Support Groups

Stronger Together

Group Support for anyone affected by cancer, including caregivers, family and friends. Particpants have the opportunity to share issues, insights and emotions related to their cancer experience, as well as ways to live more fully.  Each meeting concludes with an enriching guided visualization with music, which has been shown in studies to enhance relaxation, reduce depression, manage pain, lower blood pressure, ease some of the side effects of chemotherapy, and improve physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. The group is opened to cancer survivors of all diagnoses at any point in time – newly diagnosed, in treatment, post treatment or living with a recurrence.  Family, friends and caregivers are welcomed. This is a drop-in peer led group.

First Tuesday of the month from 6 – 7:15 PM and the second Tuesday of the month from 11:00 – 12:15 PM at OjaiCARES.

Together In Circle

Council is a speaking and listening practice with ancient roots. It contains a focus on listening from the heart and speaking from the heart, and offers an opportunity to reflect on one’s own experiences and feelings, and to learn from the experiences and feelings of others. No experience with council is needed.

This is a once-monthly drop-in Council Circle every fourth Tuesday, 6-7:30 pm

Turn Up The Comfort

Guided imagery is a safe, gentle and loving method for reducing anxiety and tension in the body and goes a long way towards helping with discomfort. This allows the individual to begin developing a new relationship with sensation, lessening fear, and gaining a greater sense of being in control.  Together, we can turn up the comfort! Imagery is now commonly used for pain control in many hospitals and health facilities, and as a tool for managing many physiological conditions. Medical research has shown that imagery actually has a powerful influence on the control systems of the body, influencing heart rate, blood pressure, our ability to heal quickly – and even our own ability to boost our immune system.
This is a once-monthly group with Leslie Bouche, C.Ht., Certified Hypnotherapist and Master of Therapeutic Imagery. Participants will receive an mp3 or CD of the session, so you can listen whenever you’d like to greatly heighten and deepen the positive effects.

Every first Monday 6 – 7 pm – on drop-in basis.

Releasing Through Relaxation – Therapeutic Imagery

Bailey utilizes gentle relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and guided imagery to replace negativity in the mind, body, or spirit with the desired positive alternative. The mind-body connection is strengthened through this work and a greater sense of calm, comfort, and control appears. Bailey has worked extensively with clients wishing to transfer from their inner “Emergency Room” where fear, tension, and pain is present, to their inner “Healing Room” where release and relaxation occurs- she brings this practice to Ojai Cares sessions.
Participants will receive a mp3 of the session so they can continue the release and relaxation on their own.
This is a aA once-monthly drop-in group with Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht., Certified Hypnotherapist.

Every fourth Thursday 3-4pm – on a drop-in basis

Cancer As A Turning Point

A diagnosis of cancer can invite us to look deeply into living more authentically and purposefully, regardless of our prognosis. Dr. Lawrence LeShan shared nearly 40 years ago in his groundbreaking book Cancer as a Turning Point that purposeful living turns out to invite one’s immune system to mobilize toward well-being. Rather than exploring “what’s wrong,” we will focus on what interests, fulfills, and vitalizes – and encourage you to find your own best ways of being, relating and creating. How, given the realities of your situation, can you move more toward this way of living? And, as we journey toward our best selves, our immune system hears that life is worth living and works toward our well-being.

During this group, we will dive into the workbook section of Cancer as a Turning Point. We will talk, become quiet, journal, and ultimately inspire one another’s authentic living at this challenging and remarkable time of life. We’re studying Kelly Turner’s “Radical Remission” Course together monthly at our Cancer As A Turning Point Support Group. Through video, workbook and sharing, we’ll explore how people worldwide improved immune function and improved survivorship. Together, we’ll explore the 9 key factors, and find ways to bring more of them into our own lives. Join us, free for all clients and caregivers! It is not necessary to own a copy of the book. However, if you prefer to, we’d love you to order through Just login with your Amazon password, choose OjaiCARES as your charity, and make your purchase.

This group meets once a month on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6-7:15 PM at OjaiCARES.

Guided Imagery

Cancer and cancer treatments can bring all kinds of challenges to our peace of mind and feeling of centeredness.  This therapeutic imagery experience is designed to build and reclaim ownership of a calm center within.  Through imagery, participants are supported to reconnect with their solid core, restoring them to their natural inner state of strength, calm and peace of mind.  Leslie Bouche, C.Ht. Certified Hypnotherapist and Master of Therapeutic Imagery,  is the facilitator. Participants will receive an mp3 or CD of the session, so that you can listen whenever you’d like to greatly heighten and deepen the positive effects.

Third Mondays from 6 pm – 7 pm – on drop-in basis

Cancer Caregiver Support Group

It can be difficult for caregivers to make time for themselves, or even to ask for help. Yet, to go the distance with a loved one who has cancer requires allowing oneself to receive care, in addition to giving care. Isolation can increase distress, so our Caregiver Support Group is dedicated to providing a safe, nurturing environment where cancer caregivers can receive understanding, compassion, and support to help maintain their own wellness. Self-empowerment combines with empowerment through community, as members discover and share inner and outer resources with one another, give one another emotional and practical support, and learn they are not alone. Here, we share challenges, triumphs, hopes, fears, joys, and strategies for maximizing well-being, comfort, and peace.

Drop in. Every second Monday of the month from 9:30 – 10:30 am.

Community Tea Talks

Open to the public
Find support and community as together we explore conscious living and dying & all the messy parts in between. Learn to support yourself and your loved ones in challenging times of life-transitions, experience personal growth, reduce fear and increase connection by focusing on the shared human experience.

Second Thursdays of the month, 1 – 2 pm

Birgitta Kastenbaum, Conscious Living coach and End of Life Transition Guide
Growing up in a small community in Holland, Birgitta observed death as an integral part of life. Wakes were common and funerals started at home with a walking procession to the cemetery. Her maternal grandparents lived in the caretaker’s house on a beautiful small cemetery. This intimacy with death felt comfortable while at the same time creating awareness that life is a golden prize not to be wasted. Her interest and connection to mindful living and ancient wisdom has been a life long process.

Cheserae (Ta) Scala found her life’s mission working as a death midwife. She has spent the last 7 years studying the process of mystical death through transpersonal psychology, and learning about how to support and facilitate end of life care. Among her many gifts is the ability to bring beauty into any situation, and to help her clients discover the beauty within.
Since her youth, Cheserae found herself drawn to the subtle, the sacred, and the extraordinary, and she felt this call growing stronger ever since becoming a mother. She was blessed to have the opportunity to become a certified Death Midwife prior to her mother’s diagnosis with terminal cancer. Fulfilling this role for her mother and helping to create a peaceful and healing transition for her family and community was one of the greatest, and most transformational experiences of her life.
Inspired with a new vision of what is possible in death and dying, and having forged new alliances with Hospice, funeral homes, community leaders, and colleagues, Cheserae has committed to sharing this work with families, groups, and individuals. She currently works as a death doula, and offers end of life support, death care directives, after death care, home funeral planning and ceremony, as well as classes and programs for those interested in learning more about death and dying work.

You can read more about their work at