|Collage artwork by a Walkabout program participant|
“Walkabout is a program that allows participants to move with the cancer experience towards making sense of what’s current and what’s next in life,“ says Caroline Peterson, ATR-BC, LPC, the art therapist and mindfulness meditation instructor who developed and leads the Walkabout Program. “In the eight-session Walkabout program, participants explore walking away from the medical environment into the world outside, open to discoveries using mindful attention and digital photography. Photographs, taken on the walkabout, are printed and then reconsidered and used for creative expression making collages.”
Collage art is a user-friendly creative form, and the feedback from Walkabout participants has been very positive. Each participant has used the various opportunities in Walkabout to make a deeper connection with themselves.
‘Taking the photographs reminded me of the beauty we’re surrounded by every day. The collage making gave me a surprising sense of accomplishment. It felt unexpectedly good to create something new.’ - Cancer survivor in active treatment, age 29
‘The photography allowed a filter on my perceptions . . .the resulting collages revealed more about me than I thought they would. The meditative component was also very beneficial in my daily life.’ - Caregiver, age 53
The Walkabout program is designed to be enlivening and strengthening.
“Underlying the pleasures of walking and being out in the world, the creative playfulness and relaxation is a focus on mindfulness skills training to be more attentive, aware and relaxed, less reactive to the stress of life and more at ease in daily living that can be very helpful,” says Peterson.
‘The how-to approach, meditation practice and further input with learning skills to continue on my own were very helpful. I no longer have the inner freight train going through my head. It’s okay to feel okay.’ –Cancer survivor, age 37
‘I learned through the Walkabout experience to be free of fear and to let go of anxiety, and then to be me – healthy and happy.’ - Cancer survivor, age 55
The Walkabout program welcomes those individuals with cancer in active treatment or post treatment. Caregivers are also welcome.
The walkabout is mindfully slow and not physically exerting. Participants should be able to walk slowly for up to 45 minutes.
Participants receive a mindfulness meditation practice CD for home practice following in-class instruction and teaching.
To enroll in the Walkabout program at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center, please call 215-829-8700.
Walkabout program detailsSpring session dates: Wednesday evenings beginning April 4 through May 23
Summer session dates: Wednesday evenings beginning June 6 through August 1 (no meeting July 4)
Times: 4:30 to 7pm
Location: Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital; Farm Journal Building, 2nd Floor; 230 West Washington Square; Philadelphia PA 19106