Guided Autobiography for suffering or recovering cancer patients

By Bruce Firestone | Family

Mar 20

Coach Dawn Macmillan Firestone offers a free guided autobiography (GAB) course for individuals who are suffering/recovering from cancer.  

There will be a separate course for folks who are feeling isolated due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Each group is limited to six persons plus instructor. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

What this course leads to is:

• Increased self-acceptance

• Decreased anxiety and tension

• Increased energy and vigor

• Increased positive view of others

• Improved self-esteem

• Improved self-confidence

• Greater appreciation of their own lives and of the lives of others

• Improved communication within communities and within families

There is a side benefit as well: Over the 10 week course, participants become better writers.

Dawn is a coach and certified GAB instructor as well as a cancer survivor herself.

The process of self-discovery in a small group for cancer patients is therapeutic–they share their unique stories (not necessarily centered on cancer) in a safe non-judgemental space and are seen as individuals, not their disease.

Participants write ten short but meaningful stories about their life, each on a different theme over ten weeks. They receive support, structure, and encouragement in the safety of a small group. Guided by coach Dawn, they explore themes and questions which evoke memories of events once known but filed away and seemingly forgotten. Topics move from easy to more difficult.

Read this from THE GUIDED AUTOBIOGRAPHY METHOD: A LEARNING EXPERIENCE, James E. Thornton, PhD, Associate Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, May 2005:

In answer to your question “What am I learning in this Guided Autobiography Workshop? I offer the following thoughts:
I am learning how to express my thoughts and emotions right from the heart. This is my story and I’m telling it my way.
I’m learning to trust my intuition in what I say. I have some fear of hurting family members but ultimately the truth is better than a “pretty story.”
I’m learning ways of expressing the bad times without malice.
I’m learning that my story is interesting, and the others pay attention to it!
I’m gaining confidence in my ability to write.
I’m learning that I can relive some of the bad times, particularly deaths of family members, and come out of it stronger by writing about it.
I’m learning the importance of writing my story, particularly because I have lost three siblings and the only way their children will know their parent’s history is through my telling of it.
I’m learning that you’re never too old to learn!
I’m learning how much my own parents influenced my life and how grateful I am to them.
I’m learning to appreciate my life and live from gratitude.

Please feel free to share this post with someone you know who might benefit. If they are interested, Dawn can be reached at the contact information below.

Be well in the time of covid-19.


Dawn Firestone, Coach, CPCC, ACC, President, ICF Ottawa,

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.