The parent(s) or guardian(s) must attend a preliminary orientation session for kids ages 6-15 prior to the beginning of the program.
This program was developed by the Children’s Treehouse Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the emotional support of children who have parents or a loved one living with cancer. The CLIMB® program at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation offers group sessions during which conversation and art are used to help children ages 6-11 identify and appropriately express complex feelings. The aim is to build upon the child’s strengths and enhance his/her ability to cope with stress associated with the parent’s illness. Some of the benefits of this program include:
- An increase in the children’s knowledge about cancer and its treatment
- Normalization of feelings of sadness
- Children are better able to identify strengths and normalize anxiety
- Children are better equipped to express and manage anger appropriately
- Communications about feelings are improved
- Communications with the parents or loved one who have cancer are improved
Overall, children learn that cancer is “not their fault”, that they are not alone and they are better equipped to express feelings and cope with change.