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Together Against Cancer, a workshop for cancer patients, spouses and partners, is offered several times a year at Moores Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute. The workshop is based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy and her book, Hold Me Tight. Through presentations, videos of real life couples and therapist assisted couples’ exercises, couples will learn the underlying causes of conflict and feelings of loneliness that dominate their relationship. Their and their partner’s behaviors will begin to make sense as couples listen to the presentation and explore their own relationship. Couples will learn to listen and be there for each other and in the process strengthen their relationship. Additionally, in Together Against Cancer workshops, special attention will be given to the impact of a cancer diagnosis on a couple and how that diagnosis and the accompanying fears shift the relationship and the partners into new patterns of relating. Couples will learn how to prevent cancer from hijacking their relationship and how to build closeness, comfort, support, connection and trust. The quality of your relationship does matter when you face cancer.

There are two different Together Against Cancer workshops. One Together Against Cancer Workshop meets once for four hours. In this workshop, couples explore the impact of cancer on their relationship, begin to talk about the issues they have been unable to discuss and learn the importance of a secure and connected relationship to the well being of the cancer patient. The second Together Against Cancer – Hold Me Tight Workshop meets for 2 hours a night, 2 nights a week for 4 weeks. In this workshop, couples complete all the material in the 4 hour Together Against Cancer workshop and learn to understand their triggers, to make repairs and to forgive, to maintain physical touch and closeness and to keep their love alive for a lifetime.

Couple's questions answered   (photo by Lamba Aziz-Hanifza)

Couple's questions answered   (photo by Lamba Aziz-Hanifza)

For Wanda’s recent article in Coping with Cancer, go to and read “Together Against Cancer: The Quality of Your Relationship Matters”,

Listen to Wanda discuss what helps couples cope when cancer enters their relationship


“Wanda has the ability to share important information in a simple, easy to understand format.  My spouse was impacted in a positive way today.”  

“Wanda is compassionate and empathetic.”

"The program has been a wonderful opportunity to enhance, expand and understand the dynamics of my relationship with my wife. Thank you for making my life better, for the rest of my life."

"I appreciate the safe space your created. Our time with you was so beneficial, productive and quick! I think of you often with sincere gratitude."

"I learned more about my wife's experiences as a patient and feel even more connected to her.”

“This workshop helped me identify feelings that were running my interactions and responses. Once I understood what the “director” really was, I had a choice as to whether or not to use the “Hold Me Tight” exercises. Every time I made that choice, the outcome was a deeper appreciation of who I was and a more satisfying and nurturing connection with my husband.”

“My husband and I talked at lunch today. We were not talking about treatment, medicine or appointments. We were really talking for the first time.”

"Wanda has the ability to share important information in a simple, easy to understand format."

"The more we engage in deeper sharing the bonds get stronger."

"I learned the origin of the fears I have with my sweetheart (come from previous experiences) have nothing to do with him."

"I learned tools and language to use during moments of disconnection to maintain emotional closeness that is so important, especially when facing cancer."

"The exercises were powerful."

Upcoming workshops

Together Against Cancer - Hold Me Tight

This free 4 part workshop is open to all cancer patients. Please plan to attend all four dates.  This workshop meets at UCSD Moores Cancer Center in The Comer Commons.

April 27, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

April 28, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

May 11, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

May 12, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.