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Adjusting to Cancer…As a Family

Kerry Ricci, LSW, OSW-C and Crystal Zelman, LCSW, CCLS, RPT
Recorded on April 21, 2016

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About the Webinar

Parents who are diagnosed with cancer will often worry most about their children. Adjusting to cancer truly becomes a family affair because everyone is affected. In this webinar, the audience will learn ways to include children in the process of adjusting to cancer. We will discuss the common issues that families encounter and how they can work together to overcome them. We will address the changes to the family system and ways to maintain some normalcy throughout the treatment process. When children are struggling to verbalize their feelings, it is important to monitor their behavior for signs of how they’re coping. We will provide tips for coaching parents through the difficult conversations with their children and the importance of self-care. We will explore techniques that professionals can utilize when working with children in a counseling setting including: assessment and rapport building, continuing with interventions, and concluding with termination.  

Learning Objectives

At the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to:

  • List the ways in which a cancer diagnosis and treatment affect the entire family
  • Demonstrate how to coach parents in how to continue to parent through cancer
  • Identify best practices in working with children and teens who have cancer in their family


Kerry Ricci, LSW, OSW-C, is a social worker at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey. She specializes in working with patients who have young children and teenagers providing education to parents on how to talk to their kids about cancer. She also provides one on one and group counseling for children and teens. In addition, Kerry is also a facilitator at Cancer Support Community Central New Jersey in the Kids Connect/Parents Connect Program as well as in the School Based Support Groups. Previously, Kerry worked for many years in hospice providing support to terminally ill patients and their families. She also directed a bereavement camp for children who had lost a loved one.

Crystal Zelman, LCSW, CCLS, RPT, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Child Life Specialist, and Registered Play Therapist. She has worked at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center for over 8 years, supporting patients and families who have children. She provides a safe place for children to work through questions, emotions and the changes that come along with having a parent with cancer or children who have lost a parent to cancer. Crystal has a background in Early Intervention, working with children, birth to three years of age, with developmental delays and their families. She was Assistant Director of Quality Care Group, LLC for 5 years. She has been in private practice since 2012. She also has a special interest in working with grieving children, families and adults, and volunteers at Camp Clover, a bereavement summer camp. She is also a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University.

Continuing Education Credits

Level - Beginner
Participants will earn 1.5 CE credits upon successful completion of a quiz and a post-webinar evaluation.