Grace Gawler - Helping You Navigate the Cancer Maze

Women of Silence a healing cancer book for self love

Women of Silence

Reconnecting with the Emotional Healing of Breast cancer

 An essential companion for all women, it answers all the questions you often don’t want to ask. Packed with useful exercises to help you regain control of your situation, it will help you begin the healing process during the emotional turmoil that surrounds breast cancer.”
Professor Karol Sikora Professor of Cancer Medicine, Imperial college Hammersmith Hospital London UK

The essential handbook for all women—not just women with breast or other cancers.

  • Illness prevention & health promotion
  • Breast health and healing
  • Self-discovery
  • Understanding the power of emotions
  • Connecting body, mind, emotion & spirit

Extract from the book – The body tissue can store frozen trauma and other emotion material.  Real and lasting healing is the thaw. Our genetic propensity and conditioning likely also play a role in these mechanisms. Touch is one of the key methods that can communicate on all the levels of body, mind, emotion and spirit. Touch can help the thawing out process.  Needless to say the touch must be safe, invited and given by a trusted therapist, healer or caring and loving partner.”

“This book is full of Thoughtful, practical insights to everyday living with cancer. I would like all my colleagues to read it.”
Professor R.R. Hall- Lead Clinician, Northern cancer Network, NHS – UK

‘Women of Silence’ provides a practical and thoughtful approach to understanding the emotional consequences and responses women affected by breast cancer can experience.
It is book that answers questions that women often don’t get to ask, or even want to ask as they approach the psychological, emotional and spiritual challenges that this all too common disease creates. There are exercises to help in the process of rebuilding confidence and taking back emotional control.
Grace is a highly experienced therapist and teacher and makes no apologies for ‘saying it as it is’. This book will prove an invaluable asset to all therapists who want to really understand how to support their clients and their carers during and after the time of breast cancer.

Dr Ruth Sewell- Former Senior psycho-therapist at Penny Brohn Centre (Bristol Cancer Help Centre) – Pill Bristol UK  2009 – Course Tutor: Diploma in the Study of Integrated Medicine, Integrated Health Trust, Bath UK 

You can purchase Grace Gawler's compelling book, Women of Silence, by clicking on the blue button at the bottom of this page. Your purchase directly supports our charity.

Skype ConsultationGrace Gawler – “One of the things that has been the most helpful to my understanding of women with breast cancer, has been dealing with the shadow and allowing women to going to the depth, allowing them to actually feel their feelings and express them rather than suppress the emotions connected to fear & the difficulties associated with their diagnosis.

To take off the mask and to be with people in that experience is a really important process for us as women. People come to integrate the shadow rather than having to wear it as a mask.

From my groups, I realised the stories they told so many common denominators. I realised that there was nothing on the bookshelves written for women about the emotional healing of breast cancer.

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There is nothing said about the past traumatic stress disorder caused by the diagnosis. Nothing was available which described how the emotional impact of the diagnosis affected them in their pursuit of healing.

My groups around this theme became more and more successful and began to practice completely focused upon women with breast cancer. I offer residential programs, one-on-one counselling and one-day workshops.

Addressing these emotional issues for women made such a huge impact on the quality of healing, the quality of life and the quality of life for them.

I found that very very inspiring. Furthermore I found that women who are addressing these emotional and spiritual dimensions were responding better to conventional treatments. We collated some of the best statistics, as Prof Candace Pert has commented, anywhere in the world on long term survivors and quality of life for women with breast cancer.

I knew I was onto something very important. A woman’s emotional side is not addressed nearly enough. People talk about mind body spirit, but don’t talk about mind body emotion spirit.

Yes, they are interrelated. It all becomes about healing your life much more than just feeling the cancer. In fact, when people heal their lives amazing things happen, such as spontaneous or unexpected remissions.

From my experience of working with thousands of women with breast cancer, I realise they are very unaccustomed to talking about their emotions. They find it very easy to describe what is happening to them deep on the inside.

They find it easy to describe how it’s affected their family; they can even talk about their fears of receiving a diagnosis where they automatically hear the death sentence.

The psychological aspects of breast cancer have been written about, spoken about and even taught about – but the emotional and spiritual, including fear of death is rarely addressed. We need to help them look at this and it’s beyond counselling.

It’s beyond therapy because it set in choosing relationship with the inner self. Very often that never allowed that deep in a personal relationship to develop because of the demands of modern life. It’s almost as though they’re working of only one or two of potential three or four dimensions, and I see the emotional damage which prevents system deeper intrapersonal relationship.

I’ve often wondered why women have done so well with my work. Firstly; I think it’s because I’ve had experiences as a care giver and then trained as a health professional and many other different approaches.

And then I’ve had the experience as a patient, that really puts a cream on the cake for me, having a trilogy of experiences. People can relate to my story and that helps trust to be established. When they talk to me it’s not with a therapist, it is with someone who has shared their experience.

It is soul to soul. As therapists we can get caught too much in the therapy and forget that soul interaction. It’s much deeper and seems to be the magical process it really helps people to move forward.

I tried to express all this in the poem that’s at the front of my book. It sums up the experience of 20 years helping women with breast cancer who number in the thousands who all come with a similar story.

It’s about repression, the inability to really express the emotions at a deep level, it’s not the superficial emotions. That is why the book was called women of silence.

The poem itself speaks a lot to women and they all say that when they read it.

They know that I know – and in that knowing it helps them trust me as a practitioner and then they really share their story at a deeper level, whether it be in a group or a one-on-one consultation.

Repetitive themes shared by thousands of women attending Grace Gawler’s cancer retreats, compelled her to author Women of Silence – the Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer – it soon became a best seller.

The video (right) made by students from Griffith Film School, Brisbane, follows several women on their breast cancer journeys. Grace and a Queensland therapist offer practical tips for emotional management. 

Later, they all share reading Grace’s poem ‘Women of Silence.’ This heartfelt piece often moves women to tears, acknowledging their silent (lonely) experiences. Grace’s retreats provided the model now used by breast cancer support groups across Australia. For decades her poem was gifted to many groups on ‘Daffodil Day’ for fundraising purposes.

Grace Gawler is a woman who writes from a lifetime of experience, both personal and professional.  Her commitment to support cancer patients has stretched from the Southern to the Northern hemisphere.

Her book is timely and comes at a time when the WHO is emphasizing prevention as cancer rates continue to soar.  This book is not about alternatives, but it is a well considered approach that provides the bridge between the medical and the emotional issues surrounding breast cancer.

Grace asks women to be innovative and proactive, so that the emphasis is on self-care.  It is not just about providing women with practical well-proven methods that work, but it is also about asking women to examine how they live their lives.  It is about encouraging women to “sing” again; rather than fall victim to their illness.

As a consultant oncologist, I am very aware that emotional and lifestyle issues play a big part in the management of cancer.  Grace’s commitment to help cancer patients is inspiring. 

Professor Neville Davidson FTCP FRCR
Professor in Clinical Oncology, Broomfield Hospital Essex United Kingdom
Chairman HEAL Cancer Charity and Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre Appeal

Forty three years ago when her husband developed terminal bone cancer, Grace committed every fibre of her being to finding ways of healing the disease.
Together they journeyed to the edge of life, working their way through 31 different therapeutic approaches, until little by little the life force was switched on again and healing began. Transformed by this experience, they founded Australia’s first Cancer Support Group, working over the years with more than 10,000 people with cancer.

Following the breakdown of her marriage and a serious health crisis of her own, Grace has written this second edition of Women of Silence. As numerous surgical procedures interrupted her busy professional life, Grace focused her attention increasingly on the multi-layered stresses and traumas that lead to extreme physical and emotional exhaustion and illness. “We bleed energetically” she says “losing our passion for living.”

So, the Silent Women of Grace’s book, who so often struggle with breast cancer, bottle up their emotions even though they may not be instinctively passive by nature. Overwhelmed by painful experiences they keep silent; the inner void of unresolved emptiness within them making action well nigh impossible.

So this book, which has relevance for all women and should be on every bookshelf, takes the reader step by step through unresolved grief and loss, through half remembered guilt and shame, through weariness and discouragement to a place where emotional healing can be found. With immense compassion, and insight, Grace tells stories of people who have trodden the Pilgrim Path, finding their way to release, healing and forgiveness.

We hear much about the word ‘empowerment’ these days and admire self-confident, authentic women who hold their place in society with ease and independence. Grace leads her ‘Silent Women’ through a therapeutic programme that gives them access to this sunlit world. Creative imagery, relaxation, meditation, spiritual intention, affirmations and de-stressing, lead to healing and restored boundaries, greater resilience, trust and faith.

Women of Silence is a handbook of health and healing addressing the strong emotional components especially associated with breast cancer; it gives practical advice, help and encouragement to re-connect and restore body, mind, emotions and spirit.
Review authored by the late Pat Pilkington MBE Co founder Bristol Cancer Help Centre, Bristol, UK. (Now Penny Brohn Centre, Pill UK)