Cancer Survivor Responses to Socratic Dialogue: An Explorative Study of the Experiences with Participation in an Innovative Intervention
Objective: This article is based on an anonymous, open-ended written questionnaire of cancer survivors. Prior to answering the questionnaire, these survivors participated in a Socratic Dialogue Group (SDG) that philosophically addressed the fundamental life questions triggered by their cancer experience. The responses aim to cast light on whether SDG is suitable and beneficial for cancer survivors. Methods: The study is based on two similar interventions: a pilot project from 2008-2010 and a research project from 2012-2015 involving a total of 50 participants divided into 9 SDGs. The projects included a questionnaire filled out by 26 out of 50 rehabilitating cancer patients aged 36 to 72 who had just completed participation in a SDG. The questionnaire consisted of seven questions. The seven questions were identical in the two projects. The projects were carried out at the Center for Cancer and Health in Copenhagen, Denmark. Results: All participants responded favorably to SDG as a way to philosophically address life questions. It was found both suitable for cancer survivors and beneficial for the process of returning to an everyday life. Participants found the particular thought process joyful, enriching and existentially sharpening their awareness in terms of life orientation post cancer. The study suggests a novel theoretical approach to cancer survivor care. Conclusion: Responses from the questionnaire illuminate the relevance of a philosophical approach to cancer care by implementing a method of Socratic dialogue among survivors.
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