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Cancer, Sport Psychology And Mental Toughness

Posted by: Dr. Granat on March 26, 2018

     Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.

Psychotherapist, Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Author


 My lovely wife, best friend and soul mate, was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor about three months ago.

       After her biopsy, she could barely talk or walk.

To help Robin fight this challenging fight, I tried to mobilize all of the  tools and techniques that I have used with athletes during my years in practice.

Robin was a competitive figure skater as a kid and resumed competing about two years after being off the ice for many years.  She loves the music, the dance, the choreography and the exhilarating feeling that comes with gliding, spinning and jumping at a quick rate of speed.

Robin also loves taking lessons, trying to improve and she has a network of skating pals who are an important component of her social support network.  They have been instrumental in her improvement and we are both very grateful for their love and support.

Robin and I are both strong and independent personalities, but cancer creates so many challenges that are hard to manage in isolation.

Let me be clear, Robin has done the bulk of the psychological work to get herself back on the ice.

As her spouse and caretaker, I wanted to be as supportive as possible.  She is the warrior I am a coach, spouse and helper.

Robin is still not quite herself.  There are many things that she cannot manage thus far.  That does not mean she won't get stronger and healthier going forward.

In helping Robin with her rehabilitation, we have used visualization, hypnosis and old fashion, supportive pep talks. We have added in some hugs which sometimes are shared along with tears.

I kept reminding Robin of all the joy that her skating brings to her, to her family, her skating friends and to the thousands of people who are now enjoying some of these videos.  We created these clips to inspire other cancer warriors. Notice, I do not call them cancer patients.

During the course of helping Robin to feel better,  I  reminded her and myself  of one of  John Wooden's quotes:  "Never let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do."

This is useful advice for many of us.

Here is her latest video:  Watch it if you like and remember this basic sports psychology idea:  "Your body believes what your mind tells it.¬if_id=1521761109780093¬if_t=feed_comment

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