support children with cancer and their families.
The psychosocial team has social workers, child life specialists, and child activity coordinators, art and music therapists, hospital school teachers, and psychologists. We work with the medical team to help children and their families adapt to cancer and its treatment. Our job is to provide direct services, educational materials, and special programs. We support families in better understanding what to expect during cancer treatment, learning ways to use their resources, using positive coping, accessing their social supports, and keeping ‘normal’ routines and activities a person their age would usually keep (like playing and going to school).
Diagnosis of cancer in a child is one of the most difficult experiences a family can face. All families experience distress at the time of diagnosis and when treatment starts. The good news is that most families adapt well over time. Children and families respond differently to this experience based on the resources they have to help them through, other stresses they experienced before and during cancer treatment, and aspects of the cancer and its treatment.