Stephen Lottenberg, MD, PsyD
I started working as a facilitator of the Husbands/Partners Support Group at the Simms/Mann Integrative Oncology Center in November, 2009. I have been facilitating cancer support groups for over a decade, including family support groups. I facilitate with the intention of enhancing group members interaction with each other and giving each other support during a very trying time period in their lives.
I utilize my background as a physician by helping participants who run into medical care challenges, especially in seeking out the right specialists for specific problems. I help facilitate the group supporting participants in how to ask questions of their medical team. I really respect the group participants’ busy schedules, which often become more overwhelming, by making sure each and every group maintains a focus and the time spent in group is productive. Our groups provide a safe place for airing out feelings in a non-judgmental supportive way. We emphasize the mind/body approach of reducing stress and overwhelming feelings.
I attended the University of Florida where I received my B.S. degree in 1975 and my M.D. degree in 1978, as a member of the Junior Honors Program, which was a combined program for early acceptance into Medical School. I finished my training at UCLA Medical Center in the Nuclear Medicine Department in 1986. I went on to become an Assistant and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Clinical Services of the Brain Imaging Center at University of California , Irvine from 1988-1995. I received my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1997.
I have facilitated cancer support groups since 1998 at the Wellness Community- South Bay Cities. Since 1998, I have been responsible for the bereavement and prostate programs. In addition to many other cancer support groups, I have been facilitating a family support group during most of that time period. I also have been facilitating groups at Long Beach Memorial Hospital and Kaiser-Harbor City Medical Center. Starting in 2009, I also joined We Spark, which is a non-profit cancer community in Sherman Oaks, where I am responsible for men’s cancer support groups. I have served as a co-chair of the education and training committee as well as a board member for the Group Psychological Association of Southern California in 2009. I co-chaired a conference on Mindfulness and Meditation in Group Therapy in October 2009 in Santa Monica.
Personal Interests and Perspectives
I am very passionate about reaching out and helping cancer patients and their family members through the often extremely challenging phase of coping with cancer. I remember wanting someone to reach out to as my wife, Hilary, went through her cancer in 1994-1995. With my being a physician we had it easier in working through the medical system and details of her treatment, but I still didn’t know where to turn to for support during this very challenging year. Just to think if I felt extremely challenged, how could I possibly compare my challenge to my loved one who was trying to cope with both the physical and emotional sides of actually having the cancer. Soon after, I found my calling to reach out and help others through their difficult phases of their lives with an emphasis on the cancer journey. I have learned so much from working with both cancer patients and family members in realizing that we human beings can adapt to almost anything and “grow our souls” as we undergo great adversity. I have had many group participants share that certain areas of their lives are much better as they have gone through perhaps the most challenging phase of their lives. My major interest in this field includes my fascination with learning how to be creative in working with others in a very supportive way to challenge their conditioning such that their cancer journey might include a refreshing new outlook on life.
In addition to my passion and interest in my career, I am very interested in mindfulness meditation and relaxation/visualization approaches. I include a regular yoga practice in my life. I have a great interest in my inter-personal relationships with an emphasis on supportive relationships that emphasize the positive in this life. Hilary and I are so fortunate to be parents to our daughter, Hannah. My personal life has revolved around trying to be as involved as possible as a father with a great emphasis on outdoor sports as I have been involved for many years in helping to coach her soccer and softball teams. I am very grateful for the balance in my family life and my career. I am so thankful to be on the team at the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.